A Tobacco Curing Barn Turned Writing Studio

In the thirty years that Margaret Sartor and Alex Harris have lived on this property in Durham, North Carolina, this early 20th century tobacco curing barn has been used for a number of purposes most notably as a children’s playhouse. But now that the children are grown, Margaret decided to use the barn space to create the writing studio she’s always wanted. She called upon Arrowhead Designs to create a modern, working studio while honoring the existing history and aesthetic. Arrowhead brought in local carpenter Andy Pitre to create an entirely new structure within what became the facade of the new building. Together they transformed the old structure into a modern and functional workspace that is sure to combat any writer’s block. –Amy

Photography by Joshua Hoffman

Image above: “Front exterior of barn with new porch, gable siding, Arrowhead swing made of milled oak logs and Bertoia chairs.”

Image above: “The working interior of the studio. All built-ins designed and built specifically for this project.”

Image above: Repurposed military cot-turned-daybed.

See more of the barn after the jump!




Image above: Custom cantilevered baltic birch and mild steel shelves.






Image above: “New chinking and oak surrounds cut specifically for the studio project.”


  1. kristin says:

    what a lovely space.

  2. Anne says:

    Can you tell me what the wood species is on the ceiling? Just lovely…

  3. Casey says:

    SO LOVELY! That porch.

  4. Meg says:

    So clean and fresh! Love the wood & white combination. You need a bamboo or white Haiku ceiling fan! It would look PERFECT in this space.

  5. Rissie says:

    I have shelves in my apartment that look just like this … including the picture of Abraham Lincoln. In fact, when I first saw this picture, I thought for a split second that it *was* my apartment. :)

  6. Meinhilde says:

    It’s great that they kept the old wood on the outside of this little cottage. The desk storage is genius, also.

  7. KrisWithaK says:

    Ahh! Love it! I would hide away there in a second and write up a storm. Beautiful!

  8. Wow. It looks so fresh and clean and sparse and inspiring. Beautiful handiwork.

  9. Megan says:

    This is gorgeous. I would love to have a spot like this for a goldsmith studio. <3 <3 <3

  10. Rachael says:

    Gorgeous! I can just imagine how productive the writing time will be in there.

    Given its past, does the barn have any lingering tobacco smell? Maybe that sweet smell that accompanies cigar shops?

  11. Celia says:

    As Tina Fey’s daughter would say, ‘I want to go to there.’

  12. Alexandra Napoleon says:

    I am madly in love…beautiful, inspiring, comfortable, with storage and books! A little piece of heaven


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