Think “modern design” and “barn” doesn’t immediately spring to mind. But with a motivated client and a strong vision to connect the inside with outside, Silver Maple Construction and Joan Heaton Architects turned the traditional barn design into a sleek, contemporary home with expansive windows overlooking the Adirondack Mountains.

Along with wowing their client, the team’s remodel project won the AIA Vermont Excellence in Architecture Design Merit Award. It’s also the home that garners the most interest from other builders, says Sean Flynn, president of Silver Maple Construction.

Here, Flynn and his team detail the three key techniques they used to modernize the barn design:

1. Steel structure. Using steel beams as the bones of this home accomplished two important characteristics typical to contemporary homes. First, because of its strength, steel allowed the home to achieve massive vaulted spaces without the crossbeams typically required with wooden barn structures. “It immediately gives you the sense of the open space of a barn,” says Flynn. “But it’s much cleaner because there’s none of that timber frame.” Second, Flynn and his team exposed the steel for distinct metal-meets-wood detailing that defines the home throughout. While the finished look is gorgeous, Flynn said it wasn’t easy. Because the steel structure had to be up first, the walls of the home were actually built off-deck and then craned into place.

2. Crisp, clean lines. To maintain the barn vernacular, Flynn and his team used wood paneling heavily throughout the home. “There’s wood everywhere in that building,” Flynn says. But to modernize that wood look, builders used minimal trim that’s flush with the paneling to keep the lines of the home contemporary. “It’s the same crisp lines you’d see in a modern penthouse but we’re doing it in rustic materials,” Flynn says. For example, rather than creating a traditional windowsill, Flynn and company made the jam extension of the windows the trim itself. “It’s just super clean and minimal,” Flynn says. “It looks like the window cuts through the sheet rock and has no trim at all. But it’s an oddly difficult detail to execute.”

3. Expansive windows. The showstopper of this home is the massive multi-slide door from Marvin. Placed where a traditional barn door might be, the 12-foot-wide multi-slide door offers views to the hills when closed and an unparalleled connection to the outdoors when open. Flynn and his team made that connection even stronger by pocketing the doors entirely in the wall, which meant making the gable end of the wall’s home 18 inches thick. Even the pocket disappears once the doors are fully open. To achieve that look, a small piece of wood was attached to the final panel of the door that effectively hides the pocket once the doors are completely stacked. “When it’s open, that door is just gone,” Flynn says. “It’s super cool.”

Flynn credits the wide door as well as the other Marvin windows for creating an airy modern feel to the entire home. “That space is voluminous, but so much of the outdoors is brought into the home and it’s all due to the windows,” he says. “And it’s just an incredible view.”

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