“It was a derelict, a wonderful wreck — and a project worth working on.”
That was John Root’s first reaction to the Bucks County barn, built in 1822, that he and his wife, actress Margaret Mullen, chanced on and purchased in 1963.
The metamorphosis of a rustic old barn into a comfortable, convenient, contemporary home, was accomplished in one busy year.
Modern 60s farmhouse decor
Time, fire, and disuse had not destroyed its fieldstone walls, so a stalwart shell remained to get remodeling off to a good start.
As an architectural designer, John Root brought not only enthusiasm but skill to the undertaking. His experience included creating sets for many Broadway plays, among them, coincidentally, George Washington Slept Here, which involved a Bucks County stone house.
In designing the living room for the home, Root used the full height of the original two-story building to a dramatic advantage.
To make the roof-high new fieldstone fireplace look as if it had always been there, it was constructed of the same type of stone to match the tall old walls.
The two-story rise of the room also gained some visual height by the striped slant of the peaked ceiling, and the clever placement of special lights — a good staging device.
A harmonious replacement for the old flooring was also found: warm-toned brick red handmade hexagonal tiles.