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Historically Inspired Barn Features Office Space with Old World Charm
Chester , NJ-- Bart Signorelli, property developer and owner of “The Barn On Main” office building in Chester, NJ, beams over his new office building like a proud father. Much of his pride in this historically inspired structure is based on its historic character, accents and the fact that he used almost all low-maintenance and sustainable materials. Chester’s history dates back to 1799, when the surrounding farmlands and iron mines created a thriving industrial center in the borough. Farmhouses and barns dotted the countryside and many still exist today. The re-created Barn is located on Main St, which could serve as the poster for Main Street USA—lined with more than 80 historic eating establishments such as the Public House restaurant, which once served as the old stage coach stop, and quaint gift, antique and collectible shops.
As the General Contractor for the project and a concerned citizen who loves the history of Chester, Signorelli was very sensitive to the authentic look of the barn with meticulous attention to detail—from the low-maintenance exterior to the well-appointed restrooms. Although he specified engineered or alternative materials for the barn, they have the look of rustic wood, stone and metals, both inside and out. And the sustainability and longevity of these materials, combined with Signorelli’s historic design vision won over the town’s historic committee. “They loved the barn’s charming façade and how it blends into the area,” he said. “Although I may have spent a bit more upfront for alternative materials, once installed, I will not have to worry about long-term maintenance and frequent replacement.”
When stepping into the high-ceiling post and beam foyer, with stone veneer accents, the feeling of an open barn is evident. Inside, the office layout of first-floor tenant Personal CFO Solutions is also open above the six foot dividers topped with intricate mouldings, while the flooring and tiles are actually laminates that look like aged wood. The farmhouse-style restroom doors from Masonite provide a clean, white look. Inside the restrooms, Scranton Products’ HDPE partitions in Hammered Bronze strongly resemble elegant metals, with the company’s Stealth integral architectural hinge providing subtle design aesthetics that also allow the doors to swing out properly.
“The choice of textures and colors by Scranton Products is unmatched,” said Signorelli, “you can achieve just about any design look or theme you can dream up.” He said no one would ever guess they are made of HDPE, which resists rusts, dents and scratches and are easy to clean. Four-inch lighting and historically shaped, high windows let light into the ladies room, which also feature Cambria quartz sink counter tops to add to the ambience.
All of these design elements are topped off by a state-of-the-art kitchen, with rich dark wood cabinets. Signorelli said that the office employees have commented on how much more productive they are in this homey, clean setting. “I always want to create a nice atmosphere that reflects this town and who we are,” he said. He shares office space across the parking lot from the Barn on Main, with Chester Family Dental, a practice owned by his wife, Dr. Antonia Gut. After renovating the Family Dental building, the barn’s lot remained empty for a number of years. He had the barn’s outer shell designed and built in 2011 and finished the interior according to his tenant’s needs in February 2013.
When designing the exterior, Signorelli collaborated with Heyrich Architects of Chester, with the shared vision of creating the ultimate workspace in a bucolic setting.
On the exterior, HardiePlank fiber cement siding in a deep red color is a man-made material with the appearance of wooden clapboard. It is complemented by AZEK Trim and Cornerboards, a cellular pvc material, in a rustic texture and AZEK Beadboard on the soffits and entryway ceiling to create a historic wainscot look. Although you don’t have to paint the material, paint adheres much better and lasts longer over the years.
“We helped Bart achieve his historic design goals on an existing footprint and tall lobby,” said John Heyrich, AIA. Heyrich said every building owner is looking for the lowest maintenance possible, but Signorelli was able to achieve this while pleasing the town’s historic community. “When you stand back from the building, you can’t tell that it’s not authentic wood trim and clapboard,” he said. “And the paint cycles far outlast wood.”
The Barn on Main reflects meticulous historic detail using modern materials – from the old world craftsmanship of the restrooms, to the frontier texture of barn’s cellular pvc. And, Signorelli said that now that it’s done, he won’t have to worry about maintaining the building...he just gets to look at it through his office window.
More From 2/27/2014 on FacilitiesNet