The making of a studio barn – The before and after tour

Farm Journal, August, 2016:

There once was a little barn that barely looked worth saving.  The big barn that it attached to fell years ago, leaving a funny point on the roof that made it look like the prow of a ship.  The prow may have been what got me – the barn just looked like it wanted to go somewhere.

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When we finally got the rotting particle board off the sides, we found the original wood planks.  Nate and our friend Liam re-framed the entire building so that it could be filled with windows and natural light.

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We hired an Amish crew to help with the roof – they have done a few roofs with us now, and we love these guys.

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Doors, windows, siding and paint followed – but then winter hit, and we had to wait.  The ground was frozen and we still had no electrical service at the barn.

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Then came spring, and we dug the electrical,  got some garden beds in, and finally began work on the inside.  It was a mess in there – endless projects awaited, with not a wall of that old barn plumb.  Mind you, Nate has a very full time job, and this project is his nights and weekends…(He may have muttered more than once “we should have taken a bulldozer to this thing…”)

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Nate, his brother Chad, and his dad did all the electrical work.  Then we hired our friend Mike Ely, who owns Life Construction & Design, do the insulation, drywall and paint for us – three really big jobs we were thankful to have off our plate.

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At last, Nate began the finish work. The wood from the exterior we carefully saved for an interior wall.   We installed the light fixtures, and did endless clean up of the space with the kids’ help.

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We were just about out of steam, when a huge group of friends and family arrived on a hot August Saturday, giving us the final push we needed to lay the floor, tidy the exterior, and finally move in furniture!

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We have projects left to do, but we are in! This studio barn was pulled together with love – so many hands over 2 full years – you know who you are, and we sincerely thank you! As a new school year starts for my kids I am so grateful that my 1 – 1.5 hour commute is now a glorious 20 steps. I am most especially thankful to Nate, for countless hours of his skill, his eye for detail,  and problem solving. Here it is, our cheerful studio barn, surrounded by the people that loved it back from the brink!

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