A {nearly} Black Barn


As part of the improvements on the New Old Stone House, we decided to build a proper two car garage with easily accessible seasonal storage above and a sports gear ‘shed’ off the back. We started the project in earnest about two weeks ago when it became clear the ground had thawed and Spring weather was on it’s way.


I learned early on that the original house design is based off of a Dutch Stone House that the original owner had seen in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Because the house had roots that originated in a rural area, we determined a barn structure would make the most sense in relation to the main house. Besides, we fully accepted there was no way we’d be able to recreate the 80+ years of patina that existed on the stone and mortar of the original house. There wasn’t any sense in attempting to build a coordinating stone carriage house to coordinate with it.


You might recall at one point I thought we’d put our gym area out in the barn. Unfortunately, the cost of building a heated/cooled/fire code rated space away from the main house was equivalent to building a second home! The renovation itself was expensive to start – but with all the renovation surprises – we just couldn’t justify putting the gym out in the ‘barn’ garage.


The main house has a one car garage off the far side of the house with a door that leads into the new Super Pantry. I’m not 100% sure an SUV of today’s size would fit properly. (By the way, did you see what the Madcap Gents are doing to their tiny 1937 garage space?) We intend to clean up our attached car space and use it as an exercise room and storage for garden equipment. In the end, I like this solution better because I’ll be able to run a load of laundry or keep an eye on dinner during my cardio workout more easily in a room connected to the main house.


The story behind the design of the New Old Stone House is kind of cool. I hear different stories from different people in the neighborhood, but I read online that the woman who built the house asked her daughter to help design the home. At one point her creative daughter -who attended the New York School of Interior Design – ran a combination tea house/antique shop out of an old blacksmith shop just up the road. The shop served just about everything lunch and tea related, but she was best known for her bakery goods. The walls of her shop were dark, so she brightened up the space up with fresh flowers and colorful textiles. Hmmm..does that sound like someone else we know?

Colorful-Textiles,-Vintage-China,-Fresh-FlowersThe original homeowner’s daughter also later taught and practiced textile design in New York City – my primary focus when I was in art school. (Oh to weave on a Cranbrook Loom again! Maybe someday?) For me it is completely fun to learn the history of this old house while we make appropriate choices in modernizing it to fit our lifestyle. Every day I have to remind myself we’re just 10 miles from the GW Bridge into Manhattan. It is hard to believe this bucolic of an area exists so close to NYC!Charcoal-Grey-Dutch-Barn

Months ago, in an effort to do right by the house, I started thinking about what I know about Dutch architecture. Of course my brain immediately started thinking about it in current design vernacular. Oh boy, don’t I love it? Modern, clean lines. Dark, simple shapes. YES! But wait – it is in a Historic District for goodness sakes! I can totally appreciate historic architecture, so I took a step back and started looking at traditional Dutch Barns.


As I mentioned in a previous post, the exterior color palette for the house was a total no brainer for me. From the get-go I found the white trim jarring. It is the first design element you notice when you pull up to the house. By painting the extension and trim on the house it will take the focus off the trim and let the beautiful stone to take center stage. Same goes for the barn. I wouldn’t want it to detract attention from the main house structure.


I feel the cream paint on the extension doesn’t relate to the stone the way it could. To me, it looks like the extension was tacked on – not integrated into the the stone house. The color is a safe choice, but it could be so much better. As you know, dark colors recede. To change the focus, that is the direction we are heading. I think the New Old Stone House will be even more striking as the seasons change with it’s new paint scheme.

Exterior-Color-Palette Painting-the-trim-and-extension-on-the-house

When I was a teenager there was a white house in our neighborhood that appeared pink every time it snowed – after a Spring, Summer and Fall of admiring the pretty white house, I was always struck by the fact their house turned pink in the Winter. I tell you this because I took the photos above before we were completely buried in snow. I was pretty sure F&B’s ‘Railings’ was “the one” until a super sunshine filled snowy day when it appeared 100% Navy blue. OOF!


At one point I was looking at Black Forest Green by Benjamin Moore, but once I got a sample up on the exterior wall it looked like an early 1990’s Eddie Bauer advertisement. It’s no wonder Benjamin Moore nixed that one from their color palette! It was so horribly dated. I was thankful I had tested it on the back of the house. I was so embarrassed by my swatch that I painted over it with a coat of black and started using siding samples for my test colors.fly-by-night-decision
I spent a ton of time contemplating the right shade of grey for the exterior of our house. It took two historic board meetings to get approval to paint our house, but in the end they approved the colors we presented. I feel confident it is the right choice to accomplish our goals.

1) Be true to the history of the original stone portion of the house. The Senate House in Kingston New York is a Dutch Stone House owned and run by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. It has off-black window trim and shutters. What could be a better historically significant example?

2) Make the original stone and the beautiful slate roof the focal point of the property by taking the focus off of the accessory barn/garage.

Images are my own or from my Paint it Black Pinterest Board.