Barn Storming

A dream-come-true studio becomes the ultimate showplace for an artist's culmination of work


A 30-year love affair with art

It’s safe to say that every artist fantasizes about building the ultimate studio. But those who actually have the opportunity to create that dream space are, well, probably few and far between. So when one Buckhead artist—who has been crafting captivating pieces since the ’70s—finally got the chance, she did it her way.

Of course, she didn’t do it alone. She enlisted the help of interior designer Judy Bentley and architect Jim Winer, beginning with discussions dating back as early as 2001. It was then that the parties involved decided on a 6,000-square-foot space that would feature an exterior resembling a 19th-century Edwin Lutyens-style barn. “At first we talked about making it look like an extension of the house,” Bentley says. “But then [the artist] decided she wanted the studio to look like it was a barn in the English countryside.”

That’s exactly what you see on the exterior, but everything changes once you set foot indoors. The two-story barn opens up into a sleek and contemporary studio, complete with bamboo floors, concrete countertops and glass tiles. The upper level includes a sitting area, library and computer room, while the lower floor is dedicated to the artist’s working space, as well as open space ideal for showcasing her unique artwork.

Though her work kept her busy, the artist long talked of putting together a show representing her 30-year love affair with art. But each year came and went, and the work was never shown. Finally, as a surprise, Bentley took the lead last fall, bringing together the artist’s family and friends to produce her first solo exhibit in the prized studio space.

Bentley is fully aware what the gesture meant to her friend. “It was really her dream come true.”