As if made to fit, a salvaged wood sign reading 1949 hangs between two thick white oak posts in Deb and Ed Dick’s soaring great-room. “That’s the year of our birth,” Deb says of one of her favorite antique finds. “It just happened to fit perfectly in that walkway.”
Perfect matches are a dominant theme throughout the couple’s timber frame home in Kenton, Ohio, 65 miles northwest of Columbus. Click ahead to read how clever construction serves the couple’s needs for wheelchair accessibility within barn-style design. Find a buying guide on slide 12.
The three-story white barn sits on a lush meadow that was once a sheep farm. Fieldstone salvaged from an Ohio barn and white fiber-cement siding create a modern barn exterior. A weather vane on the cupola pays homage to the property’s former farm life.
Inside, white walls and unfinished beams form a natural canvas for a collection of folk art and 18th- and 19th-century antiques.
The owners, who’ve known each other since seventh grade and dated since high school, have that made-for-each-other glow as they affectionately share stories about their childhood together, Ed’s adventures in the 1970s as a crew chief with the Blue Angels (the Navy’s exhibition flight team) and recent moments playing with grandkids in their dream home.
Hosting family gatherings is easy in the open layout, which, more importantly, fosters Deb’s independence. After complications of a blood clot left her in a wheelchair, she required a home with universal design. Architect Kent Thompson and Riverbend Timber Framing in Blissfield, Michigan, helped meld the aesthetics of a century-old barn with functionality. “I didn’t want to sacrifice style for accessibility,” Deb says.
Rustic wood tones mix with white walls and trim and mostly neutral furnishings. Touches of muted reds, oranges, browns and blues blend with the soft backdrop. “I knew I wanted it to be light and bright and neutral,” Deb says.
Large windows cover almost every wall. “We oriented the house to the south to take advantage of natural light,” Kent says. Flooring of reclaimed barn beams adds farmhouse character. The great-room’s focal point, a double-sided fireplace, extends to the 30-foot ceiling, separating the dining and living areas yet leaving wide walkways.
Painted wood tiles form a checkerboard floor in the breezeway. Decorative details, such as a fish weather vane ornament hanging from a transom, delight throughout the house.
A blue corner cabinet and adjacent pantry store vintage vessels.
A collection of primitive antiques—bird and dog sculptures, woven baskets, quilts and even a dress form wearing an apron—fills the house like a museum (but one that encourages touching).
“I buy things that make me smile and feel happy when I look at them,” Deb says. She and Ed frequent antiques shows such as the Heartland Antiques Show and the Pure and Simple Show, both in Indiana. The couple’s passion for collecting outgrew their home, so they sell some finds at Jeffrey’s Antique Gallery in nearby Findlay.
Custom cubbies display unusual finds: “I have a thing for nooks and crannies and cubby holes,” Deb Dick says.
A pitchfork becomes art between windows.
Statement pieces, such as a wine-barrel-stave chandelier and a 19th-century clock, add drama in the dining room.
The displays of antiques and the barnlike architecture blend with thoughtful universal design elements. Wide doorways and big, open rooms accommodate Deb’s chair. (An elevator, with vertical wood siding, goes between all three floors.)
Designing a fully accessible kitchen was the biggest challenge, but clever modifications allow Deb to use the prep areas and appliances. In fact, many of the design decisions make cooking easier for everyone. Appliances, such as dishwasher drawers and a side-opening wall oven, are easy to reach. “Even if I wasn’t in a wheelchair, the kitchen would be perfect,” Deb says.
White Shaker-style cabinets and a secondary island with a wood countertop repeat the colors and materials used in the adjoining great-room. “This simple design works well with the barn styling of the home,” says kitchen designer Phyllis Craver. The kitchen wouldn’t be complete without a few antiques: pig bread boards displayed next to the cooktop and a wooden sheep statue standing guard near a side door.
An antique dry sink (from the days when an outdoor water pump was used) becomes a console table.
“I didn’t want my house to look like anyone else’s house,” Deb says. “I wanted it to look like me.”
Lime green accents give this lower-level master bedroom an energizing jolt of color.
A raised vanity in the sleek, contemporary master bath leaves plenty of room for a wheelchair.
A detached screen porch modeled after a corn crib takes advantage of sunshine and meadow views.
Architect Kent Thompson, Archignition Studio, 1469 Roxbury Rd., Columbus, Ohio. (614) 481-9707; archignition.com 
Builder Riverbend Timber Framing, Blissfield, Michigan. (888) 486-2363; riverbendtf.com 
Kitchen designer Phyllis Craver, Phyllis Craver Fine Designs, Lewis Center, Ohio. (614/384-0505)
Throughout the house
Most furnishings and accessories are 18th- and 19th-century antiques from local antiques shows. Flooring Reclaimed wood. Old West Woods, Elida, Ohio. (419) 339-7600; oldwestwoods.com 
Siding HardiePanel vertical siding. James Hardie. (888) 542-7343; jameshardie.com 
Fish weather vane Carolyn Thompson Primitives. carolynthompsonprimitives.com  Flooring Painted wood tiles. Old West Woods (see Throughout the house, Flooring). Pillows Kilim indoor throw pillows. Grandin Road. (866) 668-5962; grandinroad.com 
Sofa Hancock and Moore. (828) 495-8235; hancockandmoore.com 
Cabinetry White Shaker-style cabinetry. Quality Custom Cabinetry. qcc.com  Dishwasher drawers Fisher and Paykel. (888) 936-7872; fisherpaykel.com  Faucets Kohler. (800) 456-4537; kohler.com  Refrigerator Sub-Zero. (800) 222-7820; subzero-wolf.com  Wall ovens BO280/281, 30-inch single convection oven. Gaggenau. (877) 442-4436; gaggenau.com 
Artwork Primitive Woman Eating Pear by Carole O’Neill. carolescountry.com Chandelier Wine barrel chandelier. BoBo Intriguing Objects. (404) 355-2309; bobointriguingobjects.com  Dining chairs Captiva Seaside white side chair. Crate and Barrel. (800) 967-6696; crateandbarrel.com  Dry sink Carolyn Thompson Primitives (see Breezeway, Fish weather vane).
Teak settee Kingsley-Bate. (703) 361-7000; kingsleybate.com