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Feature: Mad River Barn

Located at the base of the Appalachian Gap in the heart of the Mad River Valley, Vermont, Mad River Barn has been a community staple since the early 1950s. When new owners Andrew and Heather Lynds purchased it in January 2013, the dark and dated building was in dire need of a facelift to revive the beloved inn. They hired award-winning interior designer and salvage expert Joanne Palmisano to refurbish the building from floor to ceiling with warm woods and textured salvaged materials borrowed from the original inn and other local spots.

Andrew, Heather and Joanne brought me in to photograph the final result – a cozy gathering spot for locals and visitors alike to enjoy its friendly ambiance and each other’s company. For the shoot, my goal was to capture the warmth that fills each space. From hanging out by the upstairs fireplace to playing shuffleboard on a restored antique board in the game room to relaxing in a carefully curated guest room, this is a place you want to frequent. Illuminated light fixtures, such as in the upstairs pub, capture the glow and aura of each room. A mix of detail shots highlighting interesting salvage materials as well as pulled-back views shows the care and consideration that Joanne, Heather and Andrew collectively put into every detail.

Photographing the result of their hard work was rewarding on many levels. My favorite photo shoots are those that involve working closely with people who pour their heart, soul and creativity into a project, especially when the outcome is a place that many people can enjoy. This photo shoot was certainly one of those instances.

I’m lucky to work with Joanne regularly. So many great things have come out of our collaborations – including a lifelong friendship and two books! Our second book together, Salvage Secrets Design & Decor: Transform Your Home with Reclaimed Materials ($25; released in May 2014 and offers a wealth of salvage ideas from a bottle caps-turned-kitchen backsplash to old bedsprings reinvented as candleholders. We traveled the country to photograph Joanne’s projects for the book, sometimes completing five shoots (thanks to our shared vision and several cups of coffee) in one day. I’m always amazed by her big heart and vivacious personality – and her ability to quite literally turn trash into treasure.

To view more photos and to learn more about the inn, please visit Mad River Barn’s website. For information on Joanne’s interior design work, including her contributions to the DIY Network, please visit her website, Salvage Secrets Design.