Kelly & Ashlea's Converted Barn

Kelly & Ashlea's Converted Barn

Janel Laban
Dec 18, 2009

Name: Kelly and Ashlea
Location: Ozark, Missouri
Size: 3000 square feet on 3 acres
Years lived in: Lived in 5, Owned for 8

Kelly and Ashlea have turned a horse barn into a home for their family. This top to bottom conversion is spacious, sunny, kid-friendly and makes a huge style statement. It's a modern version of the family farmhouse!

The look is weathered (purposefully) and it works. Distressed paint finishes, lots of metal accents and gorgeous old wood beams give the space a sense of history while the decorative accents such as the repurposed "station" sign and a massive gear lend a real flavor of the rural midwest. The playroom just might be our favorite part of the home - what a dream space for the kids to enjoy, with a massive opening to the great outdoors. From a baby grand to a goat named Spot, this is truly one unforgettable country house - enjoy the tour!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Barn style, or lack of a dominant style, allows for a lot of leeway in choosing our furnishings and decor. Due to the large spaces we realized that we needed furniture that would not get lost in space. Our family provided the nicest things, somewhat based on the fact that we were the ones with room for a baby grand piano or a nine foot armoire. We have tried to recycle or reuse anything we could. A large percentage of the building material were salvaged or used.

Inspiration: I always loved the idea of converting a barn into a living space. Uncles Ron and Kevin were big influences in showing me what could be done building and decorating without being hemmed in by convention. My father Danny kept his eyes open and found many of the things that are built into the barn. The cypress beam across the kitchen and the whole garage came from him. Ron was generous with items from his large stockpile of stuff at Ozone Acres farm such as windows in the glass wall of the office and a hinge here and there. Kevin spent lots of time and energy finding furnishings and telling us where to move them.

Favorite Element: Ashlea'a favorite element is her rebuilt Kitchenaide mixer (in Tiffany's Blue) and wood burning Jotul stove that she found at Buck Stove as a demonstrator.
Kelly likes the wide open living room and the playroom wall that opens to the outside.

Biggest Challenge: With the main footprint decided by the existing barn, adding the space we needed while retaining a look that was classic for the horse barns traditionally built in the area. We did not want to try to convert this barn in this area into one that would be better set in Pennsylvania or out west. We had to resist doing some things that we really loved but might not fit. Making a 20 year old barn look 80 years old. Another challenge was finding things made out of galvanized metal. Pipe and metal were easy but fixtures were tougher to find 6 years ago.

What Friends Say: It runs from "When are you going to finish the outside?" and "When you first told me what you were going to do, I said no way is this going to work." to "Can we move in?" and "Wow."

Biggest Embarrassment: Ashlea says the unfinished projects around the house drive her crazy and I rarely get embarrassed by anything so...

Proudest DIY: The entire project has been and still is DIY, so other than just building our own house, I would really have to say just making it our home. Having a house that would even be considered to be shown on a site like, which shows homes with such amazing creativity, is really beyond anything we thought would happen when we started. The concrete countertop was interesting and I have done several since then. Moving a four hundred pound countertop upstairs was not our best idea. It could not have worked without John Grier and Jason Strong.

Biggest Indulgence: Kelly: We went with expansion foam insulation which was pricey at the time. We knew it would pay off in savings.
Ashlea: The biggest expense and indulgence was on our kitchen cabinets. We realized that custom meant different things to us than to most cabinet makers. They thought it meant we got to choose from a few stock designs and we knew it meant we get what we want. The kitchen cabinets are from Texas pecan which was suggested by the maker, Jody Christy (an independent cabinet-maker out of Rogersville, MO) instead of hickory which was our first choice. With Kelly at 6' and Ashlea at 5' 9" we felt a slightly higher top at 38" would be healthier for our backs and we had them made 6" deeper than normal. So at 2' 6" deep we have lots of counter space even with appliances and junk.

Best advice: When researching the conversion one thing that kept coming up was radiant floor heating. With tall (10' 6'') ceilings and concrete floors, forced air was going to be expensive. I found a great radiant guy named Robert Hotrod Rohr (with Caleffi Solar) that had a barn conversion of his own and he was really great about advice and direction and getting us supplies. The radiant heat is great in the winter when a warm floor makes a huge difference.

Dream source: Kelly is a dumpster diver and a ReStore (Habitat for Humanity) junkie. We both love scrounging junk stores and antique malls. Kelly's family is in the salvage business locally and Cardin's insurance salvage in Springfield, MO, was a huge help.


