This may be the dreamiest place I have seen in quite a bit.
A few of us in this house would love to live in a barn!
Decorating Barn Apartments via House Beautiful
Christine Pittel: I understand loving horses, but wanting to live under the same roof as them? Whose idea was that?
Amanda Lindroth: Pippa’s. Pippa Vlasov is 100 percent English, but she’s also an island girl. She grew up in the Bahamas, where her father was the governor’s aide-de-camp, and she’s crazy about animals.
Pippa Vlasov: I’ve raised ducklings in the bathtub and geese in the kitchen, and right now I have one particular rooster who invites himself to my dinner parties and likes to go to sleep on the table I’ve just set. They’re all such amazing characters, but my horses are the most gentle, sweet, lovely, kissable creatures! The name of the breed is Gypsy Vanner, because they were traditionally used by the Gypsies to pull their caravans. They’re so docile that a child could roll all over them and they would stand perfectly still.
So what’s it like to live in a stable?
PV: I should explain that we don’t actually live here — although that would be my dream. My husband is all about boats, and we have a house on the water, but this is my place, where I’ll go to have a cup of tea and do my work. The idea of making these two little apartments at either end of the barn kind of grew as we went along, until I said to Amanda, ‘I’ve got this really peculiar space, and I need your help.’
The exterior is a bit of a surprise. Who chose the green paint?
PV: I did, to blend in with the vegetation. Now the building nestles right into the bush.
AL: Pippa has a bohemian spirit, and she did not want this to get too high English. When we were doing the awning, I picked a green and white stripe but she changed it to green and brown. She thought the other looked too much like a country club.
Each apartment has its own color scheme. How did you come up with brown and pink?
AL: Well, the sofa had to be durable enough for children and guests, so brown seemed obvious. And then pink always looks so pretty with brown, which is why I added the tufted pink chairs. I’m not a big fan of open kitchens, so I ignored it as much as possible and pushed the sofa right up against the counter. I don’t encourage eating at a coun-ter. I’d rather people sit around the coffee table. But frankly, most of the eating is done outside.
Those bird prints certainly suit the animal theme.
AL: The Catesby birds were a real score. They’re hard to find. Mark Catesby was an English naturalist who traveled to Jamaica in 1714 and painted the local flora and fauna, years before Audubon. The originals are in Windsor Castle with the queen.
That’s a very fanciful bed upstairs, for a barn.
AL: The ceiling was so high that I had to do something to soak up the volume, and a canopy bed seemed like the right idea. It’s dressed with printed sheers by John Robshaw that felt very Pippa to me. We just twisted the fabric around the four posters and let it drop to the floor.
That casualness is what gives it its charm — along with the pink trim.
AL: Yes, you see the same pink and brown up here. I’m jealous of people like Miles Redd, who can go from a red room to a lime green room to a navy blue room. I tend to carry on with the same palette. It feels more comfortable to me.
In the other apartment, you took one blue-and-white stripe fabric and used it everywhere — even on the bedroom walls and ceiling!
AL: That was inspired by a famous tented room at the Charlottenhof Palace in Germany. I found a similar blue-and-white stripe, and they had 500 yards in stock. So I bought it all and went to town. Then I finished it off with bright red twine to line the edges of the room, and red piping on the upholstery.
What is that extraordinary light fixture in there?
AL: It’s an old drum that someone made into this crazy chandelier. I found it on 1stdibs. I’m a great customer of theirs. I do a lot of shopping on the computer these days, because it gives me access to things I can’t find on the island. I think every house needs a few good antiques, like that grandfather clock — it’s an old family piece. And then I’ll fill in the rest with more affordable basics. You can get wonderful things at Pottery Barn. But you don’t want to do a whole house in Pottery Barn, or in fine antiques either. The secret is a mix of high and low, which gives you that accumulated look I love.
That porch looks like the perfect place for a party.
PV: On my husband’s birthday, I had 120 people seated at one long, candlelit table under the eaves. We threw the horses out into the field and had a DJ in one stall and lined the floor of the barn with straw matting. Everyone danced till the wee hours of the morning.
What’s the verdict from guests, after they’ve slept in the barn?
PV: Well, the first night can be a little rough. The roosters crow and you might be startled by a horse poking his nose through the window above the loo. But by the end of their stay, most people absolutely love it. I like to think I’m breaking down the barriers between animals and people!
Can I ask a question…Why am I headed to Vermont to ski when I could be headed to the Bahamas?
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