What a brilliant conversion of a 140-year-old barn! Thomas Kroger designed this home north of Berlin for a young family in one-half of the former barn. Gone are all traces of the livestock that resided here. Yet the hearty structure of timber and thick brick walls lives on.
The public facade remains virtually unchanged while the garden side was opened to the meadow and orchard outside. Three enormous arched openings connect the central great hall by folding back tall timber doors. Two stories high in the middle, the great hall spans the entire width of the restored barn. The new and replacement structural elements are all untreated wood, respectful of their original counterparts. This large gathering area is heated only by the fireplace so it’s used less in cold seasons.
Flanking the long ends of the country house are a self-sufficient guest apartment and the family’s combination kitchen, dining, and living rooms. These rooms are slightly elevated above the great hall’s cobble stone floor and separated by floor-to-ceiling glass. This delicate intervention makes the new rooms feel remarkably spacious. Of course, all the while they enjoy the strength and warmth of the timber structure.
Running the length of the building’s top floor between the apartment and the open living area are two bedrooms and a bathroom. Enclosed by full height glass they’re lofty spaces that spread daylight to the great hall. Throughout the materials used are simple and cohesive – clay plaster, brick, wide plank wood floors. A spare and stylish blend of beautifully useful furnishings, including my much-coveted Roche Bobois Mah Jong sofa, brings the pure good life.
Architects: Thomas Kroeger
Photography courtesy of Thomas Kroeger