This Old House® Announces First Midwestern Idea House – The Modern Barnhouse Outside of St. Paul, Minnesota
By: Date: June 7, 2021 Categories: Announces,House,Uncategorized

STAMFORD, CT, FEBRUARY 5, 2021—This Old House is excited to announce that for its first Idea Houses in 2021, and eighth Idea House to date, the trusted home improvement brand is working with remodeler, designer, advocate, and television personality Amy Matthews as she embarks on building her dream home: a Scandinavian-style barnhouse on a verdant farmstead in the St. Croix River Valley, located 20 minutes from downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.

Modern Barnhouse rendering

A simple gabled barn form defines TOH’s 2021 Modern Barnhouse, designed by Amy Matthews with D/O architects Colin Oglesbay and Aaron McCauley-Aburto.
D/O Architects

This Old House and Matthews have teamed up with D/O Architects Colin Oglesbay and Aaron McCauley-Aburto and builder Chad Maack of Hartman Homes for the 3,800-square-foot home which is shaped like a long, narrow 20-foot-wide by 100-foot-long barn. The house boasts an open-plan kitchen and large vaulted living room with a fireplace. A newly renovated outbuilding with a fully equipped workshop will support Amy’s own non-profit, And Now She Rises (ANSR), and serve as a space for women recovering from domestic abuse to get training in the building trades. Additionally, Amy is creating a scholarship for women going into the trades at Dunwoody Technical College.

“Through all my years working in home improvement television, This Old House has always remained the gold standard, the original real deal,” said Matthews. “I’m thrilled that my Modern Barnhouse has been chosen as their 2021 Idea House! After co-hosting a show with Kevin O’Connor years ago, I couldn’t wait to work with the stellar team at This Old House again, and to now be spearheading this iconic brand’s first Midwest Idea House is a dream come true.”

“When we first met Amy and saw the historic farmstead, we knew it was a magical place layered in nature and history,” said Colin Oglesbay, Founder & Managing Principal, D/O Architects. “We sought to create something that worked with the story of farm that had shaped the land for the past hundred years. Our modern barnhouse draws from a rustic material pallet and traditional agrarian buildings but with a modern twist. The building celebrates open modern living within a rich midwestern culture and landscape.”

Given Minnesota’s extreme winters, the Idea House will feature an advanced building envelope system (structural insulated panels or SIPs) to ensure the home is airtight and comfortable. The panels are created in the factory and assembled on site where joints are meticulously sealed. Says Hartman Homes’ VP of Operations Chad Maack, “SIPs have the strength of traditional stick-framing but offer much better energy performance because the insulation is uninterrupted by heat-conducting wood studs or rafters.” The home also features walls of high-performance windows, two stories tall on both ends, with triple panes of silver glazing to block solar heat gain and damaging UV rays.

The design for the idea house was forged by Amy’s Swedish roots and the quintessential American farmstead property where the house will be constructed; her respect for old world craftsmanship and love of modern minimalism; materials that connect to nature, and smart home products that make life easier. The result: a welcoming home that is beautiful and comfortable, and instills a sense of peace.

The project will be highlighted across This Old House’s multi-platforms. Fans can follow the build on, a webcam, and on social – @thisoldhouse #TOHmodernbarnhouse. The Modern Barnhouse is slated to be revealed on in July 2021 and will be featured in the Fall 2021 issue of This Old House Magazine, in homes in early August.

The 2021 Modern Barnhouse already claims an impressive roster of sponsors including: Aquor Water Systems, Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods, Benjamin Moore, Bridger Steel, Cabot, Caesarstone, Elkay, Emtek, GAF Deck-Armor, Gorilla Glue, HomeAdvisor, Kubota, Minwax, Real Cedar, RealCraft, Sakrete, Schluter-Systems, Sierra Pacific Windows, Uponor, Viewrail and VELUX. There are still several category-specific sponsorships available; for more information, please contact

About This Old House Ventures, LLC

This Old House Ventures, LLC is the number one multi-platform home enthusiast brand, serving over 20 million house-proud consumers each month with trusted information and expert advice through its Emmy award-winning television shows This Old House and Ask This Old House, its highly regarded This Old House magazine and its inspiration and information-driven digital properties, including, streaming app, FAST channels, podcasts (Clearstory and Ask This Old House), social platforms, popular YouTube channel, and Insider subscription club. This Old House and Ask This Old House are produced by This Old House Ventures, LLC, and are presented on PBS by WETA Washington, DC. National underwriting for This Old House is provided by The Home Depot, GMC, Gorilla Glue, Marvin, HomeAdvisor, Schneider Electric, Kubota and Louisiana-Pacific Corporation.

About Amy Matthews

Amy Matthews is a remodeler, TV personality, and activist whose work threads together architecture, design, transformation, and education in a spirit of empowerment and renewal. For close to two decades, Amy has inspired by example, with hands-on renovation projects that rejuvenate homes and workplaces. Her television shows on HGTV and DIY Network have included Renovation Raiders, Sweat Equity, Bathroom Renovations, Blog Cabin, Esquire Magazine’s Bachelor Pad of the Year, and This New House (a This Old House production she co-hosted with Kevin O’Connor). Amy’s passion for empowerment has found expression in work with Habitat for Humanity and the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project, which has taken her to sites in New Orleans, Los Angeles, St. Paul, the St. Croix Valley, and Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is an avid volunteer for Ronald McDonald House, including co-emceeing their LOVE Galas in 2018, 2019 and 2020. Most recently, Amy co-founded And Now She Rises, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women reclaim and transform their own narratives after experiencing domestic violence and abuse.

About D/O Architects – Colin Oglesbay

Colin Oglesbay is the founder and managing principal of D/O Architects and leads the interdisciplinary design studio committed to design excellence through the seamless integration of structure and nature. Colin studied landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and received his Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. His work has been celebrated by the AIA and ALSA, and seeks to discover new and innovative methods linking landscape architecture and modern architecture. His writing, research and work has been published in numerous national and regional publications. He also teaches design at the University of Minnesota. With over 20 years’ experience in the field of landscape and architecture, he has lead projects ranging from new cities in South Korea to carbon-neutral cabins in Minnesota. Colin’s inspiration for living architecture comes from his passion for camping, mountaineering and anything that gets him out into rugged nature.

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