Sunday, September 2, 2012

Barns for Home Renovation

Our renovated 18th century carriage barn
Mister man and I always seem to be on the same wavelength probably because we've been married so long we're starting to think alike. Last week while we were talking we both mentioned how we're getting the itch to renovate something again. It's been two years since we renovated our carriage barn and I'm over the shock of the mess so time for another project.
(Yes we should have buried the propane tank and yes the wires will be buried once all the big work is done on the property and no more big trucks to ruin our driveway since the wiring will go down along the drive. Eventually you won’t be seeing the electrical box either.)

English style hay or threshing barn
While we were talking mister man just happened to mention this barn he found not to far from our home and it’s for sale…coincidence…I think NOT! Mister man wants a barn in our old barn area to house a sauna so we really only need a very small barn. I say old barn area because there used to be a very big barn out back but was struck by lightening in 1900 and burnt to the ground. Dylan dog and I took a drive over to have a look at this barn and snapped a few pictures.
My image
This is the most typical type barn dotting the New England countryside and is called an English hay barn or threshing barn. This structure lends itself very nicely to barn home conversion and is capable of multi-level living spaces. The hay barns range in size from 24 - 36 feet wide and 24 - 50 feet long. This one is on the smaller side and is being advertised as being a two horse stall barn and that means small.  
My image 
This is the front of the barn and the picture below gives you an idea of what it could look like once renovated. Unfortunately the sellers are asking over two times what the barn is actually worth considering how much work and money are needed to be thrown at this place.
The frame is the most essential and interesting component of any barn’s construction. Their engineering and construction have survived the ravages of time because they were kept dry and had good foundations. A barn is basically a framework of solid timbers clothed with a replaceable exterior skin so it really doesn’t matter what the outside skin looks like, that’s replaceable.
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This is what the barn above would look like once fully reconstructed. I thought it might be fun to drive around the block, our block being eleven miles around, to show you some of the different barns in our neighborhood. This barn was just renovated five years ago and the shame of it is they don’t use it for anything not even as a garage but it’s beautiful.
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This barn is huge at three stories and was used as a chicken house…that’s a lot of chickens! The larger barns average 30 - 40 feet wide and 50 - 100 feet long. They are most often utilized for commercial developments or larger homes. Can you imagine what an amazing place this would be turned into a home?
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Another over sized hay barn that isn’t used for anything any more. I wish I could have gotten inside because it has a circular cow staircase made out of granite. The cows would have actually used it to go up to the first floor. The steps are only 3-4 inches making it easy for the cows to climb. Can you imagine all that work for cows?
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This is a smaller hay barn and has been converted into offices for a basket company a couple runs from their home. This barn has two floors so the husband and wife team each have their own office space.
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This barn is three miles up the road from us and one of my favorites. They renovated this barn six years ago and added a small side barn/garage and has two floors. The couple uses this barn for their picture frame business. Many of the barns around our area are used for businesses and artists studios. The little things you see on the roof are heat coils to melt the snow in the winter.
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A view of the garage they just added and I love this place so much. This place is also a working sheep farm...fresh lamb chops anyone? 

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This neighbor is two miles up the road from us and he took one of his outbuildings and converted it into an entertaining space for parties. Who out there doesn't love those sliding barn doors?
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This is the backside of the above barn and because this is a working cattle ranch every now and again they get a cow standing in front of that large window. That's enough to make someone think they've had to many martinis! 
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This same neighbor has a bit of a sense of humor as you can see from his sign. Trust me I’ve been in the field with the bull’s and they don’t have the ambition to chase you across the field.
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So there you go a few different types of barns around our area and they aren’t just for these babies any more. This is Rigger, the white horse, and his sidekick Kizazz Dylan dog just loves Rigger.
Each barn offers pleasing proportions and design simplicity, which are easily adaptable either to contemporary or traditional interpretation. I would love to have another barn and add a wall of steel windows and doors. Modern, industrial and antique features blend beautifully into these barns and talk about floor space.
Anyone out there wishing for a barn of their own for living? Plenty of styles and choices for everyone.
I hope you’re all enjoying your long Labor Day weekend. Me I’m off to another textile show tomorrow and then the Brimfield Antique Show is all next week….woohoo! Enjoy your week!


The enchanted home said...

Hi Debra..great post, this confirms one thing..that I love barns! Wow how exciting to do it all over again....that sign is a riot.

