Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Virginia Barn Makeover

I've always been intrigued by certain structures/buildings being transformed into homes such as old school houses and barns especially. I love how this interior designer looked to it's past history and stories to build a look!

"Steven Gambrel, one of America's top-tier interior designers, recently had a chance to consider the question. Although he lives and often works in the most urbane precincts of Manhattan, Steven grew up in Virginia and still has ties there. When the owners of a Middleburg horse farm asked him to convert one of their barns into a place for large, casual parties and just hanging out and watching TV, he took it on with relish—his first barn, and on home turf."

"When Steven was delving through history for a decorating theme, he ignored the barn's most recent tenants—cows—and looked further back to the farm's equestrian past when Thoroughbreds and saddle horses were bred there. Middleburg remains an epicenter of foxhunting and a hub for all things equine. Tucked in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, it seems at times more English than England."

"As the decorating unfolded, the homeowners asked Steven to incorporate more than 250 photographs of jockeys and family members from the past three generations engaging in equestrian activities. "They're fabulous pictures, every single one," he says. He framed them all uniformly in distressed, rust-colored frames and hung them free-form on a wall that runs the entire length of the barn (about 80 feet).

Making a marvelous gallery out of old family pictures is exactly the way Steven's mind works, and it explains why his chic interiors are never vacuous. "There are elements that I use over and over, mostly things that have to do with comfort and proportion," he says. "But what's really important to me is a sense of place. You can pull spirit from a location, the time we live in, or the lifestyle of the people. That's what I do, and it's my signature.""

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