Home to roost: A Bridgewater barn goes from chicken house to stylish business

The barn, initially built as a carriage house for a horse and buggy, was part of the 2-acre property in Bridgewater that Hoffman purchased 16 years ago. The main attraction was the 1882 Gothic Revival farmhouse, but it was the whole kit and caboodle that drew him. “The listing said ‘farmhouse with barn and two acres,’ ” Hoffman recalled. “That’s all I needed to know.”

Spurred by his expanding business and the barn’s growing disrepair — frost had recently caused its foundation to crack — Hoffman decided to renovate. He stripped it to the shell. Everything needed updating, from the compromised foundation to the rickety roof. Hoffman shored up the structure, built an entry addition to accommodate a new stairway to the loft, installed a new standing-seam metal roof, and pulled off old Cape Cod-style shingles in favor of clapboard siding similar to the original exterior cladding.

Hoffman also reinstated a pair of boarded-up windows after seeing a copy of a hand-drawn map from 1890 that included his property. “It showed windows on either side of the barn door, which weren’t there when I bought it,” he said. To top it, Hoffman designed a cupola with glass on all four sides, which he mounted on the roof at 45 degrees. “It reflects my style of looking at things from a different perspective,” he said. “It also shows we can do difficult things that require lots of math.”

Inside, Hoffman infused a fresh take on the barn’s antiquity while preserving its original character. “I didn’t want to lose the look of the 140-year-old raw, brown wood,” he said. Still, the building needed to be insulated. The solution? Hoffman insulated the underside of the roof with closed-cell foam, then enclosed it with rough-sawn pine that he stained to look old. “I came up with my own special sauce to antique it,” he said. His method involved applying the stain with rollers, as well as hand-rubbing it with rags — some before the boards were installed and some afterward. He also antiqued the new rafters and collar ties needed to ensure stability. “It’s respectably close to the existing wood,” Hoffman said.

For the walls, Hoffman reused the original pine sheathing boards he had pulled off the exterior. This is supplemented with rough-sawn shiplap sourced at Gurney’s Saw Mill Inc., a sixth-generation-run mill in Freetown. “It adds a small-town touch to this renovation story,” Hoffman said.

Although he’s generally of the “you don’t paint old wood” mind-set, interior designer Tracy Parkinson of Nest + Co., whom Hoffman engaged to help with the interior furnishings and finishes, advised him to paint some of the shiplap in the loft white. “Light bounces off the wall now and really brightens the office area,” Parkinson said.

Parkinson also persuaded him to put up a bit of wallpaper. “I just couldn’t envision it,” Hoffman said. “Wallpaper doesn’t belong in a barn.” But when she showed him her pick — a pattern with barn blueprints by Chip and Joanna Gaines’ company, Magnolia Home — he acquiesced. “It was so appropriate; how could I say no?”

The tile in the entryway was another curveball. Instead of the classic bluestone pavers Hoffman expected, Parkinson proposed patterned ceramic tiles inspired by on-trend cement ones in order to capture his clients’ attention the second they walk through the door. “People have expectations walking into a barn, but I wanted the element of surprise,” Parkinson said.

Hoffman reports that clients respond to this modern interpretation of the old barn just the way he’d hoped.

“They understand that old and new can live side by side, seamlessly,” he said. “It’s an ode to a job well done.”

AFTER: Parkinson persuaded Hoffman to paint some of the shiplap white and hang wallpaper above it on two short walls. “The Market” from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ brand Magnolia Homes features historic blueprints of the famous couple’s shopping complex, Magnolia Market at the Silos, in Waco, Texas. “A rustic ceiling and white walls say cozy with a touch of modern and a touch of edginess,” Hoffman said.Tamara Flanagan
AFTER: Hoffman built an entry porch which houses a new stairway to the loft inside. “There were makeshift winding stairs that were unsafe and in the way,” Hoffman explained. “I didn’t want clients cutting through the woodshop, so we built a stairway off to the side.”Tamara Flanagan
AFTER: Kerion Ceramics “Décor Classic B” 8-by-8-inch ceramic tiles line the entry floor. “It’s a small area so we could get away with a strong pattern,” designer Tracy Parkinson said.Tamara Flanagan
AFTER: Hoffman spotted the vintage drafting table outside someone’s home back in 2007. He paid $50 for it, popped it in his truck, and has been using it for a variety of purposes ever since. “The guy said the table belonged to his father-in-law, who had been an illustrator for Time Magazine in the eighties,” Hoffman said.Tamara Flanagan
BEFORE: The barn needed a new foundation and siding.Tamara Flanagan
AFTER: A round sisal rug in natural tones defines the conference area in the loft without hiding the wood floorboards. Parkinson chose a Saarinen dining table and lightweight metal chairs with an industrial twist from RH. “Farmhouse furniture would have been overkill,” Parkinson said. “Modern lines create an interesting tension.”Tamara Flanagan
BEFORE: The barn needed a new foundation and siding.Tamara Flanagan
BEFORE: The barn was taken down to the studs.Tamara Flanagan
AFTER: In choosing pieces for the office, Parkinson was attracted to the modern-meets-industrial aesthetic of the executive desk and lateral storage unit from Arhaus. A worn leather desk chair warms the space, as does the cowhide rug. Hoffman made the pendant lights using a simple light socket and chicken wire topiary pieces. “It opens the door to tell the story about the barn’s background,” he said.Tamara Flanagan

Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at StyleCarrot.com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @globehomes. Subscribe to our free real estate newsletter — our weekly digest on buying, selling, and design — at pages.email.bostonglobe.com/AddressSignUp.

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