Your barn looks so pretty, you did a fabulous job.....seeing the countryside makes me want to go there. So beautiful.
Hope you are enjoying your holiday weekend.

Phyllis Trevor Higgerson, Henhurst said...

Your barn is gorgeous! And I am very envious about the idea of a second barn for the sauna. A sauna is at the top of my wish list (no pool or hot tub on there!) and a lovely outbuilding to house it would be dreamy.

Red Door Home said...

I have always thought it would be quite a fun project to find an old barn and turn it into living space. The possibilities are so fun to think about!

Paula said...

Hi Debra, I came to see you for some of the usual gorgeous eye candy, and I'm now leaving wanting a barn! Who would have thought that at 6 o'clock on a Sunday evening in England, I would suddenly decide that a barn is the answer to all of my dreams. Mr Sutton will no doubt roll his eyes as usual when I mention it to him and mutter resignedly under his breath "...been blogging again darling...?" Lol!
Hoping that your Labour Day weekend has been marvellous,
Best wishes,
Paula xxx

Unknown said...

I found you through Loi Thai, and I love your barn renovation. We have a bank barn with 2 stalls on the lower ground level and it is so cool and wonderful. If we ever get rid of our 2 horses, I'd love to turn it into an art studio!!! Love your pictures.

Room Seventeen said...

Wow, stunnings barns! I would love to have a barn ( for my shop) but unfortunately we don't have big barns at all in Holland. Land is very scarse and expensive over here.

Woodside Park said...

Hi Debra -
Happy Labor Day weekend :)
Your barn is gorgeous! Beautifully sited and great windows. I would love to one day have a tiny country house with a barn on the property. I'd use the barn as an art studio, guest house, etc. Thanks for the tour. Have fun at Brimfield's!!

michele said...

my husband will groan if i show him your post! he knows i have been checking craigslist weekly for more than a year. i want a barn too. i did get him to construct barn doors downstairs, but he's more shy about aged barn wood for some reason.

i know some folks who have a newly constructed barnlike structure on their property (very similar to one of your photos) which serves as a stable for their 2 dogs. it's amazing inside and out, and i should post about it.

buy it! restore it! invite me over for scintillating conversation in the sauna!


Fashion-isha said...

I'm more of a city girl..even the suburbs get to me after a while! I love what your wrote on my blog about the revolving never seems to end. It's nice but I like a balance of busy with quiet. I hope you're weekend is fabulous!

Taylor Greenwalt said...

I think it would be wonderful to have a barn....we don't have very many barns in my town, but a girl can dream!

Unknown said...

I live in farm country , and I too think I want a new "old barn" for the property. Love the beauty in simplicity and the integrity of such structures. Keep us posted:)!

Sharon Lee Johnson said...

Your barn turned out so beautifully I can see why you're itching to do another! x Sharon

Maison de lin said...

Hello Debra,

This is already a long time for me and your blog looks stille great! Al these barn look so beautiful and you can do a lots with it.


Portland Roofing said...

You have an amazing blog! More power to you!

Greet Lefèvre said...

Haha!! Your hubby is as mine, he loves to renovate again and again!
Your bar is just gorgeous!!! Really!!!! And how exciting to renovate a new one into a sauna house!!!
Have a great week Debra!

Victoria said...

Lovely barns. My favorite is the one used for a framing business because it has such elegance. I like the more rustic ones as well. At my former home in the Hudson Valley, we built a barn modeled after a carriage barn on the neighboring Livingston estate. My husband used it for his workshop. Barns add so much charm to a rural home.

The Snowdrop Project said...

Hi Debra,
Great post.
I had to go back and read through it twice, as there was so much information and the images so interesting.
I think converted barns are wonderful, and am always in awe of the vision that their creators have in seeing the final product, or dwelling in this case.
Hope you have a lovely day,

Splendid Sass said...

My daughter and I want to buy a barn. I love everything about the rustic and charming structures, and have been looking myself. I LVOE the sign. So funny.
Thank you for sharing these beauties and your knowledge.
Happy Monday.

Heather Robinson said...

Happy Labor Day, Debra!
What a fantastic post!!! You would have loved the property that we had when I was growing up in Ohio. The house was a former barn from the pre Civil War period and was part of the Underground Railroad with a hidden cellar and everything--save that it was HAUNTED! Both that and the horse barn were all built without a single nail--so beautiful to see.

An Urban Cottage said...

