Projects / New Homes      Falmouth, Maine

Barn Door’s Open


Since this home was constructed in 2004, it’s been featured in more than a dozen publications, articles, and television pieces. You’d never guess that the design brief emphasized maximum affordability and practicality, but that’s exactly why we love Barn Door’s Open so much.

The goal was to design a house for a growing family that gave them plenty of space with lots of contemporary architectural character, plus smart, economical, and environmentally friendly solutions for heating and cooling.

The family wanted to emulate the feel of an old rural board-and-batten barn that looked like it had always been there. They also wanted it to look recently renovated, with large glass windows and modern amenities. The owners had salvaged some of the remaining timbers of a vintage 1700s barn for reuse, and one of the owners acted as general contractor.


The design took advantage of every opportunity to create volume and space. There are four levels in all, including a walkout basement and a finished loft overlooking the main living area. The original beams and columns have been exposed, revealing the working structure of the new living barn.

The final cost per square foot came in under $100, thanks in part to design and construction decisions that maximized resources.

A substantial sliding door gives the space the dramatic feel of the sun entering the shrunken boards of an old barn. Steel cables and oversized double hung windows, and few dramatic structural moves like cantilevers and suspended overhangs, give it a distinctly contemporary flair.

Passive solar techniques and the rolling barn door allow them to modulate the space to match the season. As a final bonus, the screened-in porch the owners dreamed of was built with stock screen doors from Home Depot, bringing the cost to a quarter of what a custom-built porch would have cost.


  • Year Completed

  • Cost

  • Beds

  • Baths

  • Partners

    Phil Kaplan, General Contractor
    Wes Myer Construction

Sustainability Achievements


  • Walkable location
  • Near public transportation
  • Sustainable landscape
  • Edible landscape
  • Native plantings
  • Bike racks onsite
  • Reused materials from the site
  • Ecological Stormwater Management


  • Uses recycled or reclaimed materials
  • Uses locally-sourced materials
  • Low global warming potential insulation


  • Optimized for daylighting
  • Visual connection to the outdoors
  • Low-VOC finishes


  • Low-flow fixtures


  • Uses passive design strategies
  • Has an integrated energy monitoring system