Most are from Metro Builders Supply in Springfield, MO. Where we found the galvanized ceiling fans and later bought the stainless Amana refrigerator (Fridges do not come in galvanized. Go figure.) The Maytag glass-top stove and the Whirlpool dishwasher, also stainless, came from Metro. The Kenmore stainless microwave is from Sears; all the appliances were scratch and dent or closeout. Ashlea saved a lot by being patient and waiting for the right deal. The Kenmore washer-and-dryer are hand-me-downs from Ashlea's parents that Kelly keeps fixing, despite Ashlea wishing they would die a natural death so she could get an energy efficient front loader.
Robert Hotrod Rohr set up our polaris boiler and radiant floor heating system. The boiler is 98% efficient and heats both the floor and our domestic hot water supply. Last year we installed a hydraulic solar panel to heat our domestic hot water. Robert had salvaged the panels from Arkansas where they were being removed from public housing and helped us install the system, which eliminates the need for propane about 5-7 months of the year.

Mostly from Home Depot, except for the vessel-sink in the bathroom, which we had to find online. At the time there were not a lot of vessel sinks available at retail stores. All the trim in the house is the same barn wood that covers the outside, run through a planer for the bedrooms or lightly sanded for the kitchen and mudroom. The medicine cabinet in the downstairs bathroom is from the Colonial Hotel in downtown Springfield before it collapsed. The whole bathroom was designed around it.

Lots of antiques picked out by uncle Kevin. Several inherited/hand me downs from the family. Such as the piano, armoire and German side board under the stairs. Local antique shops provided the main entertainment center from an old shop bench. Couches upstairs from church garage sales and family with slip covers made to match. We had to start looking for big pieces that would fit the big rooms.

The galvanized fans started our using the metal as our side theme from room to room. Metal outlet covers and old pipe for stair railings. Kelly made the stools in the kitchen from pipe he collected and put together. He also poured the concrete countertop in the upstairs bathroom with broken blue glass in the mix.

Ceiling fans from Metro Building Supplies. Lamps are almost all from family or picked by Kevin. We need more lamps. Can-lights in the living room from Home Depot

Paint - Sherwin-Williams is the major supplier; the kitchen and mudroom are Swiss Mocha and Covington Blue (to match the mixer and McCoy pottery). Upstairs is Tealight green.

The main floor is cut and stained concrete. We did this ourselves using Increte concrete stain products. In the bed rooms we cut the designs with a concrete saw and applied the stain with sprayer, mop and paint brush to get different looks. The Bruce wood flooring at the base of the stairs and entry way is salvaged from friends Cary and Tracy's kitchen when they were replacing the floor. Kelly spent the evenings, many evenings, pulling nails.

Rugs and Carpets
Cardin's is where most of the carpet comes from. When the family sells carpet you can't go anywhere else. The rug in the living room is from Home Depot.

Tiles and Stone
All the tile is another Cardin's salvage store find. A random mix of 12x12 Avalon blue and Teton grey. The upstairs tub/shower is tiled in white subway tiles from Home Depot with a couple of highway reflectors that Kelly salvaged from working on a hot Texas highway 20 years ago.

Window Treatments
All curtains were produced by Ashlea and her Singer sewing machine, the bamboo blinds in the kitchen and mudroom are from Home Depot. When a family member works at Home Depot, you can't go anywhere else.

The kids twin bed is a set of bunk beds that Kelly used as a child as did his father and uncle Ron. Nursery furniture and the children's beds were handed down from Kelly's mother Carla.

We consider the wood beams art. They came from the Johnson-Scott barn in Willard MO. This was the first barn that Kelly helped tear down and provided the skeleton of the kitchen and the beginning of the outside barn siding.
The large gear over the mantle was made by Kelly right before the photo shoot when Kevin mentioned that we needed something big over the fireplace.
The Station sign was found at the city dump when a local fire station was torn down. The FIRE and NO. 8 are still in Kelly's shop minus the E in FIRE.
The rest is all pictures of the kids or family.
The wood walls in the main living room is the original wood taken from the walls when it was a horse barn, cleaned and stained with 1to1 water and cornstalk color paint.
The bricks around the woodstove were reclaimed from buildings in Springfield that had collapsed or burned down.
The stone over the mantle and under the stairs was left over from friend Billy Miller's house construction.
The roof is commercial grade 24 gauge metal with a 1" ½" dead airspace underneath.
The rock fence corner posts are all rocks that have come from the three acres. We do not expect to run out anytime soon.

(Thanks, Kelly and Ashlea!)

Images: Terry Pumphrey

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