A 120 year old Barn Makeover with The Frame TV + Shop The Look
Welcome to the third makeover in the “Reframe Your Space” series with Samsung’s TV (yes, there is a TV hidden in that gallery wall you see above). In case you are just tuning in, this summer I had the extreme pleasure of taking unexpected spaces (a greenhouse, barge, boathouse and barn) and completely transforming them into livable spaces in just a couple of days. It was insane in every way, but nothing is more satisfying than revealing them to you. For each one I partnered with another person in the design/lifestyle field, and this time it’s the very lovely style blogger, . She and I were to transform this beast of a 120 year old barn, together. And we were both very excited.
The video, done by under creative direction of is just so beautiful. We shoot a lot of makeover videos in-house as you know, but the production was feature film quality and I’m so proud of it.
About a week before the shoot Louise and I chatted on the phone about ideas – with neither of us having seen the space but working only off scouting shots. We immediately both loved the idea of turning this into a high end, library feeling lounge – a la Soho House. If you don’t know about this lovely lady, she is a lifestyle blogger from the UK, currently living in Los Angeles with a background in the magazine world. She isn’t an interior designer but she sure has style both in fashion and home. So we came up with this rough plan and Brady and I came up with a flexible design plan to work off of.
Hold on. Now choosing a favorite ‘‘ makeover is really like choosing children, I love them all so much. But… like children, there are some you worry about more, and this one was that. It was just so big, so open, and designing it sight unseen felt so daunting. To bring it up to the level that we had envisioned would take a lot of physical help and a TON of furniture and accessories, and as you know we had very little time.
But we started with an inspiration board –
While we could have gone modern farmhouse, we resisted thinking that it was too ‘on the nose’ and instead went in the opposite direction, but obviously still celebrating the character and architecture of this 100 year old structure. This one would be more high end and luxe, with a ‘club’ or ‘gentleman’s lounge’ feeling (dated term, I realize but there isn’t a unisex version of that, that I know of). We also knew that this was our chance to do something more colorful, with luxurious velvets and brighter rugs. We looked to hotel lobbies instead of living rooms for inspiration – in New York and all the ‘s. What we found (and what we loved) was that they are all a mix of styles, eras, colors and patterns. They are all timeless and yet so ‘now’. They are exciting and unexpected and you want to hang out there, for hours because they are also really comfortable and set up for conversation. It feels fancy and special but not pretentious.
But we were in a 120 year old, unused (and unkept) barn. I think it’s time to show you what we had to work with when we got there.
It’s the real deal and it’s BEAUTIFUL. There had been no updates and no, we didn’t put the hay down for a better ‘before’. It had beautiful beams, cement floor and a lot of wood. In case you are wondering, somewhere along the line they had to structurally update it which is why you will see some of the metal posts and beams above and below.
On one side of the space was this gorgeous rock retaining wall. Don’t you just want to buy this barn and turn it into your house?? It had so much character, so much age and obviously we didn’t want to mess with that. We did however want to execute our fantasy of turning this into the most amazing hotel lobby/club ever with the world’s most beautiful TV.
One of the biggest challenges was that it was so huge and open and there was no way that we could possibly address the whole thing. We needed to figure out a way to contain the space and create a singular room, in which to work. Since this was just for a video/shoot we had some flexibility to work with what we wanted to, without addressing the entire 10k square foot barn.
There was also only one real source of light (we would close off the other, and the windows were so high) so we had to design it to make it pop (both for camera and for life) without the help of natural light.
We needed to do more planning than the usual fast makeover, due to the sheer size of it. Because I hadn’t seen it myself I couldn’t get my mind around where the walls were and how the heck we were going to arrange it. So we asked for a basic rendering of the space to help us understand this portion of the barn.
You can see that we needed to somehow ‘close off’ the parts open to the rest of the barn (the double doors at the end is the main light source). At first we had this idea to put in a huge built-in bar with a gallery wall behind it like at a bar, with the TV mixed amongst the art. But the ideas were all over the place and days before the shoot I still didn’t know what we were going to do, so we laid it out.
I couldn’t shake the idea that a TV behind the bar would be too “sports bar-y” and regardless of my feelings towards sports or sports bars, that was not what we were going for. It became clear that we needed multiple seating areas and ideally the TV could be seen from a few of them – making it truly an entertaining space for screenings, live sports, movie nights or those three hour Bachelor Monday nights.
We quickly made a few mood boards to help execute the actual pieces (many of which changed).
The big built-in bar concept was nixed but most of the art stayed (It was rented from a great prop house).
We knew that we wanted a library feeling but didn’t have the resources to do real wood, and we figured a bolder, darker color would give it that moodier feeling we were going for.
The trickiest part of this particular makeover was trying to pull together so much eclectic furniture quickly, without lead times, immediately available all while making sure it would all look GOOD together. The shoppers that we had pulling props for us from the city would show us one sofa and by the time we were able to look at the email and confirm that it would look good with the rugs and chairs that we already had, it would be immediately sold or rented. The amount of moving parts made it impossible to actually have a real design plan. Brady and I essentially rented or borrowed ANYTHING that we loved, in the color palette regardless of all the normal things we have to consider (scale, overall layout, composition, etc). I think we had a total of 6 sofas to play with (and we ended up using 4, so it’s not bad, actually).
