the barn mud room details

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As I mentioned in the previous post about the making of the barn mud room,  the term "mud room" turned out to be a bit of a misnomer since we don't actually use the space as a true mud room.  Early on we anointed the area the "mud room," and being creatures of habit the name remained .   It is actually used as a pass through room as we go from the house to the garage below-  one that bids us adieu as we leave and then welcomes us when we return.   Even during the renovation I didn't imagine the joy this little space would bring to the house, and to us each time we pass through it. 

The view from the barn room into the mud room. 
The antique iron gates are from Argentina.  We purchased the gates several months after we bought the farmhouse with this placement in mind.  As with several other pieces that I placed in the barn  (i.e. the original barn door, the worktable base, the door to the barn half bath) I had great intentions of touching up paint finishes/repainting all together/waxing/oiling/etc., but once they were brought into the room not a single piece was touched  (okay, they were vacuumed and/or wiped down ;)-  they proved to be "perfect" in their various states of authentic age and decline.   The lesson there is to always try a piece in a room before you manipulate it in any way- including just waxing.  Let the piece and the room speak to you as to the direction to go.

Collection of antique and vintage milagros from Mexico.  I've had this collection for probably 12 years (I purchased the collection as a whole), but have never displayed them not having the right spot.  There was something about this antique beam that seemed to call their name.  When you are in the barn room you really don't notice them until they briefly catch your eye as you walk through the doorway.

This window placement was original to the barn though the window itself has been replaced with a new energy efficient window.

Antique corner spool chair holds the chairdelier  (Dan coined the name:)

View from the stairwell. 

The chairdelier... 
The room is inherently cozy and dark, so I knew that besides the small lamps in the hutch and the spotlights on the wall I needed some extra lighting- not a lot, but just enough as you pass through to illuminate this small window space.  I first contemplated a small table to hold a lamp, but that felt too "expected," and I wanted something different.  I had purchased the old iron chandelier at White Elephant in Dallas many, many years ago with the idea to hang it from one of our large pecan trees in our Dallas back yard...  that never happened.  I brought the chandelier with us when we moved, never really thinking I would ever use it, but I didn't want to part with it either.   One night as I walked through the mud room the idea of using the iron chandelier as a "lamp" hit me.  It proved to be the perfect solution for lighting this area!    
Since the chairdelier would be viewed most often by looking down on it I didn't want the usual wide candle sleeve openings, so I looked no further than to a favorite source,  Lumiere Candles, for  the perfect candle sleeve.  (I'll do a post on the making of the chairdelier next.)  I had initially thought a worn, chippy unusable antique gilt chair would work for the space, but I always believe in being "open to the universe" and keeping an open mind to what presents itself in your path.  So, when this chair presented itself to me several weeks later I knew it could hold its own in the "unique" department with the chairdelier!

Antique wood corbel.  I love the faint whisper of paint and gilt.

View looking into the mud room from the loft stairs.

From the onset of Phase II (the barn renovation) I thought long and hard about what to use as the railing for the stairwell.  I knew I didn't want anything that felt like the house- in other words, no traditional wood balusters.  It also had to be transparent as the stairwell needed the natural light, and I wanted the railing to have a barn "feel."  My first choice at the beginning of Phase II was to use real branches in the railing-  I had an inspiration photo torn from a magazine in my files from several years prior and it wasn't until I purchased Suzanne Kasler's book "Inspired Interiors" that I realized that this was her design (if you have the book, page 192.)  My very talented lead carpenter assured me he could build it, but I was sure that I couldn't afford the cost of his time that he would have to put in to it!  I decided I needed to find another option.
  I then thought of using a cable railing,  but the systems our contractor found were super expensive.  I next thought about using a metal grid pattern, but again everything the contractor found for sanctioned "railing" was expensive.   It was about this time (and in the final hour) that I remembered some metal wire fencing panels I had seen at one of my favorite stores.... Tractor Supply!  ( I love going to Tractor Supply as there is so much there that you can use in other applications-  oh, and they have some great spray paint colors that you don't see elsewhere.)   Since this wire mesh really is for livestock it felt authentic and perfect for this space and application, and it was CHEAP!!!
 Since we were renovating through the winter (again;) our contractor had stored all of the extra lumber/beams taken from the barn at a location about 20 miles away.  Dan and I went to the building where it was all being housed and found that we had just enough original beams to cut and use as posts for the corners.  The bottom boards that the wire mesh sits in (via a canal) is also original to the barn, though the top chamfered painted handrail is new wood  

