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San Diego Central Library

San Diego, CA


A complex project realized over a span of thirty years, from the search for the site to the library’s opening day. Lynn Barnhouse, first as the principal for interior design with Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle and later as head of Barnhouse Office, brought her extensive background in library design to multiple facets of the project. Over the last fifteen years, she provided services that included schemes for allocation and layout of spaces, specification and color coordination of architectural finishes on floors, walls, and ceilings, and carefully considered selection of furniture for the entire library. 

Walker Library (Uptown)

Minneapolis, MN


The branch library building that formerly occupied this site was not only outdated, it was underground. People found it dreary and depressing—if they were able to find it at all. The community had high expectations and a long wish list for the building that was to replace it.   Situated on a site with tight restrictions at the intersection of two busy streets in a vibrant mixed use neighborhood, the new facility required exceptionally careful and practical planning to fit everything in.  Barnhouse Office coordinated the building’s palette of materials and finishes, creating distinct zones of activity within the light-filled airy space by using bright vivid colors in some areas in contrast to neutrals in others. Skillfully adapted to the site's constraints, the new library is a handsome, welcoming and very popular community gathering place.

Teen Area
Teen Area Tables & Lounge
Teen Area
Teen Center (Partition Closed)
Entire Multi-Purpose Space (Open)
Youth Activity Area
Youth Lounge Seating
Youth Area
Youth, Quiet Room
Cimarron Community Center

Lake Elmo, MN


The Cimarron Community Center anchors a planned mixed-income family housing development in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. Designed to serve multiple purposes, the building has a flexible large group activity space and smaller semi-private areas for reading, playing, and socializing. It has two offices, two rooms for quiet study, a small commercial kitchen for community events and cooking demonstrations, and a large multipurpose space that can be partitioned into two sections. During the day, this space is used by a day care provider. After school, divided in two, it turns into a popular gathering place for teens and younger kids, with separate entrances for each group. In the evening, the flexible space offers a range of recreational programming and provides a setting and meeting place for support groups such as AA. The building engages the outdoors as well, with a covered patio and areas dedicated to summer activities such as bike repair and vegetable gardening. Barnhouse Office, working with the building's architect, Larson Architecture, designed, specified and color coordinated the building's furnishings, carpeting, rubber floor covering, ceramic tile, paint, and other interior details. 

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