Barn of Many Purposes

by Kacey Larsen

When MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers] was commissioned to design and build this particular project for a young Atlanta family, we knew we had delightful folks with whom to work, but we didn’t immediately grasp that the intersection of their imaginations and ours would be so rewarding and enchanting. It started with a binder they brought to share their vision for how they wanted to renovate and expand the home they purchased from the husband’s father; progressed to photos of a family vacation lodge in Michigan; and ended with sketches to show us how they thought it could all lay out on their large lot on a quiet street.

There are really two parts to this story, and we will focus here on part two. Part one was in itself a significant remodeling endeavor: new exterior facelift and front porch, new kitchen, and some interior refinements and upgrades to rescue the home from the 1970s. But part two was party time, figuratively and literally.

It turned out what the clients really wanted was to create (and in a poignant sense, recreate) that feeling of the family cabin and lodge from his childhood—to plan an extended family gathering place right at home. They imposed no artificial constraint requiring that the architecture of the new spaces repeat the more staid vernacular of the main home—a home they love—but rather to design an indoor/outdoor lodge-y family park that is just plain fun to look at and use. Our lead designer dialed into the clients’ vision and was off and running.

The new structure was soon tagged as “The Barn,” and it was to be a barn of many purposes. It is a garage for the “big truck” (picture hayrides at Halloween) and a roomy, open-raftered space that is also a workshop and party room (picture Sadie Hawkins dances). The floor is a polished stained concrete, the walls are horizontal spruce planks, and the ceiling is open trusses with all of the wood clear finished. There is natural light from the front bay and upper gable windows, augmented by cool period lighting fixtures throughout.

At the back of the garage/shop/dance hall, you slip into the rustic refined kitchen to the right or the cabin contemporary bathroom to the left. There are walls of reclaimed wood and wood plank ceramic tile; commercial-grade stainless plumbing fixtures; and a wide, full-glassed, pass-through window in the kitchen, hinged to open to the view of the pool.

Step outside and climb the ship’s ladder from the ipe side deck to the cozy, private loft above the kitchen and bath, finished in wood planking. A multihead, mini-split system and super insulated walls and ceiling make the loft, kitchen and bath four-seasons comfortable. These spaces definitely evolved through the design and even construction process from really casual, outdoorsy to a virtual guest suite.

Our architects and designers integrated the pool with the deck and patio, so you can slip into the pool and enjoy the surrounding landscaping and the sight of the new screened porch across the courtyard on the main house, which echoes The Barn with its angular clean lines and board-and-batten cladding with metal roofing.

As with many of our urban in-town projects, this one had its site challenges. Locating the driveway extension and ensuring the garage would work as close to the property line as possible allowed us to stretch the structure and pool across the lot, using every allowable square foot for the flow of the structure, landscaping and pool. The cross grade falling off to the pool side of the yard also demanded great care in transitioning from The Barn to the deck to the pool in a natural progression, without building significant retaining walls or creating drainage pockets.

Finally, our landscape architect and pool designer did an incredible job of tying everything together with beautiful plantings, stone coping and decking, boulder walls and stone steps, and a natural park behind The Barn. Time to fire up the grill and the music!


William Fadul is one of the principals at MOSAIC Group [Architects and Remodelers] and worked closely on this project with the clients and the design team of Chris Smith, Craig Whitehorne and Lee Woodall led by architect Rick Goldstein. Landscape Architect Eric King and pool contractor Danny Franke rounded out the effort. MOSAIC is an established architect-owned, design/build firm with a unique indoor/outdoor living integration serving the metro Atlanta area. Every project is a collaborative effort in which the client is a partner in the process.

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