East Cascades: A century-old barn retrofitted into a city escape
written by Melissa Dalton | photos by Tim Bies
About a decade ago, a Seattle couple fell in love with a dilapidated barn on a few hundred acres in the eastern foothills of the Cascade Mountains and decided to transform it into their city escape. Upon seeing the barn, Matt King of the Mercer Island-based King Construction knew he was looking at a challenge. “ the structure was over a hundred years old and looked like it would blow over in a windstorm,” he said. The building’s age was both a burden and a blessing. Having sat unused for more than thirty years, the barn was uninhabitable as it stood, but that vintage personality was just what the new owners sought to preserve. “It was interesting because it was in such a state of disrepair, but the owners were so excited about turning it into a house,” King said. The question became, how to retain the building’s appeal and make it structurally sound and livable? King joined up with MW Works Architecture and Nelleen Berlin Interior Design to discover the answers.
Reuse became a key component to the project, starting with the exterior shell. All of the framing material—including the siding, studs, floorboards and joists—was stripped o and saved, leaving the roof and some of the skeleton intact. en the team installed a new foundation, framework, insulation and drywall. e salvaged wood was then reapplied to the interior walls, “so when you’re inside the space, everything you see is authentic,” King said.
That recycling ethos continues throughout the interior’s design. “Basically, the story behind it was, ‘What if a farmer came across this barn and wanted to turn it into a house?’” King said. “How would he go about doing that? By using raw, natural materials that were laying around the farm.” To that end, a cattle-milking