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At a Lake Winnipesaukee getaway, a ‘barn’ designed for fun

Adding a dedicated space for recreation at a family vacation home in New Hampshire.

The barn-like, timber-framed structure is both rec room and guesthouse, with a kitchenette and an upstairs bedroom.michael J. lee

Family time is a priority for Amy and Jeff Glass. The couple and their three kids, who live in Brookline, enjoy jaunts to their home on Lake Winnipesaukee. As the kids moved into their teenage years, Amy and Jeff knew it would be important to make together time easy and appealing. Enter the game barn. “We imagined a place complementary to daytime lake activities that would create more opportunities for family connections,” says Amy Glass.

Working within the footprint of the existing detached garage, architect Colin McGovern of Charles R. Myer & Partners in Cambridge designed a barn-like timber-framed structure. Clad in cedar shingles with pale-green trim, it’s both rec room and guesthouse, with a kitchenette and an upstairs bedroom. Windows on either side of a long, flat cap on the roof admit abundant sunlight. McGovern says, “Getting light down into the big space drove the design.”


McGovern kept the materials palette spare, so in the daytime, the interior glows. Whitewashed Douglas fir posts and beams provide subtle outlines against creamy walls that complement the reclaimed antique heart-pine floor. Interior doors and a handrail are made from Douglas fir with a natural finish. “These moments offset all the whiteness,” says McGovern.

So do the furnishings. Somerville-based interior designer Kate Maloney Albiani and her colleague Thiara Borges took their cues from the architecture. “We wanted the design to set the tone of fun and lift your spirits,” Glass says.

The color scheme is light and bright, saturated enough to feel at home in the New Hampshire woods yet soothing against the neutral background. The raspberry, teal, and yellow sofa upholstery was the starting point. “The sofa has very concentrated color,” Maloney Albiani says. “We moved outward from there.”

The designers used color deliberately, in blocks and shapes, and carefully considered the feel of the textiles. Borges says, “From far away, the sofa looks very modern, but as you get closer, you see that the textures are dense and cozy.”


The main attraction downstairs is Ping-Pong. As the centerpiece of the space, the table had to suit the modern barn aesthetic. Made of oak with a painted black top, the piece from Eleven Ravens in Los Angeles was customized with painted turquoise accents. In the alcove behind it, Maloney Albiani and Borges added a padded ledge where players can perch while waiting their turn. “The dark raspberry cushion is very important,” Borges says. “The color leads the eye around this side of the room.”

The kitchenette is another lively space. Erik Rueda Design Lab in Chelsea made the lacquered watermelon-colored bar top, and the design team commissioned paintings by Los Angeles pop artist Mark Andrew Allen through Jules Place of Boston. “This was an art moment that needed to be absolutely right,” says Maloney Albiani. The pieces reference meaningful aspects of life on the lake, including the Glasses’ boat Raise a Glass, fireworks, sunsets, and, of course, games.

Amy and Jeff Glass, eldest child Lindsey, and her best friend, Katherine Cook (in pink), hang out on the custom sofa designed by Kate Maloney Albiani’s firm, KMID, and made by Partners in Design of Newton.michael J. lee

Upstairs, the loft boasts a vintage

Addams Family pinball machine, bubble hockey, and a virtual reality gaming station. A pedestal table with a cranberry-colored metal base and concrete top, surrounded by Artifort chairs, is meant for board games and puzzles. “With everything going on up here, we kept the furniture very modern and linear,” Maloney Albiani says. The sorbet-hued contemporary wool rug from Landry & Arcari adds softness and a subtle pattern.


The bedroom holds a queen bed and two twins, set up so it can be divided into two bedrooms down the road. The headboards on the Blu Dot beds, upholstered in gray felt, echo the neutral cushions on the sofa downstairs. A vintage Moroccan Berber rug from Landry & Arcari, layered over the blue-green painted wood floor, is a fun burst underfoot. Nubby pillows and throws add color and texture.

The barn was finished last summer, and the kids now argue over who gets to spend the night in the new space with visiting friends.

The family’s weekend routines have changed for the better. “One night we used to make a campfire, and the other we’d sit around and chat while the kids disappeared to their rooms,” says Glass. “Now there’s campfire night and barn party night. I think it’s the start of a new tradition.”


In the kitchenette, Blu Dot stools with gray upholstery and oak legs stand out against the white background but let the focus remain on the art. The added crossbeam, which anchors the pendant lights, “brings the ceiling down and creates intimacy,” architect Colin McGovern says.michael J. lee
An encaustic diptych by Leslie Stoner, from Chase Young Gallery in Boston, hangs in the guest room. michael J. lee
Lindsey and Katherine play Ping-Pong while the family cockapoo, Jack, poses for a photo. michael J. lee

Marni Elyse Katz is a frequent contributor to the Boston Globe Magazine. Send comments to Follow us on Twitter@BostonGlobeMag.