My husband, John, wanted two things out of our remodel, a garage and a wine-making room. Just kidding. Part of our remodel involves a stand alone barn which will house a two-car garage, wine-making room, and a guest apartment upstairs. Our architect, Bill Bocken, was very clever to cloak all of this into a barn. Our trees and landscaping soften the barn, and immediately give the barn a presence as if it has been on our property for a long time.
The two large openings you see in the above photo will be actual sliding barn doors, which will look west to our garden, vineyard, and the ocean horizon. Our barn will be multi-use and functional for a variety of activities. It will be a working barn.
On a recent trip back to the Chicago area, traveling south and west into the farm heartland, I was captured by the beauty of the many working family farms and open land of rich earth. Trees were carefully planted around the family home and center of the farm for protection. You could often see the original barn of the farm homestead abandoned for safety reasons, but sometimes still standing and making an aesthetic impression on the landscape.
There is a great green movement to recycle precious floors, beams, and materials from these abandoned barns and buildings, rather than have them lost to landfill and further decay. Theses materials can live on, be re-purposed and enjoyed for anther 100 years.
Some barns, like this white barn in the photo below, still function and thrive today. This former dairy barn is part of an 1830's farmstead in Woodstock, Illinois, majestically morphed into an ideal setting for a garden antique business, Kimball & Bean.
It is nearly impossible to photograph with true justice this incredible barn. I wasn't able to capture and show you the massive length of this barn, or that it is two stories high. Hopefully, I was able to show you its charm and enduring presence.
If you are ever near the community of Woodstock, Illinois, take the time to visit their picturesque town square and Kimball & Bean Garden Antiques, a few miles outside of town. My husband and I hope to recreate some of the charm and enduring presence with our own barn, that we saw in the barns in the Midwest farm heartland.
Did you visit or have a barn growing up? Please share, if you know of a barn now that has been saved and reinvented for something wonderful? Please comment on why you think barns are so wonderful.