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old barn renovation update

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  • old barn renovation update

    Contractor's close to being done! Last tasks are to go around the exterior and replace the battens wherever needed, run a cable across the center hall to stabilize the structure (overkill, but inexpensive so it fell into the why-not category), and hook the electrical back up. Oh, and scoop out the rest of the endless pile of hay in the center hall. I can't tell you how many farmers have come to pick up hay--Ive been advertising it on CL as free bedding or mulch-- and there's still at least half full. Someone's coming tomorrow with a baler so that will hopefully take care of the rest of it. Whatever's left over by end of week we'll just scoop up and dump in the woods.

    Once the contractor packs up, of course we still lots and lots of work to do. Some we'll tackle this winter, others will wait til later in the year. We need to add more lights/outlets and upgrade the service coming into the barn; frame out a tack/feed room; build 4 horse stalls; pour a cement floor in the center section. And of course, paint the exterior. We used salvaged barnwood from various sources -- so we have sections that are weathered gray, red, white, plus new wood thrown in for a little splash of extra color I wish it was warm enough to paint now, but guess we'll just have to live with the crazy patchwork colors until springtime.
    Here's the album with "Before" photos, and "Almost-sorta-Done for Now" photos.


  • #2
    That was a gargantuan enterprise.
    That barn was on it's last legs and beyond.

    Will be interesting to see what the finished barn looks like.
    It would be neat to have a collage of those pictures hanging there after it is done.


    • #3
      How fab! That barn has "good bones," so it truly is worth renovating. Good job!!!
      <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


      • #4
        Wow! I missed the back story - you have a wonderful old barn and a very new house? What's the original use of a barn of that size and shape? I don't see a hayloft (or at least not the kind we'd see in old WI barns!) so what was the purpose of building the high peaked roof over the center section? how old is it? what do you know of the farm's history?


        • Original Poster

          Betsy: Nope-- we have a wonderful old barn AND wonderful old farm house. Both of the same era (believed to be 1890).

          I haven't put a whole B4+After album on line, but here are some pics through the years. The last one from 2009 is pretty close to what it looks like today, but in that pic we hadn't finished painting the porch posts, doors, etc.

          Like the barn it had great bones but was in horrible disrepair, every single room needed major work. Property was similar--totally overrun with weeds. What can I say, we were young and fell in love with the place, logic be damned! Its condition obviously depressed its selling price, and our budget didn't allow a fully-made acreage. We managed to look past the current condition and saw: beautiful (in the future!) farmhouse, reasonably close to town, 35 acres that used to be (and could again be) productive hay grounds, beautiful views, great riding spaces, lots of outbuildings, field hydrants already installed, and perimeter already fenced (though we've since replaced all the fencing, but it was okay enough to move in with horses from the get-go).

          That was 2001 and since then we've invested a heck of a lot of sweat equity, renovating the house room by room. And dollar equity, too, of course, but spread out over the long term, so for the most part we could save up and do everything on cash. (well, except for the kitchen remodel last year-- gawd kitchens are expensive).

          As much as I've wanted to do this barn, we've got a pretty good collaborative approach to how we spend $ and what renovations to focus on. We'd keep updating the "Project List" to cross off what we've done, think about stuff we need or want to do/build/buy, and figure out what's "This Year" "Next Year", etc. The barn finally made it to the This Year list.

          History: circa 1890. American gothic architecture, for the most part. Over the years people added some silly gingerbread details to the back porch and the wraparound front porch was converted into a carport (with "His" and "Hers" written into the cement, I kid you not).

          Don't know who built it but we've met a guy who was born here in the early 1940s, and the farm was in his family a long time before that. Another oldtimer who grew up around here swears the house had been moved within the property-- it used to be located back from the road, up on the hill. That seems farfetched to me-- why would they go to the trouble?--but the old well is back that direction, so maybe its true. A mystery.
          Other than that, we don't know much. As we have worked on every single room, we kept hoping to find hints or artifacts behind walls, under floorboards, etc. Nope. Occasional old handwriting--measurements etc written (in perfect, beautiful script!) on the lumber by whoever built it. But no buried treasures Well, I take it back-- we did find a wonderful old stamp collection from the 50s, tucked way up in the back of a closet shelf. Since we knew the guy who grew up here, gave it to him. It had been his sisters' collection, so they were really happy to get it. So that was a cool find.
          Before we sealed up the walls again after our work, we tried to put one little weird thing behind the wall in each room, so whoever works on this a century from now will at least have something interesting to find.


          • #6
            I like what you did with the barn door. My mother has a couple of doors and such in her home as art too.

            That bit is called a Jay-Eye-See bit after the trotter of the same name http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ay-Eye-See.jpg
            Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


            • #7
              Originally posted by HungarianHippo View Post
              Whatever's left over by end of week we'll just scoop up and dump in the woods.
              What an impressive place - and you've obviously put in a huge amount of work. Well done you! Just wanted to make one suggestion re your leftover hay: If you have some to dump in the woods, dump it as far as possible from your home and barn. In winter, even the most horrible, "dead" hay can attract deer; the presence of deer can attract coyotes and feral dogs, and some predators will mooch over to the barn and snack on chickens and barn cats if they aren't fast enough to catch deer... and they usually aren't fast enough. My neighbours have been through some unnecessary traumas involving poultry and pets, all because they dumped a large pile of bad hay too near their home and barn.
              Home page: www.jessicajahiel.com
              Horse-Sense newsletter: www.horse-sense.org


              • #8
                Wow, just wow! It's gorgeous and it must be awesome to walk through and know you did it yourselves and it came out that well! Can't wait to see how the barn turns out. Love the goat- and cat-supervisors!


                • #9
                  Absolutely stunning. It is so inviting and I am jealous of your kitchen... I can dream... Can't wait to see the end result in the barn...


                  • Original Poster

                    Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                    That bit is called a Jay-Eye-See bit after the trotter of the same name http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ay-Eye-See.jpg
                    Thanks! I had never seen one of these before. Looks pretty severe--quite the nutcracker effect.


                    • #11
                      The little rings go to the overcheck. It might squeeze a little side to side but there would have been an equilibrium point between pressure on the reins and pressure on the overcheck. It wouldn't have really nutcrackered as much as your typical double jointed snaffle.

                      Judging by availability today is was pretty popular back then. I see them in antique stores and such quite often. I have one in my collection that my Dad picked up in the neighbor's garage years ao.
                      Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans


                      • Original Poster

                        ah, that makes sense.