This Frank Furness-Designed Barn Was Transformed Into a Marvelous Modern Farmhouse
Inside the historical renovation — one full of surprises — of a 19th-century Main Line barn.
It started as a straightforward job: In late 2018, designer Lisa Furey was tasked with remodeling the kitchen in a Haverford home that a client had recently purchased for his newly blended family. She was also doing some sprucing-up in the rest of its 8,000 square feet — removing faux French château touches, painting, bringing in new furniture — but every small project unearthed structural issues (and termites!). In the end, Furey, along with Spire Builders, wound up doing a whole rehab that was finished just last year. “We would fix one thing and the next thing would break,” Furey says. “We were working on the fly.”
Despite all the challenges, Furey never lost sight of the fact that this home came with a pedigree: It’s a barn originally designed in the 19th century by famed Philadelphia architect Frank Furness that, at some point, was converted to a home. “My goal was to strip everything back to a more honest farmhouse and industrial aesthetic,” she says.
“We basically built a new house in the shell of a Frank Furness barn. My goal was to keep everything straightforward and simple.” — Lisa Furey, designer
The brick in the kitchen is real, although not original. (Furey kept it because it worked with her vision.) The limestone backsplash from Devon Tile has a pattern that recalls a quilt. The custom range hood was made by Raw Urth Designs in Colorado. The bottom of the island is purposefully distressed wood, while the concrete-like Caesarstone top has some texture to it. “Nothing was meant to look precious,” says Furey.
Furey tapped Chris Zumpano of CZ Woodworking to help design and fabricate the bookshelves and reclaimed ceiling beams. (Iron strapping hides where the beams meet.) The flush-mount ceiling lights are from Urban Electric out of Charleston. Furey had the walls constructed of plaster to add warmth and authenticity.
The porch roof was there, and the stone wall is original to the barn, but Furey added reclaimed posts, lanterns and ceiling fans. Out back is a saltwater pool.
Published as “The Rest Is History” in the April 2021 issue of Philadelphia magazine.