From Barn to Barndominium

Every year, the Oxford English Dictionary adds new words to reflect pop culture, slang, technical terms, etc. In 1989, a new word, “barndominium”, or “barndo” appeared. Connecticut developer Karl Nielsen coined the word “barndominium” to describe his intent of creating new communities planned around raising horses. He envisioned stables on the main floor surrounded by fenced paddocks for horses with living quarters above. Slowly, the idea of a home that had space for both animals and their humans began to evolve, although this concept was not really new.

Since pre-historic times, the word “transhumance” has been defined as herds of dairy cattle being moved from their winter homes in valleys to the upper Alpine areas during the warm months. The cattle feast on their daily diet of fresh grass, flowers, and water from pure mountain streams. At night, the cattle rest in a barn while the farmer sleeps in the loft after he makes cheese from the daily supply of milk.

While you may not be an equestrian or a dairy farmer, the idea of having space on the main floor for an RV, boat and/or cars, with living quarters above is appealing to many. This idea culminated in a segment of HGTV’s popular program “Fixer Upper,” that featured a 1980’s horse barn’s transformation into a family barndominium.

The “Fixer Upper” barn’s horse stalls had been converted into a garage and storage space and the upper loft was an apartment. The transformation began with turning the former center aisle of the horse barn into an indoor-outdoor room for family gatherings or entertaining. The remainder of the floor included a new staircase to the upper floor and two bedrooms and baths. The great thing about main floor bedrooms is that the doors can be incorporated into the design, instead of egress windows for emergency evacuation. The loft floor became a large kitchen and living room. After this HGTV segment, barndomania took off. Now there are both single story and two-story barndominiums all over the country.

One of them is a recently completed barndominium for Bohl Architects clients in the Hudson River Valley who caught the wave. They asked for our help in achieving their mother’s vision of a barndominium for herself on their property. The barndominium is sited at the crest of a hill with spectacular panoramic views of rolling hills against a backdrop of the Catskill Mountains, a landscape that has inspired painters since the Hudson River School American Art Movement began in the mid-19th century.

The existing barn was a story and a half barn with a pitched roof with a one-story single slope shed roofed addition. The barndominium was reclad in corten steel that will weather over time.

At the elevation overlooking the valley and the mountains, Bohl Architects added an outdoor room that spans the full length of the house, with both open and screened areas. Fir tree trunks have a new life as columns for the porches, rooting the barndominium to its site.

The rectangular floor plan is divided into two bays. One is a free-span bay that is an open plan living-dining-kitchen area with panoramic views from the side full height window walls through the open and screened porches.

For total transparency and maximum views of the surrounding landscape, the framing of the exterior windows and doors echoes the framing of the porches. The sills of the windows rest on low walls, with a stained wood cap-perfect for art, sculpture, potted plants, books, or a perch for the family pet.

The other bay contains the entry hall with closets on one side and doors to the core area of bathroom, laundry and walk-in closet for the bedroom and one wall of the kitchen cabinetry.

The bedroom and a library are located at each side exterior wall, with full height windows and transoms. The library’s tall grid of millwork has a rail to accommodate a ladder to access upper shelves. Sliding doors that stretch in height to just under the ceiling plane connect each room to the open plan living-dining -kitchen area. Off the entry hall is a one-car garage and a carport.

The low maintenance interior design features stained concrete floors with radiant heat, wall and ceiling planes of drywall, simple baseboard and trimless doors.

Whether you are building your first home, planning a vacation space, or downsizing your family home, the barndominium concept has great appeal. With its main floor bedrooms and bath and second floor open plan living-dining-kitchen area, the design maximizes the views of your site’s unique features. Barndominums are one of the quickest growing trends in home styles across the United States. We hope our barndominium design inspires you to think about collaborating with Bohl Architects!

If you’d like to share your comments, questions or just say hello, feel free to email Jennifer at

How Floating Stairs Add Modern Chic Elements to Your Home

floating stairs in waterfront property

As a trusted authority within the architectural design services niche, we want to educate our audience on the latest trends in home design. One of the most sought-after design elements in recent years is floating stairs, and this article will explain what floating stairs are and why they are the perfect addition to any modern home.

What exactly are Floating Stairs?

Floating stairs are an increasingly prominent design element that provides an aura of refinement when incorporated into a contemporary house. These stairs give the impression of being suspended in midair because there are no discernible means of support. Instead, the treads are secured to a concealed stringer or supporting structure that is built into the wall.

