Why did Hollister House Garden preserve this old barn?
Photo by George Schoellkopf
A barn sits majestically on the north side of Hollister House, an 18th-century farmhouse in Washington, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This old, post-and-beam barn was recently renovated and given new life. “It’s a spectacular image against the backdrop of Hollister House Garden, a distinctly American interpretation of an English garden built around the circa 1770 house for which it is named,” says George Schoellkopf, president of Hollister House Garden, Inc., a non-profit dedicated to the property’s preservation.
Part of an original ensemble of agricultural outbuildings built at the same time as Hollister House, the barn was in desperate need of care. He adds: “At the same time, we needed a space for educational and social events.”
Schoellkopf called upon Washington builder Ken Carlson for this adaptive reuse project. “I’m always interested in preserving the past. It’s nice to be able to do something that’s there after you,” says Carlson. “It’s the same, except for the hundreds of bats that used to live in the building. We made the envelope so tight that they couldn’t get back in. They eat a lot of insects. This helps the garden, so we want them to return, but to bat houses instead.”
One of two 19th-century additions to the barn is now home to two bathrooms, a garden library, kitchen prep area, and storeroom. “We were donated a garden library a few years back and it’s wonderful to finally have a cozy space where members can come, pick out a book, and sit and read comfortably on site,” Schoellkopf says.