Four Barns Farm is an incredible weekend retreat built for a family to getaway from their fast pace life in New York City by Gleicher Design, located in Millbrook, a bucolic town tucked into the rolling landscape of the Hudson Valley, New York. The home is just an hour and a half’s drive from the city but worlds away from its frenzied lifestyle. These picturesque barns are nestled on the rolling hills of a 40-acre estate that was formerly owned by the composer Marvin Hamlish. Once a dairy farm, this exceptional piece of land dating to 1839 had an antique farmhouse and four substantial barns. Although the barns were in disrepair, the clients had a vision and their dream was to create a wonderful family compound, using the barns for gathering spaces and guest suites.
It was no easy task, with one of the barns having to be literally lifted off its foundation and gently set back down again. The barns surround a common courtyard, complimented by stone walls, a duck pond, a country farmhouse, and a small potting shed. All four barns and environs have been sensitively renovated and equipped with modern amenities, but in keeping with their historic character.
Local artisans were employed to create needed metal works, stone walls, fireplaces, and historic wood windows, antique hand hewn timber framing members and oak and pine plank flooring were reworked for their new uses. The barns now house a guesthouse, screening room, artist studio, garage, and bunk barn for teens and young adults.
Filling the “barn” with light also was critical to create the inviting spaces, so the architect grouped several windows together at the gable ends to flood the space with light.
In order to make the new barn weather-tight, the architects created a thick sandwich wall, which allowed for a blanket of insulation as well as space to hide ductwork. The hand-chiseled ancient beams were kept exposed to allow for a strong architectural design element in the space. Although the ceiling soars to 35 feet, the interiors were brought to a more human scale by introducing reclaimed horizontal oak boards to the lower portion of the interior wall and a reclaimed vertical oak board to the top portion.
Naturalistic landscaping completes the picture with new stone fences, a circular fire pit and bucolic meadows.
To maintain a cohesive look between the structures, the architect introduced the same siding, roofing and foundation materials and architectural design elements to each barn. A gravel courtyard in the center of the barns offers an outdoor common space for guests to gather when the weather cooperates.
Photos: Courtesy of Gleicher Design
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