I guess I join the chorus of others that have always wanted to convert barn. I've always loved the timbers and the idea of having multiple levels connected by rustic staircases or bridges.

I love the big white one with the cupola.


I have always wanted a barn.Use to try and build as a little girl!Lived in TUSCANY and dreamed hard of owning one!LOVED LOVED LOVED your photos!You are one lucky GAL to be surrounded by all those barns!Even luckier that MISTER MAN wants to renovate one!Have a wonderful time at the shows!!!!!!!

Pura Vida said...

Debra, I love the "bull" sign...this is a very good post...loved it..who does not want or need a good barn!

Unknown said...

Hi Debra,
I hope you're having a wonderful long weekend!!

I have a bit of barn envy, as these would make a great space for entertaining! My father-in-law has a big white barn on his ranch. The lower half is full of tack and horses....but he wants to create a fun dance floor on the 2nd floor. I love the idea of seeing a full moon, dancing with a full country band. I have been encouraging him, so hopefully it will come to fruition. Or someday, it might just be my project.

I'll have to tell him about the sign...that's hysterical!
xoxo Elizabeth

Leslie said...

Hi Debra,

Barns and chicken coops.. everyone needs one! I would use mine for entertaining. What a great spot for a dinner party or wedding! House projects are lots of work but in the end.. all the work pays off and we forget about the messy part:) Great photos of the property near your home. That horse picture is one of my favorites. I'm a cowgirl at heart and dream of someday owning a working farm :)

Hope you enjoyed your weekend Debra!


Stacey said...

I love barns! Whenever we go for long rides and take the back roads, we see quite a bit of them. Lovely post and of course lol to that sign!! Happy Labor Day too:-). XX

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


What a fabulous post! I love that white barn so cute~ of course all of the others have great potential.

What would you do with the barn, renovate it to move into, make a commercial space or rent? I am nosy and love hearing about rennovations.

I would love to see more of your textiles from the shows you are going to? Perhaps you could do a post to let us know what you look for, what is your strategy, do you buy from favorite vendors or do you discover new people all of the time?

I would love to go to the Brimfield market! But sadly I am trying to cut back on things in my house, I hope that lasts more than one weekend!

Have a fabulous time, don't work too hard!!! And take lots of photos so we can follow along with you!

xo Elizabeth

Barbara@HausDesign said...

There is something so romantic about an old barn, especially in the NE for some reason! My uncle lives in an old barn in Pennsylvania that he restored and it is soooo charming. I love yours too but I can see how once restoring gets in your blood you can't get enough of it! :)

A room with a view said...

I do not own a barn but now you have me wishing I had. They are so versatile in their space - the interior could be a complete surprise to anyone who visited - place of business, office, entertainment space, game room, you name it! Enjoy the shows. Time for me to get back into focus with work and stuff. Have a great week, Debra!

Garden, Home and Party said...

Debra, what a beautiful post. Lucky you to have so many wonderful barns in your "neck of the woods".
Can't wait to see what you and you hubby decide on.

Anonymous said...

You are so lucky to live in such a gorgeous country setting, awesome lots, barns nearby, livestock...
Barns are so cool when renovated - I say go for it! xo

Stacy CUrran said...

Love this post Debra! But believe me, if I saw that sign I would believe that the bull has the ambition and would stay far away!!! I so hope you buy a barn to renovate!

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Hi Debra!

I have seen your blog name all around blogland for months/years now, and I thought it was high time I come visit you! I love a barn, whether it is a French farmhouse or an American beauty such as these. WONDERFUL IMAGES!!! And I love the one of the pink-nosed horse! Anita

cindy hattersley design said...

I have a pinterest board titled in my next life...would love to have a converted barn as my home one day. My husband has used dismantled barns in his work way before it was in vogue. Love, love, loved this post!!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


Hello my dear! How are you? Are you worn out for all your fabulous sales? I am so excited to see so many of your great finds! And even more excited that you are going to post them. As I have mendtioned I am fascinated by your trade/profession/passion. How did you get into this? What is your specialty? Do you travel the world? Do people find you with their family treasures? So looking forward to more information and stunning examples.

Have a wonderful week, Elizabeth

Acanthus and Acorn said...

Debra, I love your white painted barn with it's charming stone wall! The other white barn was amazing too.

The no trespassing sign was so funny-totally my humor!

Have a grand time at Brinfield!!!

