I’ve never built a space from the ground up. Any renovations we did before moving to this house were all done within the constraints of the walls in previous houses. So, until now, I’ve never been able to design a place from start to finish.
Sure, we remodeled portions of this house and we added touches that we love. (I know I owe you an update on all that.)
But, those spaces were mostly there to begin with. We added a wall and shifted one around a bit, but the majority of the house was done from a construction standpoint.
The barn conversion is a different story. Unlike building a house from the ground up, we are only building a portion of it. However, I get to fully design it from the studs in.
It’s been such an exciting experience and to watch it come to life has been thrilling. Knowing that we’ve put our touch on this property from floors to walls makes it feel more like home.
With the shiplap now up in the barn and the flooring in on both levels, the design is moving fast and furiously. I wanted to show you the bits and pieces that have been inspiring me as we have moved forward creating a space that’s truly our’s.
This is a barn conversion so I wanted to make sure the space still felt like a barn versus a finished house. I think I threw my contractor for a loop in saying that but I don’t want it to feel like new construction apartment. I still wanted it to feel like a barn. Just a very pretty barn…
As with all farmhouse style, I’m keeping everything fairly light in the barn. However, I’m attempting to put a bit of a twist on it that feels a little more unique. I feel like my style might be something I’ve been calling Italian Farmhouse. I’m 70 percent Italian (Thank you, ancestry DNA) and feel like some of my design choices might be things you could find in the countryside in Italy.
Of course, there is shiplap included (You might think this is a given but we have NONE in the house, which is something I hope to change in some of the spaces), but I’m also including pretty, tiled floors; some stone surfaces; antique lighting; smaller-scale appliances and countertops that look like granite (They are actually going to be quartz).
The downstairs space is long and thin with tall ceilings. It will have two windows and French doors along the East wall but there will be no light coming from the West. Based on that, I don’t want anything too dark in the space. I’m keeping all the walls various shares of white, but the entire downstairs has either shiplap or brick on the walls. I think it adds the barn character and some charm too.
As for the layout, the kitchen will be small. It will occupy one end of the room or really one corner of the room. I decided to keep all the shelving open for lowers and uppers to make it feel roomier.
In the kitchen I did decide to make that open shelving a darker wood. I wanted to have something in the space that felt rich, warm and inviting with all the white. The stain, which was custom, is a true brown wood stain and doesn’t veer too much in the direction of grey, yellow or red. It looked like the most classic color to me and a color that would stand the test of time.
For inspiration in this area, I really looked towards Joanna Gaines’ laundry room for inspiration here. Yes, this is her laundry room.
We were gifted a farmhouse sink from BLANCO and I already had this idea in mind for the design when I found the laundry room on Pinterest.
I know that brass and gold tones are a trend right now for fixtures, but I think it’s a fad and I love the traditional look of oil rubbed bronze. I believe you can never go wrong when you pick something timeless.
Lastly, instead of a backsplash in the kitchen it will be brick all the way up to the ceiling and behind the cabinets. Since the cabinets are open, it made sense to do the whole wall.
The kitchen will also probably double as a new space for me to shoot my YouTube cooking videos.
The dining area
As for the rest of the downstairs space, it will hold a long table that’s perfect for entertaining. We are using a table from our old house that I’m going to restrain. It will be lighter than the cabinets so that the room doesn’t begin to feel too heavy in the space or too matchy.
The floor tile in the space will be these large, distressed tiles. They’re a grey blue versus the black and white tiles in the house. While I love a lot of the house tiles, I like the calmness that comes from having less of a contrast.
My goal for the upstairs was to keep it light and bright. About ¾ of the walls are now covered in shiplap that has been painted white. We used the color Pure White by Sherwin Williams for both levels.
The flooring upstairs will be different than the main level. We are using a high-quality laminate that is waterproof. I have to be honest, I’m not generally a fan of laminate but this is really great flooring. It’s pretty and it really looks like wood planks.
The rest of the upstairs is a large, open room. We are going to leave it that way and let it function as a studio. It has four windows, including three that are slanted windows in the roof and one large one in front.
It’s going to be a lighter color than the wood kitchen area. In hindsight, I wish I had picked out the color for these two areas together but nevertheless, I know both areas will be beautiful.
There will also be a barn door to separate the room from the stairwell.
The bathroom in the barn will be on the second story. It’s going to be small but still beautiful. I had bead board added to give it some character and picked out a white, matte penny tile and a charcoal grey grout. I also purchased a pedestal sink and oil rubbed bronze faucet set.
As for the lighting, I’m going to use sconces. I’ve searched for a long time for something that wouldn’t look overly commercial and would feel unique. I’m having trouble finding something that will match the oil rubbed bronze sink hardware, which is odd. However, I’ve already ordered something from Pottery Barn that was supposed to be oil rubbed bronze and it was just bronze. There was a bit too much going on for my eye so I’m sending it back.
I also looked all over for a mirror that I loved for the space. In our bathroom we have the Kensington Pivot Rectangle Mirrors from Pottery Barn. However, I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much on the barn mirror right now.
I knew I wanted an oval mirror and I didn’t want it to be oil rubbed bronze. With the faucet and the lighting, I didn’t want everything to start feeling overwhelming in the space since it’s so small. I ended up ordering one from Overstock and I think it will work well. It hasn’t arrived yet but is supposed to be a lighter aged metal. You can see it here.
What do you think of everything so far?