Interior Inspiration: Emma Burns’ Barn Conversion

As an avid reader, I’m always drawn to spaces that incorporate books as part of the home, especially when it is clear that they are not on display just for show, but because books are so essential to everyday life that there is no way to keep them from dominating a space. Between my husband and myself, I think we have enough books to fill up a small house–and this is after I donated many of them prior to my D.C. to New York move! Anyway, I am always looking for creative storage spaces to not only store our books, but have them be a part of our lives. As soon as I saw these pictures of Emma Burns’ barn conversion, I fell in love.

I can’t remember how I initially stumbled across these photographs and the accompanying House & Garden article, but I do remember bookmarking it and immediately dreaming of a future home where this sort of space could be a reality. Emma has excellent taste–she is the senior decorator at my longtime favorite Colefax & Fowler. I love how she incorporates both old and new finds, as well as many surprises–particularly the doors hidden by bookcases.

When I was growing up, I spent a few weeks one summer at a friend’s family’s house on Mount Desert Island. The trip was wonderful, but one of the things that has stayed in my mind for years is the secret passageway between our room and another. (That, and reading Harry Potter for the first time!) While that secret passageway wasn’t disguised by a bookcase, I love how these hidden spaces are used here to accommodate both a large library and to provide guests with a lovely surprise. The entire space is just perfect, and I would love to incorporate something similar in our future home.

More photos of Emma Burns’ barn conversion can be found on the House & Garden website.

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