But the day before, to quell my anxiety I asked Brady to pull a board together of the stuff that we were 90% sure we could get. This is that board.
I felt better, but not great.
A.) We needed more accessories and B.) I hadn’t seen any of it in-person and online or photo representations aren’t always accurate in color.
The day that the makeover was to begin, Louise arrived and we got started. She knew the art direction, of course, but since she is a style blogger and not necessarily an interior designer she gave me the ‘I trust you’ go ahead to make quick decisions. Designing that fast, and from a distance (while also shooting all day) requires extremely fast trigger pulling and no time for an approval process – so she hadn’t seen anything that we had actually chosen. Thank GOD for Brady. He was there every step of the way designing, shopping, coordinating … It wasn’t just me, folks.
So not only was I worried that it wouldn’t look good or that I didn’t have enough to play with, but I was also nervous that she wouldn’t love it. We needed this space to represent her style (as well as mine) and she would be blogging and posting about it as well. She needed to be really proud of it, too. No pressure.
We got started and within a few hours I felt so much better. She was so lovely to work with, was full of good ideas and was so complimentary of what we have already done.
But we had a lot of work to do. And by “we” I think you know at this point that we had help. Besides Brady, there was the art department who helped do any of the customization or put together furniture and a shopper in the city getting last minute things.
And this guy, who had the very dramatic job of power washing 120 years of dust off the barn before we rolled out expensive rugs.
Having it be a blank slate certainly made it easier to get started.
We knew that we needed to make it feel like more of a “room” – rather than this super expansive barn, so we put these ‘built-in’ shelves on the far side. These were just from , but to elevate them (in more ways than one) we gave them a higher base.
We needed to fully close off another part of the barn so we essentially built a wall out of these pine planks, painted them, then stacked them horizontally.
The color ( by Benjamin Moore) was really bright when the light hit it, but then strangely dark when light wasn’t on it. I was worried that it was too bright and bold, but ended up loving it.
We did have to go shopping for accessories, so while the paint was drying we headed out to the local antique mall the .
We ordered a few rugs from a couple different vendors who let us borrow or rent, thank god as you all know beautiful antique rugs are so expensive to actually purchase and/or find.
So thank you and , for letting us borrow or rent your rugs!
We played musical chairs with all the furniture for hours until we locked down the final arrangement, and we used virtually all of them. The night before, I left set with a lot of anxiety about the arrangement and I was begging to stay and lay it out, but we had hit overtime and the crew had to go and that arranging had to be caught organically on camera. Here is a little timelapse to show you some of the process:
So the next morning, knowing that we had to be done by 1pm to shoot the reveals, we scrambled to execute the design of this entire room – the furniture, accessories, art wall, lighting – it all had to be done in a matter of hours.
I am very happy to say that it came out so much better than we could have imagined. We’ll start with the overheads to show you how the space worked, then dig into the vignettes. Here you go, folks:
We ended up creating four seating areas, grounded by four different persian-style rugs, and a mishmash of new and vintage furniture. It was an exciting room to design and even more exciting to be in.
The color palette was mostly pulled from the rugs – blues, pinks, reds and then accented with blacks and cream. We were flexible with them, knowing that we didn’t want it to feel too controlled, but we did want it to feel balanced.
First up is the reason we are all here – to celebrate the world’s most beautiful TV – , by Samsung. If you are unsure why I’m talking about a TV whilst looking at wall of beautiful art, then you are probably not alone. The photo of the vintage library, in the middle is actually the TV, mounted flush to the wall, with a thin frame, fooling us all.
If that shot doesn’t make you want that TV, I don’t know what would. As a designer it truly is making my life easier. You can incorporate it seamlessly into your art wall, or have it sit on its own as a large piece of art (this one is 55″ but it comes in 65″ as well, and I’m personally pushing for them to do a smaller one).
One of the options we haven’t talked about yet is that you can even give your piece of art a ‘matte’ like this one if you want it to feel more traditional. It really worked in this case, and felt better with the gallery wall than choosing no-matte or more of a full-bleed option.
If you are new to this series then there are few things you should know:
- The Frame comes stocked with one hundred pieces of curated art, with the option to purchase hundreds more – an inventory that is constantly being added to by gallery curators. It includes every medium and style – drawings, paintings, illustrations, and photography.
- You can upload your own art, a friends or family photos.
- With one button it goes from Art Mode to TV mode. Literally, you just hit one button on their tiny white remote – it’s not magic, but my goodness is it magical.
- Yes it’s a normal Smart TV, with 4k definition and can play everything from live events to Netflix marathons.
- You have 4 customizable frame options (the frame of ): black (standard – how it comes), white, beige wood and walnut. We chose Walnut in this episode.
What you may not know is that the way it’s installed allows for you to move it slightly if your walls/ceilings aren’t exactly square/level – so mounting your TV perfectly level just got a whole lot easier.