This illusion is done successfully with a technique that is used in engineering and construction: cantilevering. This technique involves supporting a horizontal beam or slab on only one end while the other extends beyond the support. This produces an effect similar to a bracket, offering the necessary support for the steps afterward.

Floating stairs typically have wood, metal, glass, or stone treads rather than traditional wood or carpet. They are secured to the structure and supported by bolts or other types of hidden fasteners built into the wall. The supporting structure of the stairs is often composed of steel or concrete and is constructed to sustain the pressure that the stairs apply when they are used.

Why Choose Floating Stairs?

A home’s appearance and ambiance can undergo a dramatic makeover when floating stairs are installed. These steps have a clean, contemporary, and understated appearance and the streamlined lines contribute to the impression of openness and lightness. Which makes the area friendlier and cozier.

You may upgrade the design of your home and give it a touch of style and refinement that will impress guests by installing floating stairs. Upgrading your home by installing floating stairs will give your home a touch of style and refinement that will impress your guests.

One of the primary advantages of floating stairs is the ability to match the aesthetic of any house or architectural design. Floating stairs can be altered to have a more conventional and classic appearance, or they can also have a more modern and daring design, depending on the individual’s preferences. Because of the wide variety of materials and finishes, it is possible to create a wide variety of styles, ranging from cozy and rustic to industrial.

The floating stairs offer several practical benefits in addition to their visual appeal. Their open layout enables an increased amount of natural light to permeate the area, resulting in a place perceived as being both brighter and cozier. Additionally, they take up less visible space than typical stairs, which helps to create the illusion that a smaller room is larger and more open.

Floating stairs can be a considerable investment but they add to the overall value of your property over the long run.  You may get a better return on your investment by modernizing your house with this chic and classy architectural component. The presence of contemporary and unusual elements, such as floating staircases, in a home can frequently pique the interest of prospective buyers.

Installing Floating Stairs in Your Own Home

Are you taking into consideration the installation of floating stairs in your home? There are a lot of different methods to use your imagination and make a feature that stands out. Utilizing materials that are in harmony with the architecture and design of the surrounding area in the home is one strategy.

For instance, consider installing hardwood treads on your floating stairs if your home is decorated with natural wood and muted tones. This will result in a unified appearance that is in perfect harmony with the design of the rest of your home.

Your floating staircase can also be a wonderful focal point for your living room. You have the option of giving the treads a one-of-a-kind shape or pattern, such as giving them a curved or asymmetrical shape. Alternatively, give the treads a strong splash of color or create a more industrial appearance using glass or metal materials.

Lighting is another essential aspect to think about when designing your floating steps, especially if you want them to make a bold statement. The addition of LED lights beneath the treads can produce a striking visual impact that draws attention to the floating illusion and gives the area a sense of drama. This can be especially useful in a space in your home that is obscured from light or has a low illumination level, such as a cellar or an attic.

In addition to their visual appeal, the practicality of your floating stairs is a significant factor to consider. It’s important to select a design that is not just secure, but also comfortable and simple to use. Your floating stairs have the potential to be both aesthetically pleasing and practically useful if you consult with a professional architectural design firm.

It is also crucial to consider the area around your floating steps. This includes the walls, the floor, and the decor. You can improve the overall aesthetic effect of your floating stairs by utilizing materials and colors that are complementary to those found throughout the room. For instance, use wallpaper with a vivid pattern or a textured wall finish to create a distinctive backdrop for your staircase. You can improve the design by using artwork, plants, or other ornamental components.

Floating Stairs Add a Modern and Chic Element

Wrapping Up

Are you considering adding a floating staircase to your home? It’s a fantastic design choice that can add an extra touch of elegance and refinement to any room. But keep in mind, floating stairs are a unique element that require a professional’s expertise to install properly.

At Bohl Architects, we have decades of experience incorporating floating stairs into our architectural projects. We take pride in the process of working with existing buildings that tell a story, and we can help you create the perfect floating staircase that fits your unique style and needs Contact us today to learn more about how we can bring your dream staircase to life!

Regardless of your preferred style, material, or color, our architectural design firm can assist you in choosing the ideal floating stair installation that serves as a stunning centerpiece in your home!

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Why Hiring an Architect is Key to Designing the Perfect Barndominium Interior

barndominium interior

In 2022, there were 1,875 house listings with “bardominium” in the description. This is more than in previous years. This trend means more homeowners are looking for experts to create barndominium interior designs. Depending on your barndominium project budget, getting advice from experienced people is important. So, you build the house of your dreams. Choosing an architect allows one to turn ambitious ideas into a reality. Plus, they highlight your space’s standout features and elevate a home’s overall value.

