A historic barn undergoes a remarkable transformation in New England


An historic barn-like workshop was converted into an open and airy one-bedroom home by designer/owner Stephen Peck, located in Falmouth, a town in Cumberland County, Maine. The homeowner’s opted to collaborate with Portland-based firm Briburn for this project, impressed with their sensibility of being at the forefront of sustainability.

Most people would have torn down this barn to create an entirely new structure, yet the owners had a vision. They were enchanted by the many quaint historical features such as the catwalk among the trusses, or the floor made from Liberty Ship hatches. They wished to honor the past by preserving these features, while honoring the present by making a comfortable modern place to live, and honor the future by turning the drafty old barn into a highly energy-efficient, sustainable dwelling.



The architects persevered the original layout of the barn. They opened the space occupied by the ceiling trusses, transforming the catwalk into a structural ridge beam to hold up the new roof. Sliding glass doors were integrated on the east-facing side of the structure, while modern gabled glass was added on the western facade.


The project team successfully transformed this historic barn into an airtight, energy-efficient home. Working within the existing building envelope, the project team had to take into consideration the preservation of the look of the original raw wood ceiling. They constructed a 16-inch insulation cavity on top of the old roof.


They began with a dark-colored membrane against the roof boarding so you can’t see through the cracks, and then installed ProClima Intello X, a “smart barrier” that is vapor open, and airtight, enabling them to airseal the roof. A vented roof system was constructed using 16″ TJI joists, and the cavities were filled with dense pack cellulose insulation.


Above: The back entry mudroom space features a Jøtul woodstove from Embers Stoves & Fireplaces.


What We Love: This historic barn features preserved details throughout while modernizing the structural integrity of this home. The owner/designer has added his own personality into this space with furnishings and accessories that have been collected over the years. We are especially loving the eye-catching aesthetic of the preserved flooring, consisting of 80 three-by-five-foot Liberty ship deck hatches of Douglas fir lashed together with brass straps.

Tell Us: What details in the design of this home do you find most appealing and why in the Comments below, we love reading your feedback!

Note: Have a look at another fabulous home tour that we have featured here on One Kindesign in the beautiful state of Maine: Beautifully refreshed seaside home off the rugged coast of Maine.


Above: In the kitchen, the blue-painted cabinets is Rainstorm SW 6230 – Sherwin-Williams. Countertops are from Blue Rock of Maine. On the wall, Japanese beveled subway tile.




For the insulation of the walls, a foam for exterior insulation was used. Recycled foam was sourced for half of it to reduce the environmental impact. They were able to make the interior airtight, therefore needing to install an air exchange system that would bring in fresh filtered air and provide really great air quality.

Implementing the machinery required for this system, as well as two heat pumps, took a lot of careful consideration and coordination with the installer. Both systems were placed in the best possible location for functionality while keeping them relatively hidden so they would not become the focal point.


Steel I-beams and wood box beams run lengthwise to hold up the far walls while also support a new catwalk that leads to the bedroom upstairs. Others are concealed in the walls. So as not to remove the patina on the existing wood, the project team had to wiggle these 1,000 pound beams into the house and in place without damaging the structure.


Above: A Murano Glass Chandelier hangs above the dining table.


Another challenge in this barn conversion project included the discovery of lead paint and other harmful materials, which needed to be carefully removed and properly disposed of. Once the old barn was stripped down, it had to be leveled, straightened, and tweaked into submission. Some wall sections had to be rebuilt in a way that did not damage the parts they were trying to preserve.


A dormer was added to the loft to create a cozy bedroom. Modern living spaces were styled by the designer/owner.


Above: The upstairs loft contains the owner’s bedroom and bathroom. On the floor, a beautiful Moroccan rug, while the bed features an Indian coverlet.


Above: In the bathroom, a repurposed sideboard serves as a vanity. The wall is painted in Granite Peak SW 6250 – Sherwin-Williams.


Above: Large Marvin windows and French doors helps to open the structure and flood the space with natural light.


Photos: Francois Gagne

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