Oct 30 2010

I have noticed that some country, fresh air lovers are casual in their approach, and others tend to be more aggressive, making over barns into homes and living spaces. Yes. That’s what I said. There are many resourceful people in the United States turning unused agricultural outbuildings into fine, attractive homes and studios. Especially endearing is the idea of living in the barn while renting out the farmhouse usually found with the barn to pay the mortgage and costs of renovations.

Lyn Johnson in Michigan bought a barn with a floor covered in manure, in true barn style, and fixed it up as a wonderful living space. If you click here, you can visit a web site where Ms. Johnson has posted a slide show and she says,

“It took a hired handyman several days to shovel down to ground zero whereupon I found a solid floor already in place. Power washing gave me even more things to get excited over. Wooden ceiling support beams were felled trees, some still with bark. Rough cut ancient axe marks carved the ends. Though well over a hundred years old, the barn was remarkably solid, in relatively good shape. My creative buttons were pushed, every one of them. I saw beyond what I had to what it could be and for the next several months my local Lowe’s Home Improvement store got to know me on a first-name basis. I no longer saw the little milk house as an office alone but rather the bottom level of the three-story barn as living quarters.

Living in the barn gave me the option of renting the small farmhouse for additional income. It made me think outside the box with other possibilities farm families might consider during tough economic times.”

“I live in a cow barn. The cows left long ago
when the dairy operation seized and original
owners sold the place, but after renovations,
it now has a warm, woodsy back-to-nature feel.”

In her slide show narration, Ms. Johnson explains all of the clever ways she saved money and made use of creative planning. And, Sunbonnet Smart applauds her talent for looking at the bright side of our current economic times when she says, “Had it not been for the tough economic times I might not have entertained the many options sitting right there in front of me, just waiting to be unleashed. It brought to mind Plato’s words that necessity is the mother of invention. True, indeed.

I overheard someone remark recently, “America’s in recession, but I’ve decided not to participate.” I’ve decided not to either. I live in a cow barn — and I’m loving it.”

To preview this well received book on converting your barn into a living space, hover your mouse over this link:

Living Barns: How to Find And Restore a Barn of Your Own (Schiffer Books)

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