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Stories from White Barn Inn

Stories from White Barn Inn

Do Jenny Wolf on Redesigns, Serendipity and Pandemics

A comprehensive redesign of a historic inn will always present its share of challenges for even the most unflappable interior designer. Getting it done in the midst of a global pandemic requires nerves of steel. “It was crazy,” says Jenny Wolf, head of Jenny Wolf Interiors, which oversaw the refurbishment of the White Barn Inn & Spa, part of the Auberge Resort Collections, and a beloved local landmark for more than 150 years in Kennebunk, Maine.

On top of that, it was Wolf’s first commercial hotel project. Previously, her practice has focused on residential and retail properties — she’s the proprietor and designer of The Huntress, an interiors shop in Pound Ridge, New York. (Wolf also reimagined a more distilled version of The Huntress for the Mayflower Inn & Spa gift shop.) A master of the rustic modern touch, she infused the property with the warmth of a home residence.

“When I go on vacation, I want to feel like I’m in a home away from home,” says Wolf. “That was the undercurrent for the project, creating spaces that just felt inviting, cozy and comfortable, not sterile and too slick.” Wolf notes that a sense of warmth was present in the previous interior design, rendered in dark floors and paisley, padded walls. Her mission was to lighten it up without losing the traditional New England charm. “The barn wood floors that we put in were the springboard for everything else,” she says.

Farrow and Ball paint colors were pulled from a European, English garden palette. To maintain the unique European-esque Americana feeling she associates with Maine, Wolf used antique pieces, Gustavian reproductions from London-based Chelsea Textiles and cannonball beds. Checkered window treatments and throws underscore the country estate vibe.

During Wolf’s first visit to the proper, she stayed in a small room in the Main house. “It felt like a small room at a farmhouse and that ended up being one of my favorite rooms,” she says. “We ended up papering it in Sister Parish wallpaper — you can’t get more Americana than that — and put a beautiful Chelsea Textiles Gustavian bed in with light blue, checked window treatments. You almost feel transported to the European countryside.”

Wolf also oversaw the design for Little Barn, the more casual counterpart to the property’s its AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star White Barn Inn Restaurant. To maintain a local flavor décor-wise, she enlisted artist Dean Barger, whose clients include Roman & Williams, Fortuny and Tory Burch, to paint a 60-foot mural inspired by Maine’s coastal landscapes. “Dean is a good friend of mine and he actually lives in Maine,” says Wolf. “So that was fun because he was the perfect person and he happened to live down the street.”

That kind of serendipitous cross-pollination extended to preserves and sauces made by Chef Matthew Padilla, which Wolf is now stocking in The Huntress. “It’s very important for my job that I feel inspired by and connected to the people that work there and the property,” says Wolf. “With the White Barn Inn, it was instant. When I visited the property the first time, I didn’t have the job yet, but I felt a wave come over me. I was like, ‘We’re definitely doing this project.’”Stories from White Barn Inn