Raising the Barn

Raising the Barn

Couple turns former Anderson Township barn into spectacular natural home



It started with a vision: Preserve the spacious serenity.  Restore and transform the barn into the grand centerpiece. Gaze out from any window and feel the tranquility of sprawling pastures, a winding creek and the natural acoustics of wildlife and waterfalls.

Instead of a collective group of neighboring farmers ready to hoist the beams and hammer the nails, it took 18 months of intense focus by Karen and Jerry Whitney who, all the while, lived in a trailer on the property.



“It’s sustainable,” Karen says. “It was the natural thing to do, and it has paid off in the way the home looks and feels. Coming home from work is like entering a spa or a retreat.”Goal: Healthful selections integrated with nature

033Several factors were key for the Whitneys in creating their new home.  People- and planet-friendly practices and products; views that integrate the home with nature; organization that will forever prevent clutter; and, perfectly balanced contemporary lines, furnishings and artwork.

Enter through the front door and note the warmth underfoot of radiant heating beneath a first floor of polished concrete. Zoned geothermal energy heats and cools the remainder of the home. All of the lighting is LED.

Immaculate flooring, a den with fireplace off the entry and bathroom down the hall both offer full views of the woods, creek and fields. This is but a minor prelude.

Flawless design, everywhere you look

097Several steps up to the next level, you will need to pause to take it in.  A sprawling eat-in kitchen, living and dining rooms, walk-in wine room and windows on all sides.  Carefully chosen lighting is perfectly balanced with all of the natural light.

Note the fireplace. This wall and other spaces were measured and carefully designed to accommodate specific pieces of art. All of the chandeliers have special stories, including one that is a family heirloom, and belonged to Karen’s parents.055

Natural prefinished Birch plank hardwood flooring offers a sleek, uniform floor throughout the second floor and third-floor loft. They selected and purchased all of their flooring products through their builder, Paul Kapitula of Capital Custom 041Homes.

The mosaics are glass and stone.  All of the wall tile and floor is porcelain – from Hamilton Parker and Happy Floors – and the decos that were used came from several different manufacturers.081

The Pietra Art Pebbles are from Florida Tile, and they come in several colors of actual pebbles. They are such a nice organic look, not only for the floor and for tired feet, but they 044also have deco stripes that can be installed on the wall. They also can be used for an entire wall.”


Innovative choices include wardrobe doors

The Whitneys were resourceful in finding other unique products, too.  Examples include wardrobe doors from Ikea that have been converted to close off the downstairs den, and 2-inch chocolate walnut slabs that were used for an entryway shelf, mantle and bathroom countertop.

Equally noticeable are the lessons of organization, which were underscored for Karen when the Whitneys were living out of the trailer. At the beginning of each work week, Karen would 050retrieve a week’s worth of clothes  from a 30-foot shipping container that held all of their household belongings.077

Now, their master bedroom contains no dressers or drawers. Their walk-in closet, which we did not photograph for privacy reasons, has drawers that pull out underneath each clothing bar. This feature, from The Container Store, in addition to select cabinets throughout the home, all conform with the sleek, contemporary lines of the home.

The Whitneys traveled to all the stores, making and agreeing on all selections.  No designers were needed, Jerry says, usually crediting Karen.009

“She definitely has an eye for this,” he says.

And they both have the home they envisioned. ©







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