The Barn

A creative couple from LA reached out to our firm looking to restore a charming structure on their misted coastal site in Elk, California. Having deep interest and experience in design, the clients had previously renovated a small one-bedroom main cabin on the property for themselves but needed more space for visiting family and friends. Our team set out to convert a preexisting traditional barn into a modern, light-filled living space with budget and sustainability in mind.

After assessing how much of the existing cabin could be salvaged, we reworked the layouts by adding two modest bedrooms to a loft, taking advantage of views of the Redwood groves and a distant peak of the Pacific. The clients encouraged our design team to embrace the existing barn’s imperfections and salvage as much as possible, preserving the character of the vaulted roof and trusses, while introducing large windows and a roomy deck to enhance the indoor/outdoor connection. A new one-car garage and auto-court establish the arrival sequence – the simple form and scale of the garage is discrete and retains the focus on the gambrel-roofed barn.

The design prioritizes fire resiliency, sourcing materials like standing seam metal roofing and fiber cement lap siding to protect the structure and mitigate risk. The barn will function off the grid – a solar PV array will provide power by a battery backup system, and all electric appliances, including electric powered car charging stations, will be installed. The previously unconditioned barn will be retrofitted with new insulation and conditioned with an electric heat pump forced air system.

LOCATION Elk, California

General Contractor: Tarbell Woodworks