Backyard Oasis

Go Bold! That was my first comment to this active preppy family who asked me to design them a structure in their yard that would serve as part party space, part office, part work-out room, and part winter boat storage.

Like many things, the pandemic introduced a need for flexible space as working and schooling online became the norm, and the challenges of finding ways to make it all work with a busy family became evident. The solution was to create a “barn” a structure that from the outside was seemingly common in this seaside New England town, but to do so with a twist – make it black and make it sexy.

Stepping out of the comfort zone to a slight degree, made this project exciting for all involved. Working together with the homeowners, contractor, and interior designer – each detail was worked out and made to sing.

The original house set atop a hill is a gambrel antique painted white with black windows. Rather than match – the barn design compliments the house and blends into the backdrop of trees and the yard. If you squint your eyes the house stays visually dominant. The design is pure with a 12 pitch roof, with detailing that is meant to be subtly different giving character and style.

While dark and moody from the exterior, the interior is light and vibrant and takes advantage of the view. The structure also serves as a beautiful backdrop edge to the yard.

Interior Designer: Tris Nuland

Contractor: Kevin Dahlen, Shawn Dahlen Company