Enough about that beautiful TV, let’s show you the rest of this extremely colorful, interesting, layered room.
That is from Article and man it is beautiful. I loved this little vignette – the perfect flirty two person game lounge. Some of the art was rented from a prop house, others we purchased from the antique mall, and a few were borrowed from . Also, if you are interested in going broke, I’d suggest you rent art for a living – they were each around $200, but since the whole concept around this episode was the gallery wall surrounding a TV, the art needed to be really good. You can always fill in with simpler pieces but I needed to know that I had some amazing pieces to work with. The large one with the black and white stripe circle graphic, the other black and white graphics, the photo of the white peacock and the soldier were locked down before we went shopping. Then we filled in and I have to say that it’s one of my favorite art walls ever – AND IT INCLUDES A TV. Cue the evil laughter.
We created these little vignettes around the room, like a hotel lobby or lounge, imagining long conversation, drinks and of course the opportunity for some TV watching if desired.
The antique pieces helped us reference the age of the barn, but the newer velvet pieces and the lighting brought us into 2018. The library card catalogue was found at the antique mall, and that amazing antique brass trunk was a rental we found last minute. A HUGE thanks to and (Brooklyn!) for letting us borrow so much lighting and accessories. Having sources that we knew had beautiful things helped me sleep at night through the design process.
Below you’ll see that we clad over the metal supports with scrap wood from the barn, which made that side of the room with all the stone even more stunning.
That sconce was a last minute decision that we loved. As you probably saw, there were sconces throughout, which we felt really elevated the space and gave it a higher end “library” look.
Those were a steal – we got all 10 for $500 (Amazon prime saved us during this whole shoot and they arrived the next day). Since this was just for a shoot we nailed them up, no proper electrical install needed.
On the other side of the barn was another seating area that echoed the same ideas – old + new, masculine + feminine, with more vintage trunks and metal shade lamps to give it that low-light intimacy we wanted. That is from Ikea and it’s AMAZING.
If you are in the market for a beautiful and comfortable black leather sofa that is in no way “bachelor’ or cheesy, then I can’t recommend that Article one enough. The quality and finish of the leather is perfect. I seriously wish that I could bring home that trunk and those bird paintings so badly. I do however wish I could go back in time and make them centered above the bookcase – or that we had shoved it over. That was not intentional, but nailing art into 120 year old stone was also not easy.
We shopped all over for a large piece of furniture to go on the below wall and simply couldn’t find anything that was the right vibe… we were out of money. So Brady put to use some of his savvy thrifting skills and found this guy on Craigslist for $80.
It had good lines, but bad finish – a weird red tone. So we painted it an almost black and installed the original hardware and BOY did it look good.
It became such a beautiful, striking vignette – flanked by a couple knock-off Cherner chairs (which we rented for The Greenhouse thinking they were the real deal, but when they arrived realized the tone of the wood didn’t work in there). While I do wish they were a deeper tone I love them flanking that piece, they pull out the gold in the hardware and accessories.
That huge round West Elm holds that wall perfectly, adds some glam reflects a lot of light which we really needed.
I feel like I’m generally objective about my work, admitting to mistakes and even telling you when I’m at a ‘7’ on a 1-10 scale. So I think you’ll believe me when I say that this room was so exciting to be in. Each corner pulled you to it, each seating area was fun for a different reason.
I want to be in this room, I want to be this person. Are there little things I would change – probably, but I don’t even remember them right now. I remember sitting with Louise in the room after we were done, both of us buzzing with accomplishment, so proud that we did what we did in three days.
The before and afters are pretty compelling, especially when you think about the time constraints (3 days from arrival at the barn to finished shots).
One more look at , for those of you in the market for the world’s most beautiful TV ….
It’s magical without actually being magic. I rarely talk about a piece of technology with such love and admiration, but as someone who’s job it is to make rooms look more beautiful while still being very functional it’s solving problems right and left and making me look really good.
Thanks to for being so lovely to work with. She is a total pro on camera and it made that aspect of those three days stress-free. Since we are both in LA, we plan on many future collaborations. And congrats on your baby – she was kinda-hiding a 20 week bump here, which gave me a lot of pleasure bestowing/berating her with my 2-kid-mom advice.
If you are interested in this look, we have you covered:
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*Many of our favorite companies loaned for this 3 day shoot an we’d love to thank them. , , , , , and .
**A huge thanks to our photographer for taking such beautiful after photos with Brady of a REALLY hard-to-shoot space. We had little time, but she really pulled it off. Also a big thank you goes out to who photographed the before photos and captured all of the in-process and action pictures (working around a massive filming crew to capture shots is no easy feat but she did it).
***Another big thanks to my right hand designer, Brady for doing so much behind the scenes sourcing and coordinating, and JT and his art department team for pulling this one off and dealing with my anxiety.
****Video produced by , with E.J. McLeavey-Fisher as the director.
*****Due to your high demand we are working on a coupon code or giveaway for EHD readers. Stay tuned – we have one more (the boat house!).