But why is an architect important for a barndominium design?

Keep reading to find out…

What Is a Barndominium Interior? 

A barndominium interior is a style that embodies the old-fashioned charm of a barn into a modern living space. Some people want designs for barndominiums that encapsulate simple living. Others like the idea of expanding the living area and having an open layout. 

Not all designs for barndominiums are the same. They change with personal preferences and budget limitations. Typically barndominium interiors are open and spacious. So, there are few wall partitions, making it easier to have options for architects. 

For example, some of the key features of this interior style are high ceilings and concrete floors. Compared to other homes, the high ceilings provide a dramatic impression and allow designers to experiment with unique lighting. This feature also makes smaller spaces appear bigger. 

So, you can make a barndominium cozy and intimate but also open with high ceilings. This is one of the most distinct characteristics of this design. It makes your home instantly recognizable and different from the surrounding area.  

Concrete floors bring the functionality of barns but provide the opportunity to get creative. Your architect will design to paint or leave the concrete natural. The versatility of this material makes it great for use in barndominium architecture. 

Why You Need a Barndominium Architect 

Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of barndominium interiors, it’s essential that you consider choosing an architect for your next project. The barndominium construction experience can be complicated. But an architect can guide you through the process.  

Firstly, these professionals have completed other barndominium designs, so they know what works and what doesn’t. Architects are there to listen to your ideas and develop practical solutions for incorporating them into your home. They can suggest the best material for the flooring. Or present various floor plans for the space. 

Instead of working against the natural aspects of the space, architects know how to use them to their advantage. This means they can outline the ideal light sources for windows and research building requirements for your region. 

Avoid Design Failures 

Even though barndominum interiors resemble barns, there are small elements that separate them from traditional farm homes. If you design the space with an architect, you could overlook the functionality and have to stop the project halfway through. 

Seeing the layout in detailed drawings and a cost breakdown allows you to plan the timeline. For instance, you’ll know when to start building and how long to wait to buy materials. This saves you time and speeds up the process so your home is ready as quickly as possible. 

Contractors benefit from architects as they have a practical outline that is easy to follow. It’s essential to have a professional architect that can communicate with your building team effectively. This way, everyone knows what to do and when. There is less room for miscommunication and significant errors when building. 

Creative Ideas From Trustworthy People 

Investing in barndominium interiors means you want them to look unique and high-quality. But, with cheap materials and a lack of knowledge, it can leave your space looking less than desirable. 

Architects can develop creative solutions even if issues arise during the design process. They have the skills to adapt to obstacles by finding alternative ideas that still capture the style. By comparing the materials and layout, architects are skillful in navigating any space to fit their client’s vision. 

It’s also important to trust an architect with your home as it will be your living area. So, you have to communicate with your architect from the beginning openly. 

Talking with a company on the phone or in person is a great way to see if you can picture yourself working together. Also, take note of their response time so you can decide if they are easy to talk to. 

Tips for Finding a Barndominium Architect 

When searching for a barndominium architect, you should think about their reviews and online presence. Most professional architects will have an eye-catching portfolio online that represents the quality of their work. Look at the photos and browse the about page to find out more about the architects.  

This is a good way to understand their work ethic and design approach. 

Once you find a company that you like, reach out to schedule a consultation. During your conversation, you should focus on their expertise with barndominium interiors. It’s crucial that you hire an architect with the right philosophy and confidence to undertake your home renovation. Ultimately, hiring a barndominium architect gives you more control and peace of mind during the construction. Architects can support you with getting the correct paperwork and materials for starting your makeover. Every step of the design process is carefully considered and planned with precision. 

There’s no risk of failure when you work with a team of professional architects. But, you must find a passionate company excited by this new trend of barndominium so you get the transformation you want.

Barndominium Interior 3

Architects That Love Barndominium Styles 

Are you looking to transform your existing space into a stunning barndominium retreat? Look no further than Bohl Architects. Our team has a wealth of experience in completing a variety of barndominium projects.  

We pride ourselves on being experts in the field of architectural design and have completed a variety of successful barndominium projects. We love the process of working with existing buildings that tell a story and creating unique interiors that reflect our clients’ visions. 

