Home meets barn on his 5-acre slice of the North Fork

05/27/2010 12:00 AM |

The front foyer’s custom-made lighting fixture is made from an old wagon wheel found in Southold. Blankets from the owner’s collection decorate the second-floor railing.

Tucked away on five acres in Mattituck is one man’s dream house. Actually, make that dream house and dream barn.

He bought the land five years ago. Unusually perhaps, the barn came first.

“I find it very relaxing to watch horses, so I built a barn,” said the homeowner, who asked not to be identified. “I rent it out to horse people.”

The result is a traditional, Northeast-style two-story barn with hayloft, constructed from old barn wood the homeowner sourced himself “by driving around and just asking.”

So pleased was he with the barn, the homeowner sat down with his architect, Nick Vero of Westhampton Beach, and brainstormed a similar look for the house.

“I wanted new construction with an antique atmosphere, an old barn feeling for the house without actually having to buy a barn,” he said. “We ended up compromising by making the supports from antique barn beams I found in Binghamton.”

After a section of the property that abuts a vineyard was selected, construction began on the 2,900-square-foot house two years ago. The result is a very rustic and open-plan home that pays homage to the humble barn in every room.

The barn-red front door is framed on the inside with rustic beams the homeowner explained are locally milled wood “with the distressed look the boards had, just as they came off the saw.”

A further agricultural touch hangs from the foyer’s 22-foot ceiling in the form of a chandelier constructed from an old wagon wheel, which was found in Southold.

The double-height ceiling continues into a living area whose focal point is a stone fireplace constructed with rock sourced in Pennsylvania by a local supplier.

“We put in a prefabricated fireplace unit and then applied the stone,” said the homeowner. Both the sitting and dining areas look out onto fields of vines and French doors give access to a pergola that supports trailing wisteria. Above the living area’s French doors are two additional levels of windows, thus affording a vineyard view to anyone sitting upstairs in the gallery that overlooks the living space. “I wanted to maximize the light on the upper level, too,” he said.

The light-filled gallery is enclosed by a railing made from local oak from the same mill as the window and door frames and is supported from below by antique barn beams. “There are three bedrooms upstairs,” the homeowner said. “And I can sleep people in the loft if need be.”

The dining area opens up into the kitchen whose cabinets and island are constructed from antique barn boards. Those boards are weathered to a silvery grey mixed with traces of the original red barn paint. They’re finished with black iron hardware made by a Southold ironworker. Complementing the faded reds and grays are countertops in a warm gray polished limestone.

A rack with cooking utensils is suspended from one of the kitchen’s antique barn wood ceiling beams and the windows are framed in the same rough cut wood that was used to frame the front door.

“I like to cook,” he said, “so the kitchen really was a big focus for me. I had a great kitchen designer in Deborah Lemery of Interior Edge in Westhampton Beach. She designed the space so I can entertain 30 people to dinner between the dining table and the kitchen island.”

The honey-colored wood floors are set off by earth-toned wall colors suggested by color expert Janis Garramone. (Ms. Garramone is also calendar editor for The Suffolk Times and News-Review.) The homeowner says he would have liked to use reclaimed wood for the home’s floors “but with so much floor space, budget was an issue, so we installed new wide-plank pine. We did use antique square-head nails, though.”

He’s delighted with everything about his barn-style home, including a state-of-the art feature that traditional barns never possessed — the geothermal heating system that ensures the lofty space is toasty in winter. In addition, the overall design makes the house relatively economical to heat and cool. “With the triple-height windows we get a lot of passive solar light in winter,” said the homeowner. “There’s also a big ceiling fan in the living area to push the heat down. At some point, I’d like to add solar power,” he said. “Then it really will be a blend of the old and the new.”