Located on a vineyard in Sebastopol, California, and 100m from the 1930 residence of the homeowners, a decrepit barn has been converted into an artists studio, a storage space for collectables and memorabilia, and also a place for the homeowners farm equipment. When SFOSL architects first took on the project, it soon became clear that the original barn was too far gone to be kept, but the architects and the homeowners wanted to preserve as much of the building as possible, so by using the original footprint and playing with rooflines they where able to maintain the existing 230m2 foundation of the barn. The final result is a building that converts from single to double volume spaces via the dramatic inverted roofline. On the main floor, large expanses of windows run the length of the storage and gallery spaces while a large barn door swings out to accept the farm equipment on the right. The ability to create 3 large, diverse and open spaces within this reinterpretation of the original barn was achieved by constructing the building with a simple timber and steel skeleton that was then clad with upcycled 100 year old barn boards installed in a vertical pattern. The varying tones and shades create a dynamic energy in keeping with the locale.
The back of the building is less exposed then the front with only 7 vertical windows piercing the barn board façade. Here, too, a large barn door swings out for farm equipment to come and go.
The farm zone has been designed as a drive through section for easy access from both sides. Clerestory windows on the side and rows of fluorescent tubes keep the space bright when the two large doors are closed. A doorway on the interior wall leads to the artists studio.
The artist studio is a blank canvas of neutral shades, so as not to interfere with the colour story’s as they unfold on the canvas. Well lit and large, the space is set up for intimate drawings of a small scale or large super sized pieces . The sloping ceiling defines the areas for small and large to take place. As with most artists studios, paint can get everywhere so surfaces are easy to clean and not too precious.
Within the art studio is a small loft easily accessed via a narrow flight of open tread stairs. The loft is outfitted with a desk, chair and shelving and becomes the office zone of an artist’s life. Here, all necessary paperwork can be created and filed without imposing on the creative zone below. When re-entering the lower volume, a gallery wall helps transform the artist back into an inspirational mode.
The art studio incorporates a wall of sliding glass doors that can be opened up on sunny days for a more outdoor painting experience. A window above the sliding doors lights of the office loft.
Next to the art studio is a double volume storage area for all the memorabilia and collectables that the homeowners have. This space is also flooded with natural light via the huge expanses of windows but these windows, unlike the studio, are not transparent and offer a certain amount of cloaking to the collections within.
All three spaces offer functionality within a rustic industrial façade whose design aesthetic is in keeping with the barn’s location. The fact that SFOSL has managed to create this aesthetic within the original footprint of the original barn while adding in both a vertical energy via the inverted roof and a nostalgic touch through the recycled barn boards is just awesome.
Photos courtesy of Bruce Damonte