At Bohl Architects, we believe that the design process is a collaborative effort between our team and our clients. We listen carefully to your design ideas and work closely with you to turn your vision into a reality. Our primary focus is on enhancing the natural beauty of your space, while creating a unique and inviting interior that provides rest and relaxation. 

So if you’re ready to embark on your barndominium renovation journey, reach out to our expert team today. Let us help you transform your home into a stunning space that you’ll never want to leave. 

Let us know here about your design ideas, and let’s get started! 

Whatever style, material or color you prefer, we can help you select the front door that is the perfect introduction to your home!

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Doors – Your Home’s First Impression

Your Home’s First Impression

Of all the elements of a building, doors and other openings we walk through are the most important and symbolic of the structures we encounter in our daily lives. The door’s concept and application are simple, with ambivalent meanings since doors are used to either enter or exit a space and to provide safety or freedom.

Doors or other openings in walls are transition points leading to other rooms. A closed door signifies privacy or a dead end. An open door encourages entry and provides a vista to another space. Metaphorically, the door has long symbolized the entrance to the afterlife.

Doors first appeared in Ancient Egypt and temples in Pompeii as early as 79 AD. Throughout history, doors have been made from leaves, hides, paper, stone, metal, wood, glass, or a combination of materials and their functions ranged from swinging, sliding, folding, pivoting to rolling. Famous examples of carved bronze doors were the doors designed by Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Baptistery in Florence and the 24 foot tall doors of the Pantheon in Rome.

During the Renaissance, door design combined classical Greek motifs with realism. In the 17th century, a door design appeared that remains popular to this day; this Georgian style door had raised panels, usually six per door, with stiles and rails as the centerpiece of a symmetrical facade. Glazed doors also appeared in the 17th century. In the 20th century, sliding doors became popular and today we now have “smart glass” that can switch from transparent to translucent by clicking a switch.

At Bohl architects, we understand that entrance doors are an important part of your home for the choice of a front door’s style, design, texture, materials and color combine to make your home’s first impression. Red doors say “welcome”; in an early American tradition, tired travelers would understand a home with a red door would take them in for a night’s rest. White doors are universally associated with cleanliness. Black doors convey the authority and power of the Owner. Blue or teal doors exude a feeling of calm and serenity that evoke the pristine water of the Caribbean. Green doors symbolize ambition, since it is the color of money, or echoes the color of a surrounding landscape. If none of these colors appeal to you, the warmth and stability of stained wood is always a great choice.

Through the years, we have specified front doors for our modern art houses, historic preservation houses, renovations and new houses in a variety of styles. Here are some of our favorites from our website portfolio of houses:


Our “Storybook Getaway” house began its life as a three-bay Victorian cottage. The original two-paneled door has a top rectangular panel with chamfered edges and a bottom square panel with chamfered edges. The green door takes its cue from the surrounding landscape of green.

The “Magothy Modern” house has a modernist touch of a wood door fabricated from horizontal lengths, flanked by full height sidelights. We especially like the juxtaposition of the solid door with transparent sidelights. The mullions and other framing are stained a lighter color than the door for contrast and the sleek vertical hardware complete the look.

The “Bembe Beach” door is fabricated from dark metal with slender top and bottom rails and side stiles to maximize the glass area. The discrete lever hardware disappears into the side stiles to give a visitor a clear vista to the Chesapeake Bay beyond.

The “Severn River View” house has a front porch with a wooden door and threshold. The door is detailed with a top panel of three glass panes, two middle raised panels and an oversize bottom rail. The door is centered into a half stone wall in warm earth tones below windows painted white. The craftsman detailing begins with the post and beam framing, side benches instead of handrails and exposed rafters and decking, all in white to focus your eye on the door

The “Waterfront Shingle Style” house has the entry door at the side of the front porch. The door is next to two long windows and has a top glass panel above two recessed panels framed by wide rails and stiles. Period hardware, including the lockset, complete the period look.

The “Wye River House” has a wood front door detailed in three horizontal panels, with the two middle panels being the same height and the top panels one third the height. The door’s stained wood is a focal point for the foyer’s interior of white, with an accent of back in the pendant light fixture that resembles a Calder mobile.

The “Whitehall Creek Modern” entry foyer is part of a “hyphen” connecting two parts of the modern house. The foyer is detailed in grey brown mullions and framing with slim rails and stiles. As an accent, a vertical panel of wood is both an accent and the backdrop for the sleek modern hardware.

Whatever style, material or color you prefer, we can help you select the front door that is the perfect introduction to your home!

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