Calling a Transformed Barn Home in Plant City

A vintage barn renovation gives a Central Florida couple a place to kick up their heels with friends and family

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Larry and Cathy Jimenez were looking to downsize from their 10,000-square-foot, Mediterranean-style home, but they just couldn’t find anything that felt right to them. They knew they wanted to remain in Plant City—a sleepy Central Florida town first known for its cotton crops and now famous for its winter strawberries. The local folks are friendly and the pace of life is just right, which is why the couple hoped to find a piece of land there where they could build a unique residence. Then they looked at a large property full of oak trees that had a stripped-down barn, a ton of rocks, and a couple of tractors on it. 

What happened next?

“Foresight,” Larry says.

After purchasing the land, the Jimenezes turned to Debby and LaRoyce Keene of Mozart Construction Company. They had worked together in the past, and they sketched out a three-barn complex for hosting parties (and a gaggle of grandkids) in grand style. 

They turned to interior designer Jade Timmerman for help infusing their home with modern Texas Hill Country chic. But there was a catch—and the catch involved Larry, who is a big-time hunter. In previous homes, Larry had proudly displayed his more than 200 mounted kills. “This time, Cathy said it couldn’t be as western,” Debby explains. “She said he had to tone it down with the animal heads.”

Into storage they went.

Timmerman researched modern Texas Hill Country style and dreamed up ideas for how to tackle the interiors. She knew there would be leather, weathered wood, beams, animal hides, and comfortable furnishings with modern touches here and there. She conceded to include a few of Larry’s taxidermized mounts, because the living area was large enough to hold them without it being too overwhelming. Plus, Timmerman adds, “You can’t have a Texas-style home without a mount or two!”

“Quietly, Larry would joke that he was going to get as many heads up there as he could,” LaRoyce recalls.

Timmerman and the Jimenezes embarked on a three-day trip to Round Top, Texas (known for its eponymous antique show), where they selected pieces for the home. They returned with some gems that would add to their new residence’s ambience and serve as a memory of one of their favorite places to visit.

The Keenes went to work building what would become a more than 11,000-square-foot residence—obviously not a downsize, but an upgrade. The existing barn was converted into an airy 4,300-square-foot first floor with a bar, kitchen, dining area, living room, and wine room. An open staircase leads to a second-floor loft for the couple’s grandchildren.

The staircase was easily the most challenging part of the project. Larry didn’t want supports for the 31 steps, and LaRoyce was limited in where he could put the structure because it required three turns and two landings on its way up to the second floor. LaRoyce had to build a temporary wall to support the staircase while it was being installed. Although he was reasonably sure the stairwell would stay in place if the wall were removed, there was a bit of uncertainty—some of it joking—up until the end.

“I was being dramatic about it up until the end, saying I’d be the guy the house fell on if it didn’t work out,” LaRoyce says. “But everything stayed in place. Larry thought it was anticlimactic.”

Away from the main building and its structural feats is a more than 3,000-square-foot building with a large master suite, an additional bedroom, a craft area, and a laundry room. A final walkway leads to the garage.

The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the project’s progress, turning it into a two-year affair. But the team and the homeowners enjoyed each other’s company and took the extra time to dream together as they polished this diamond in the rough.

“This was such a unique project to work on,” Timmerman sys. “But the best part was at the end, when the homeowner told us that this was the first time their home felt like them. That’s always what you want to hear.”

Story Credits:

Interior Design by Jade Timmerman, Jade N. Timmerman Interiors, Tampa, FL

Builder Laroyce and Deborah Keene, Mozart Construction Company, Plant City, FL

Text by Paige Bowers

Photography by Amy Lamb, Nashville, TN

Open to see Interior Design Sources:

Sources

Game Room

Bar cabinetry designed by Jade Timmerman, Jade N. Timmerman Interiors, Tampa, FL 

Fabricated by Built Tampa, Tampa, FL

Bar stools – Lee Industries, Interiors Trading, Tampa, FL 

Pendant lighting – Troy Lighting, Hudson Valley Lighting Group, City of Industry, CA

Leather loveseats – Sarried Ltd., International Design Source, Sarasota, FL

Shuffleboard table – Built Tampa, Tampa, FL

Hanging light over game table – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX

Dining and Kitchen Table

Dining table – Built Tampa, Tampa, FL

Chairs – Palecek, Richmond, CA

Lighting – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX

Area rug – Hartford Court, Addison Dicus, Tampa, FL

Kitchen cabinetry – Tom Rothering, Woodharbor Custom Cabinetry, Mason City, IA

Island designed by Jade Timmerman, Jade N. Timmerman Interiors, Tampa, FL

Counter stools – Vanguard Furniture, International Design Source, Sarasota, FL

Pendant lighting – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX

Family Room

Sofa and side tables – Theodore Alexander, High Point, NC

Table lamps – Arteriors, Dallas, TX

Sofa table – Custom designed by Jade Timmerman, Jade N. Timmerman Interiors, Tampa, FL 

Ottomans under sofa table – CTH Sherrill Furniture, Interiors Trading, Tampa, FL

Fabric – F. Schumacher & Co., fschumacher.com

Hanging light – Arteriors, Dallas, TX

Fireplace designed and fabricated by LaRoyce Keene, Mozart Construction, Plant City, FL

Ceiling treatments designed and fabricated by LaRoyce Keene, Mozart Construction, Plant City, FL

Guest Bedroom

Bed and headboard designed by Jade Timmerman, Jade N. Timmerman Interiors, Tampa, FL

Fabricated by Vanguard Furniture, Conover, NC

Bench – Taylor King, Interiors Trading, Tampa, FL

Bedside chests – Noir, Gardena, FL

Lamps – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX

Wall coverings – Cole and Son, Kravet, Bethpage, NY

Area rug – Momeni Rug, Addison Dicus, Tampa, FL

Guest Bathroom

Tub – Waterworks, Hollingsworth, Tampa, FL

Hand stool – Global Views, Interiors Trading, FL

Custom marble tile inset – Hollingsworth, Tampa, FL

Master Bedroom

Bed and headboard designed by Jade Timmerman, Jade N. Timmerman Interiors, Tampa, FL

Fabricated by Vanguard Furniture, Conover, NC

Chests – Hooker Furniture, Interiors Trading, Tampa, FL

Lamps – Visual Comfort, Houston, TX

Bench – Taylor King, Interiors Trading, Tampa, FL

Area rug – Antrim, Addison Dicus, Tampa, FL

Ceiling treatment designed and fabricated by LaRoyce Keene, Mozart Construction, Plant City, FL

Console – Theodore Alexander, High Point, NC

Wall mirror – Gabby Home, Pelham, AL

Blue chair – Four Hands, Austin, TX

Back Exterior

Bar stools – Four Hands, Austin, TX

Hanging light – Farm and Factory Interiors, Camdenton, MO

Seating – Sunset West USA, International Design Source, Sarasota, FL

Swivel barrel chairs – Bernhardt, Lenoir, NC

Teepee tent – Zuo Modern, International Design Source, Sarasota, FL

Fireplace designed and fabricated by LaRoyce Keene, Mozart Construction, Plant City, FL

Pool and waterfall element designed and fabricated by David Reed, Reeds Pools, Brandon, FL

Throughout

Ceiling treatments designed and fabricated by LaRoyce Keene, Mozart Construction, Plant City, FL

Front door – Maiden Steel, San Diego, CA

Back doors to patio – LaCantina Doors, Oceanside, CA

Interior doors – LaRoyce Keene, Mozart Construction, Plant City, FL

Interior molded doors – Jeld-Wen, Charlotte, NC

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