Mother Earth Living


Barn Raising: A Maryland Woman Converts the Family Barn into an Eco-Friendly House

Through innovative remodeling and green design, a barn's architecture is preserved in this home.



A nature lover all her life, Cassandra Naylor has worked diligently to make her home light on the land and a positive contribution to the environment.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
Cassandra built a berm planted with trees to give her privacy from the residential development just on the other side of the property line. She is landscaping her property with native plants—particularly ones with little need for water—and is taking on pasture restoration.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
Adjacent to the kitchen, the former milking room provides a small area for sitting and enjoying a fire in the Runford fireplace.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
The barn’s exterior, which had been covered by layers of lead paint, was encased in a membrane and covered with cementitious siding. Cassandra salvaged many of the windows that are now in her barn.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
Cassandra values items such as the dishes in her kitchen cabinets for their utility. While they are beautiful to look at, their importance lies in how she can use them.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
Cassandra calls this room, located in the central area on the main floor, the “great room.” Most of the furniture in her home has been in her family for decades or even generations
Photo By Laurie Dickson
Cassandra’s cozy sitting area opens off her bedroom, which was originally the barn’s tack room.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
This bathtub is wood lined with copper. The hooks above the tub are old horseshoes.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
One important sustainable adaptation of this barn is the bathroom, where special features exemplify Cassandra’s desire to save water. With low-flow fixtures and a waterless composting toilet, she uses only about twenty-four gallons of water per day for all her household needs.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
Like the rest of Cassandra’s home, her dining room typifies sophistication—and yet retains utility and practicality.
Photo By Laurie Dickson
The barn’s stalls were turned into two spare bedrooms with sliding stall doors. Here Cassandra can sit and spin on her Dutch-made Louet spinning wheel.
Photo By Laurie Dickson





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