Splendid Willow said...

Debra, you are always speaking my language!!!! Do I want a barn???! I want to live in a barn/farm style house and a want a separate barn as a dining room for all those big parties! Ask my hubby, I talk about this ALL the time!

Look at all those pretty barns in your neighborhood - barn paradise!

But your carriage barn wins then price! Beautiful! I bet you can have parties in there...

Warm hugs to you,


P.S Kids are back in school, as of this week! New life after being a busy summer Mom!

Heather Moore Grahling | Vivid Hue Home said...

what a wonderful post...i would just drive around your "hood" (aka countryside) all day long if i lived near you. talk about beautiful barns! ya'll did a beautiful job. LOVE the bull sign! What a crack up.

cotedetexas said...

i love the one you loved with the opening in the middle. what an exciting project! lucky you!!

Karena said...

Debra every time I go down to the Lake of the Ozarks, we pass barns that look vacated and I dream of what I could do with them!! Excited that you are ready for a new project!

Love you "neighborhood block"!
Art by Karena

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Hello Debra,

I hope you are having a great week and are rested after your trip to the Brimfield market.

I am looking forward to your post on you trip and news of your new barn.

I hope you are beginning to see a little color on top of your mountain. And that the weather is turning slightly cooler. This morning I felt a smidgen of fall...I have the window open because the humididty went down. I love it.

Have a great week, Elizabeth

carolyn bradford said...

How I missed this I will never know! My dream was always to live on more land than we do and have a barn! Just look at my Pinterest board on Barn Love! These pictures are spectacular! There is nothing like the beauty of the countryside with a barn and especially a barn of this caliber! I will definitely be pinning all of these! Thanks so much for your sweet and insightful comments! I always appreciate and look forward to your thoughts and opinions! Hope you are doing well!

faye said...

i really wish i have a barn

pve design said...

Lovely. I would love a barn....and your expertise at barn renovation and the journey sure is inspiring.
Send me some images of your 4 legged creature....ready for new work.

Loretta Fontaine (EcoHappy Blog) said...

Debra- Has it been two years already? Time flies...

I just loved this post - thank you so much for sharing the gorgeous barns in your area. they are amazing...


LaPouyette said...

I'll take all the barns! Restoring - converting - That would keep me busy for the rest of my life :-) !

Hope that you'll get ONE ! Crossing fingers and everything else.
Wonderful images and an interesting post again!

Apropos posts - Finally I took my time to read and enjoy quietly your last posts. As a "pot/jar-addictant" I certainly love the collection of Perigordian or South-West France confit pots, had a huge collection about 20 years ago, now only a few left. Also the Albi ones.

Always love to see Dylan! And - really enjoyed to read and see all your posts, interesting, thoughtful and uplifting!

Sorry for my 'absence' and late commenting, it was a rather hectic time here during the last few month, holiday guests, so many unexpected visitors and things.....
Now, I try to get slowly back to the blogworld :-)

At last but not least...
Tres amicalement,

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

Hey Debra...I'm still alive I promise. Love this post...and I know now that you guys have the itch, it's just a matter of time until we are following a barn construction. I can't believe it's been two years since you did your studio...Where does the time go?

debra @ 5th and state said...

i just know i love where you live, oh those barns!

mr 5th built a massive barn for us, it is decorative but houses, landscape vehicles and antiques. oh to dress it up enough to host a party......will never happen!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Happy birthday! I hope you had a fabulous day!


Luciane at said...

Great post, Debra. I have a passion for barns... no kidding! My husband even laughs at me... LOL

By the way, don`t worry about the email. :-)


Luciane at

Unknown said...

this post was so interesting! i love the idea of having a barn, it looks like there are a few interesting ones in your neighborhood!

Fancy {No}Pants

quintessence said...

I'd love to have a renovated barn - such a wonderful aesthetic! My best friend's pool house is an old barn and it is the ultimate in rustic chic!!

Decor de Provence said...

You have an amazing eye, every barn gets me itching to build one of my own... too bad there is no room on our lot... dang! You're one lucky lady!

I hope all is well my dear!

Anonymous said...

I just happened across this site and your pictures are lovely, and very nicely taken. Brought back old memories of when I was a kid on the farm.


Good designing work,i really like it . Big salute to you.

Home Renovation

Unknown said...

I love what you're doing. We have a 1920's barn that we are turning into student housing and professional apartments.

Very nicely done!

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