If barns could talk, they would tell stories of hard work and farm life. Antique barns have history and most, if not all, housed animals. Our barn dates back to 1850 or so and had animal residents. We know that because there are stalls that have chewed timbers and hay remnants still exist in between floorboards. Our barn has not had animals in at least fifty years, maybe longer. Previous owners used it has a garage for a single vehicle, storage, and a dog kennel.
In 1997 we purchased our connected farmhouse with a forty-by-forty barn. There was not a thought that the barn would be a place to hang out. Our lives were busy back then, no leisure time for hanging out in a barn. I was launching my business of retail combined with design services, and my husband was deep into establishing his own business. In addition, we were going to tackle DIY remodeling projects on the house, and we owned rental properties that needed to be tended to. There was no time for barn parties. The barn was a warehouse.
Flash forward, life goes in cycles and changes happen. The internet changed life the most. It provided the ability to work from home and it changed the landscape of retail nudging me to make business changes. In addition, our home remodeling projects were being completed yet more real estate was purchased that required work and attention. We were on a pretty big treadmill for about fifteen years.
In 2015 we made bigger changes; I eliminated the retail component of my business and focused on design services, custom cabinet design and sales, and custom window treatment design and sales. We created two offices in our home and moved our work there. The building that housed our business was remodeled and furnished to be a vacation rental. We are still on the treadmill but carving out blocks of time for a bit more leisure and starting to purge the barn.
At this point in this post, you may just want to know about the barn makeover. However, the makeover wasn’t simply a project to start and finish. It was an evolution over many years. Purge, pile, purge, pile, year after year. It was a struggle to maintain a path to the trash bins. There was not enough time or interest for the barn to be more than a warehouse.
Maybe it was the wedding barn phenomenon and Instagram that started to change the way we thought of our barn. What? A barn could be a cool place to hang out? Game on.
As a home designer I have the ability to see what a space can look like with intended remodel. I could envision a decluttered barn transformed into a rustic casual relaxed living area. Now I had to help my husband see it. And he did "see it"; then he too was ready to create a cool place.
Ok enough about that, the point is sometimes projects don’t happen overnight; it requires a shift in the mindset to tackle big projects. Let’s look at the photos to so you can see why facing big piles of stuff is a daunting task.
Our barn in present day for us non-famers.
Now let's go back in time...When the barn was a disorganized warehouse.
Step one: clear it out. That was the hardest part. This was July of 2018. The starting point.
Next, add string lights. That always suggests a party.
The barn as it progresses over the years. It was an evolution. All of the furnishings are pieces we already had in the barn.
This makeover started in the summer of 2018 and has continued and progressed over the years. In 2020 we opened the back hinged doors; that took much effort to reinforce the doors since they had not been opened in over twenty years. 2021 the third floor was taken out and that wood used on the barn mudroom remodel. Today the "Barn Lounge" is a place where we spend most of our time in the warm months. We now have two TVs, Sonos, and a well-stocked bar.
Life is good. Be patient. Enjoy the journey.
Flowers from my garden and a snippet of Barn Lounge living.
Old barn information: