Collection by Caroline Wallis

A Family Salvages an 1880s Barn to Create Their Nearly-Net Zero Escape


With the help of Chicago-based architecture and planning firm Northworks, a family of four brought its vision of a sustainable and hardy modern barn to fruition. The newly constructed 4,500-square-foot weekend home, located in southwest Wisconsin, stands next to the footprint of a dilapidated barn that came with the property. The barn was disassembled by Northworks and the resulting materials were used to create custom furniture and details such as the home's limestone hearth and retaining wall near its pool.

Part of the beauty of this modern barn comes with the territory: 200 acres of rolling meadows owned by the family for over 25 years. Even more stunning is the enormous glass facade used to update the traditional barn silhouette and classic interior styling, homages to the original structure. The home's materials—both new and salvaged—reflect the vernacular architecture of the region and are naturally designed to withstand weather and time. Additionally, open floor plans and floor-to-ceiling windows create a living experience very much connected to nature. One of the homeowners remarks, “This is a house built to enjoy the feeling and the views afforded by the Driftless region of Wisconsin.”

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