A Singer/Songwriter’s Dreamy Converted Barn Home on a Working Farm
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Name: Gregory Alan Isakov
Location: Boulder County, Colorado
Size: 2,250 square feet
Years lived in: 5 years, owned
On three and a half acres just outside of Boulder, Colorado sits a working farm where vegetables grow on their vines, flowers sway gently in the breeze, and sheep graze. And, depending on the day, music may float along the wind. Singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov’s music career has taken off in recent years—his latest record Evening Machines has gotten attention from publications like Rolling Stone and Paste—but his home and his recording studio remain on this small but beautiful farm. In fact, he schedules his tours around the seasons of his farm work, not the other way around.
“I live in a renovated barn on a three and a half acre farm here in Boulder County, Colorado,” writes Isakov. “The whole structure is 25 feet wide by 90 feet long with an attached stable area for our sheep on the east side. When I moved here, it was one long building with concrete floors and exposed ceilings and walls and over the past few years I’ve sectioned it off into four spaces. My house is a 450-square-foot studio apartment with windows that face south, west, and east. Easy to check on the gardens and the sheep. Next to that we have a communal shop space, laundry area, and workshop that shares a wall with another studio space, which doubles as a guest room that I use for drying and cleaning produce. The rest of the remaining barn space is an 800-square-foot recording studio/rehearsal space, which we built additional interior walls and windows for soundproofing.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Inspiration: I once saw an old documentary about Leonard Cohen. He was living in Montreal in a very sparse apartment, with white walls, a table he was typing at, and a bed. I was instantly attracted to that space because it felt like a truly creative environment. A blank slate so to speak. A lot of my design inspiration came from that.
Favorite Element: I love the farm table I built from some used material. It’s eight feet long, which is perfect for sorting produce, writing, eating, and having events. I pieced a lot of the doors, sinks and lumber I used to make the cabinets and tables from a local junkyard around the corner and I love a lot of the pieces we found. A giant four-foot solid door that still had the rails, I built a pocket entry for it into the shop. All the wall and floor trim is one-inch rough cedar, of which the excess was repurposed all around the farm. I kept the white walls the same white color through the different spaces so I wasn’t storing a lot of different color paints.
If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I would have the barn run east-west instead of north-south, to accommodate more southern exposure, an attached greenhouse, or a nursery to start plants earlier.
Is there anything that embarrasses you about your home? We have a sign on the back door of the guest room that says “If you like the smell of sheep poop, leave door open.” The sheep manure does get a little intense during the winters.
Proudest DIY: A lot of the building was done by myself and a couple of friends. We hired out the plumbing and electric, which I’m very glad we did.
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