A 200-Year-Old Barn Gets Remodeled Into a Residence


This post is presented by: ASID KitchenTour

This post is a part of a series that gives an inside look behind the creative process of homes featured on the upcoming ASID MN Kitchen Tour  on April 16-17, 2016. You’ll get to see each designer’s challenges and joys behind creating the perfect kitchen for their client.

Today, we’re featuring the work of Catherine Harrington Designs.

What was your design dilemma?

The building was originally a 200 year old barn. It had been remodeled into a residence in the 1990s, but not to code, not completely finished, and with no design plan or aesthetic.

Tell us about your source(s) of inspiration for this project. 

Other barns that were converted into homes, and the vision and plans of the homeowners for the barn. The homeowners have many interests and hobbies and also love to entertain family and friends and had fallen in love with the idea of this wonderful old barn and all of the charm of the original beams, open areas, and surrounding country side. We had a vision of a “farm house” design and aesthetic, without becoming “cute”. We wanted to honor the history and stories to be told by this noble old beautiful barn. At the same time making a functional, efficient home for this client and their guests, extended family, and friends. The drama of large spaces and “old timey” wood, beams, barn siding, etc. can easily become overwhelming. Making the spaces “cozy” comfortable and welcoming as a home was the goal for the outcome of the design of this project.

What were your top three go-to tools to get the job done? 

The remodeling contractor for this project was Waldenwood, Ltd. The entire project was a collaboration. The skill and expertise of a top notch, contractor with extremely skilled and talented folks, who are willing to think and design “outside the box” is crucial to a unique project like this one. 


Tell us about the biggest challenge you encountered while executing the project and how did you overcome it?

There were many challenges to this project. The first one was to undo what had been done previously and get back to the “barn”and to be sure to uncover many of the original posts and beams that were original. All plumbing and electrical work needed to be either removed or totally bypassed to be sure the home would be up to code and safe. There was mold in the lower level basement that had to be mitigated. then we had a safe, cleaned-up work site. We then could take on the fun, exciting part of the design and selections. Exposing and using as many original posts and beams and other elements of the barn for functional and decorative elements. More reused barn beams were found and used for trim and moldings and added to areas for some effect and drama.

What part of this project are you most proud of? 

Together with Waldenwood, Ltd. and the homeowners, we created a lovely country home that fills the vision the clients had for this wonderful structure. We brought it alive again for a new life and the enjoyment of this family. There is even an antique airplane being rebuilt in the basement to ultimately be flown out of the Lake Elmo airport just a view blocks away from the barn.

See this kitchen and others on the ASID MN Kitchen Tour on April 16-17. 

Presented by ASID MN
Photos courtesy of Catherine Harrington Designs

  • This kitchen’s number on the tour: #10
  • Home’s location: 11989 30th St. N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042
  • Designer on project: Catherine Harrington, ASID, CID
  • Company Name: Catherine Harrington Designs
  • Website: catherinehdesigns.com


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