Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Labor of Barn Love

We are working on putting our farm in conservation easement.  The group that is doing all the really hard work pulled together some old photos (for a presentation to the Board for final approval).  I had forgotten what a labor of love our farm had been although part of me wanted to forget all about it (a story for another day - let's just say this will be the last renovation I'll ever do).  But our barn was about to collapse and we wanted badly an old house and an old barn.  So we tackled it.  Most people assumed we would tear it down.

Here's what it used to look like:

 I don't know when this picture was taken - it has some age to it as the barn looked much worse than this we bought it.  The annex that is on the west side totally collapsed and left a hole in the side.  You could see through three sides of the barn and we used 7500 linear feet of poplar to replace the wood.  Most of the wood on the barn was replaced.  A new galvanized steel roof was added with gutters.  There was a spring inside the barn below where my horses now live.  This fence line was not here when we purchased the property and there was junk everywhere. Sometimes I wonder what were we thinking?

This is what it looks like today:

Now we have a fully functional barn with six stalls, feed room, tack room, wash stall, concrete aisle, baseboard heat and there is room upstairs for a basketball court, literally.  The upstairs is three stories high. I have no idea what we'll do when we need to change a light bulb.  We had a car and boat upstairs at one time.  

If we had not renovated this when we did, we would not be able to do it now, sadly.  The price of the roof has more than doubled, wood has gone up exponentially so it would probably be out of reach to do the type of restoration that we did, so we are lucky.  The barns in the Shenandoah Valley were burned during the War of Northern Aggression (The Civil War) so the only ones that were left standing were brick.  Ours dates to the late 1800's.  I hope it will live another 150 years!

This is my view most mornings.  This photo was taken this summer. This morning was spectacular.  So in the end I think it was worth it!



  1. It was definitely worth it! This is truly beautiful! I wish you could see my sister in law's barn that she re-did! It's called Rolling Hills in Sterret, Alabama if you want to look it up! Loved this post!

  2. So the horses are in the bottom bank part? I love a bank barn! The stallions are in a bank barn at Iron Spring Farm and it was so fantastic- warm in winter, cool in summer.


  3. Heroic. You did something important, something valuable to America and Virginia.

  4. The barn looks great! You are living the dream! ;-)

  5. Great transformation! The state of its 'before' version couldn't possibly function right. Steel is a great choice for roof; cheap and with ease of installation, they could be easily replaced. Moreover, they have a long lifespan particularly when painted with technologically advance paint that guarantees 10 years of no-rust and no-fade appearance.
    → Elizabeth @

  6. That's a beautiful barn! I'm glad you have it renovated. With its space capacity, it would be a waste to leave it rotting and empty. I hope it's still in good shape and still functioning well by now. Take care of the roof and siding, especially. Galvanized steel roof is a perfect choice; they last almost a lifetime. Sarai @

  7. What a dramatic change! Yeah, what were you thinking leaving it old? Glad you have it refurbished; I hope it's still in good shape. Just don't forget to have the roof and sidings checked every now and then. This barn sure has some charm.


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