Closeup of the top of the post.  I designed the chamfered top and the thin pinstripe to be cut into the posts to give them some detailed interest and elevate them a bit from their origins.   I had my painter use the same dark gray paint as the rail top, but without a primer and with only one coat of paint.  I want to see the natural wear on the tops as your hand holds onto the wood as you go up and down the stairs.  I suppose I could have sanded the tops to look worn and aged, but I think there is something very appealing about seeing the natural wear and tear that will come with time.  The huge "checking" (the large cracks) in the corner posts happened after they were installed, but is a very authentic feature to old wood.   A "Check" is a long crack that appears as the sap wood of a timber shrinks around the heart wood over time.  Checking is not a structural problem, and usually occurs only on one or two sides of a beam. 

The proof that this railing project turned out really well was when Dan asked me after several months of living with the completed room if I still wished I had the "branch" railing I had first wanted.  My response was a quick "No!!"  I had come to realize how perfect this material was in its simplicity, its "barn-ness", the contrast of metal to all of the wood, the color and sheen of the metal (not too shiny), how the squares mimic the three square stall windows, that I got to use barn beams as posts...   I wouldn't change a thing!
Brindle cowhide rug from Ikea.

Modern painting, entitled Koi, provides a splash of color in contrast to all of the wood in the room.   Spotlights are from Affordable Quality Lighting  (fyi- I've read some less than favorable reviews of this company, but I had a very good experience with them, and this was even after having a problem with one of the lights.  I thought they had great customer service and I give them a thumbs up.  They have great prices.)  Antique kilim rug on the landing (anchored with a thick rug-pad so it doesn't budge;) repeats many of the same colors in the painting. 

The stairwell coming up from the garage.  Rough-cut pine boards stained to look aged,  hung horizontally are a contrast to the wall boards which are hung vertically in the barn room.  (Stain formula on my sidebar.)

Original iron bars on the windows.  We brought the old horseshoe over the center window with us from Texas.  One can never have too much good luck!

Antique white zinc roof finial from small Texas town sits at the top of the stairs.

Door on the left (from the original barn) goes into the storage room (a.k.a. the "treasure" room- there's a story to that.)  The turn-of-the-century European hutch was found in Forney, Texas some 20 years ago.  When we found it it was sitting behind the counter of a very sad antique/junk/convenience store and was filled with Bubba-type baseball hats.  It wasn't even for sale, but we said we were interested in buying it and asked for a price.... it was very happy to come home with us, but we left the Bubba hats behind!  I have always loved the hand forged iron door panels.  Our lead carpenter made it his mission to make sure that I could fit this piece where it stands today.  He did good- there is maybe an inch to spare!

Stairs up to the loft. 

Tethering ring on post found in the original barn is now used as structural support in the room.

The antique painting and frame was a gift from a very dear friend.  Antique Chinese export celadon plate sits on an antique English inlaid-wood tea caddy.  I'm sorry, but I don't remember where I found the green bottle.

Several people have asked me where I placed  the painting that I found on etsy by Jennifer Shears entitled Evening Glow. I placed it here!  It proved to be too bold in color for the farmhouse, but found its home here in the mud room.  I think it was a perfect fit!  Small antique iron black lamp with pull-chain.

I left antique hand-cut nails where I found them in the ceiling... remnants of the past.