In three years, five roommates have made apartment 1N inside “The Barn” their home. Roommates Peter Haury ’13, Rebecca Painter ’13, Paige Grand Pre ’13, Jake Carter ’13 and Declan White ’13 are the longest Barn residents to date, which shows in the lively decor and well-established living arrangements.
The Barn is located just outside of campus on Chester road. The building, which is of impressive size, houses students who opt to live off-campus in groups of four. “We knew it was going to be the five of us,” said Grand Pre, who noted the only other alternative available to the five friends sophomores was the on-campus lodges. The idea of three of them having to share a single room was not an appealing option. Instead, the roommates moved into The Barn and transformed the living room area into a bedroom for Haury.
The apartment is rectangular-shaped so that walking in, one finds themselves in a long, custard-colored hallway lined with white doors on either side. On the far left, past a wooden bench and large mirror, is Carter’s room. A large foosball at the entrance adorns the spacious room. A long blue couch sits against the left wall and next to a fireplace, which Carter admited attracted him to the room. Resting on the floor is a “Settlers of Catan” box set, which is what the roommates “do together the most.”According to Carter, the apartment plays an average of five times a week.
Down the hall is Grand Pre’s room. The light blue walls are embellished with movie, art, sports and music posters. “All my roommates make fun of me for having so many,” Grand Pre explained. One painting shows a penguin trying to sell drugs to another. Haury, who prefers to call Grand Pre “Paige the material girl,” says this painting is most definitive of her because it is “homemade art” depicting penguins “who are above the influence.”
Most noticeable in Grand Pre and the other roommates’ rooms are their large beds in contrast to the twin XL beds found in on-campus dorms. Grand Pre herself has a queen bed. “It takes so much space but it’s worth it,” she said.
A self-described “comfort man,” Haury referred to his bed as his “pride and joy.” His room is on the far right of the hallway. For Haury, the dark pine green walls and yellow windowsills create a “soothing” environment. A white couch faces two large embossed chairs which are lit by a wide lamp, giving the room an open and inviting feel.
When asked about living with female roommates, Haury noted that the girls are cleaner. He and Painter have been friends since high school; both grew up in Swarthmore. Painter is on the track team and already has a job in line in Boston for after she graduates. She described her room as being an unintentional “girly room.” Her walls are a “Tiffany blue” and covered with an array of photographs, depicting moments “from high school up to last semester’s Halloween.” These, along with flowers dispersed throughout the room and floating book shelfs hinged to the wall, have created a warm and very personable space. “I started with the ‘Southern Comfort’ sign and went from there,” she admited.
Painter’s closet can be found in the hallway and when opened, blocks the flow of traffic. Moreover, Grand Pre explained that their “friends [often] got confused” when trying to leave, due to the array of inconspicuous white doors. To address the problem, the last door on the left now sports a bright red ‘“Exit” sign. On the opposite end of the hallway outside of Haury’s room is a whiteboard that the roommates use to “communicate with each other,” Grand Pre explained. Although the board is mostly used to let one another know “how much money we owe each other,” White said, photographs from sophomore year and study abroad line the edges. Pictures of Delta Upsilon, which Haury, Carter, and White are a part of, are also displayed.
One cannot miss the kitchen, whose wooden cabinets bring emphasis to the crimson walls. The roommates agree this is where they most often congregate; as Grand Pre noted, this is the “only place where all of us fit.” The roommates explained that Christmas has been key to collecting an assortment of kitchen appliances. The roommates mentioned that the move off campus was primed primarily because of food. “[We] wanted to be out of Sharples,” Carter noted, adding that every roommate now cooks “to varying degrees.”
“We like frozen food,” said Haury. “All we have inside the fridge is parmesan cheese” Painter added, prompting a laugh from everyone. According to the roommates, getting meal time together was an adjustment when they first moved in as sophomores, whereas “now it’s more casual,” according to Grand Pre.
The roommates admit to experiencing a loss of the campus community due to living off campus yet note the other students living in The Barn are “very nice,” not to mention that the Co-op makes the “hallway smell so good,” as Grand Pre raved. Apartment upkeep has gone quite well, since every roommate does their part to keep the place looking nice… well, everyone “except Declan” according to Carter. Although I was prevented from venturing into his room due to a “broken light,” White mentioned his room was the smalles,t which made it “great for watching TV.” White is obsessed with Network TV and disclosed ‘Scandal’ as his favorite show at the moment.
Surrounded by the warmth of the kitchen, the roommates laughed with one another as they gathered around the table. “We talk about the world,” said Haury. “Because we live together, it’s ok to get passionate about things.” The roommates hope to follow tradition at the end of the semester and “pass down” the apartment to another group of fellow Swatties, looking for a group of fellow Swatties “who will care about [the apartment] as much as we do,” said Carter.