We’ve reached the stage with the Scandi Barn build out at the beach house when big design decisions need to be made, despite the fact there’s not even a hint of dry wall in sight. I remember from the renovation of the original house that this stage can feel overwhelming and stressful: trying to decide on flooring, lighting, countertops, decorative finishes etc. when the spaces aren’t even fully framed out is a daunting process! It requires a lot of visualization and a dampening of that voice in your head that second guesses your decisions. Using digital renders helps me to visualize my ideas and play around with different materials, colors and finishes. Right now, I’m still deciding on things like flooring but I’m all set and ready to go on lighting and switches (sharing more on my fav light switches ever, Caséta by Lutron , below — honestly, we have these in our new apartment in NYC and they are total game-changers!).
Adding character to the build
One of my main aims with the Scandi Barn addition is to make sure we avoid the build looking like a white box devoid of any personality. To mitigate this, I’m turning to raw and natural materials to invite texture and warmth into the space. I’m at a crossroads right now as I’m looking to meld two aesthetics that I’m drawn to for this space: rustic and warm; modern and Scandinavian . As I mentioned I’m keen to make sure the space doesn’t feel sterile or clinical, which makes me nervous to go too modern, and on the flip side I don’t want to add so much wood and texture that it becomes like a rustic cabin. While I like both looks, they aren’t right in their purest forms for this home and the beachy location. Rather, I’m looking to create that sweet spot that marries both those simple, elegant Scandinavian lines and details with the warmth and texture of a more rustic, older building.
Originally, I had planned for the beams in the space to be hung low “on the plate”, which is the point where the ceiling meets the walls. After trying this out with our helpful team of contractors holding a fake piece of 2×6 cedar in place, I felt that the beams were too low and took away from the feeling of openness and airiness. Instead, I’ve decided to hang them higher into the eaves at around 11ft up so that they look like trusses more than beams/collar ties for the building. I think this is really going to help maintain that feeling of openness while still adding character, texture and warmth, especially as I’ve chosen a beautiful Douglas Fir for the trusses. I’m planning on liming and wire brushing the trusses to give them a paler and more worn appearance.
Flooring — Concrete
When I entered into this build I’d planned to do a concrete floor because I wanted to bring that texture into the space. However, I’ve decided to forgo that idea for two reasons. Firstly, a seamless concrete floor would be insanely heavy and because of the extreme winter and summer temperatures on the east coast the concrete would expand and contract causing cracking. I could have assuaged that that by using concrete tiles but I didn’t want to visually disrupt the space with lots of joins and lines. Plus, either option would have been expensive to heat in the winter.
Flooring – Wood
With a concrete floor out of the picture I turned to wood flooring options instead. I’ve been looking at samples across the spectrum of the two aesthetics I mentioned earlier, rustic and Modern Scandinavian. The reclaimed wood floor samples you can see here, although beautiful, are definitely too rustic for this project. The wide plank limed Douglas Fir are certainly closer to what I’m looking for but I’m still not 100% set on my decision. I’m keen to look at some white oak options first, as well as make some more renders to help me decide on blank width, direction and finish. The hunt and planning continue but I definitely need to make my decision soon as the project is now progressing at pace!
Thankfully, I’m feeling confident enough to make a decision on the light switches without any concern or second guessing. This is a huge help and relief during a construction project like this because it frees up mental space to invest time thinking about the myriad of other decisions that need to be made! This is all thanks to the Caséta by Lutron wireless lighting system. When my heartmate and I moved into our new apartment in NYC we swapped all my light switches to Caséta, and they have been a game-changer. Not only are they super easy to install and use (literally there’s an on/off button and a favorite button in the middle that lets you set a favorite light level you like to use every day), but they are also really smart. Installing a Caséta switch instantly turns most bulbs into smart bulbs. This allows you to dim the bulbs as well as control them wirelessly from an app on your phone, and you can even use the ‘smart away’ system, which is perfect for making it look like your home is occupied even when it’s empty. This is going to be ideal for helping with security at the Scandi Barn because it’s a second home.
// Posted in partnership with Lutron; all views my own.