Photograph: © Kenneth Wiedemann/istockphoto
Nothing says Connecticut like rolling hills speckled with bucolic barns. As a symbol of our lands agricultural roots there is nothing more rustically charming. Barns are a Connecticut trend that never go out of style. Whether they are historic or newly constructed, barns seem to fit in perfectly with the landscape around here.
The earliest barns to pop up in Connecticut were eave-entry “English Barns,” in the beginning of the 19th century, back then barns were considered tools of the agricultural trade. As times changed Connecticut’s farming population was on a rapid decline, leaving many barns deserted and left to crumble.
Today, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation and Historic Barns of Connecticut are working to save these historic relics. From listing approved contractors and architects to providing grants, there is nothing they won’t do to help out an old barn.
Modern architecture has appeared to embrace the charm of the barn as well. A-List winner and modern architecture firm, Sprecht Harpman, has had their hand at a barn redesign, turning a historic gambrel barn into an elegant modern home. While the exterior of this Wilton home maintains its conventional barn structure, the interior is a stunningly open space with concrete floors and exposed woodwork.
Similarly, David Ling renovated another historic Wilton barn, this one functioning as both a house and a gallery. The two-story barn dates back to 1895 when it was used to house horses. When Ling redesigned the barn he added an additional barn, which connects to the original wing by a two-story glass corridor. At first glance, the new barn is a mirror image of its historic counterpart but upon closer examination diverges in moments from classic New England tradition. The barn’s interior received a complete modernization, making way for clean lines, large open volumes, and walls of French doors.
Robert Young flips the rural notion of a barn on its head in his Greenwich located, Art Barn. The contemporary building is a 10,000-sqaure-foot space fit with a “green screen” or living skin of plants and vines. Who said a barn has to be made of wood?
Whether it charmingly pays homage to the past, eloquently interlaces then and now, or redefines in a new way, the structure of a barn has become a staple in the Connecticut vernacular.