SUPPER IN THE BARN with the Thatenhorst family
House and Leisure|April - May 2020
Munich-based interior designer Stephanie Thatenhorst transformed the barn at her parents’ farm in Bavaria into an eclectic family retreat
KERSTIN ROSE

She’s well known for decorating and kitting out the coolest bars, restaurants and hotels in Munich, but award-winning interior designer Stephanie Thatenhorst’s heart belongs to a tiny village in southern Bavaria.

All of 30 inhabitants call Bayern home: a hamlet surrounded by Alpine mountains and close to the Chiemsee, one of Germany’s largest freshwater lakes. It’s also where Stephanie spent her childhood years, and where her parents, sister, and the rabbits belonging to her two sons, Jimmy and Jonny, live on an organic farm.

Stephanie, who is based in Munich most of the time, had long been on the lookout for an abode in the country. Her search remained fruitless until the day her father invited her to commandeer the farm’s large hay barn. Without hesitation, she and husband Markus got to work on plans for its conversion.

The couple share the 200m2 barn with Stephanie’s father, so he’s still able to reverse a tractor and hay-loaded trailer into the building when he needs to. The front section above the stables became their holiday and weekend apartment, also doubling as a showroom.

Centuries-old roof beams (which the couple had restored) determine how the living space is divided: the 100m2 living space contains the dining and living areas, as well as the kitchen. Sitting in this space, your gaze is drawn upwards to the barn’s wooden gable ends, and out through a large picture window to the neighbouring farms and the ancient chestnut tree – a view that makes it impossible to lose sight of the apartment’s origins. Numerous details in the interior are reminders of the building’s former agricultural status, too – the open fireplace, and the stairs that lead to the upper floor, which resemble a ladder and were crafted from wood taken from the original barn floor.

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