Design Tour: A Carnegie Library Renovation with Beverly Baribault

When Beverly Baribault (Beverly Baribault Design Group) was presented with the opportunity to renovate one of Chattanooga’s most historic buildings, the 1904 Carnegie Library, she was more than up for the task. “I love working on historic projects,” said Baribault. “I’ve completed five projects with this client. On every project, we are a creative team, and this project was a perfect fit for all of us to work together again.”

The plan for the 13,000-square foot building was to refresh the offices on the lower levels and create a living space upstairs. As an institution among the community, Baribault was committed to maintaining the key historical elements of the structure. “It is always a challenge to preserve and restore while making it a usable space,” Baribault explained. “The plaster work was very special — as we tore down some walls and ceilings, we uncovered even more. This discovery was worth saving, and using an old-world plaster specialist to bring it back to life made it all worth the effort. The stairwell and elevator I also wanted to keep as-is. The stairwell is very grand and commands the space. I think any well-placed and designed stairwell will always be relevant in interior design.”

“I love so many spaces in this building,” said Baribault. “The overall feeling of the upper level is very special.  This is the private space for the owners. I know them both very well, so their personalities and interest led the designs in this area. The tiny kitchenette and master bath are fun — we squeezed the kitchenette into one closet and the master bath into another closet. It just seemed right!  The owners love France and Italy, so I used that love to inspire these special rooms. The Green Room on the second floor is beautiful and peaceful. The hidden kitchen and Blue Room, with all of the Cole and Son paper, are so perfect.”

To other designers embarking upon a historical renovation, Baribault advises: “Do your research and understand the complete timeline of the structure. It is so important to grasp all the history. Challenges are just opportunities! We made a lot of things happen that seemed impossible.”

Explore even more of Beverly Baribault’s design below: