Backyard Barn

We spent a few days at the end of this summer putting up a reclaimed barn at the back of my property for my daughter and her husband. We enjoyed beautiful late summer days and with a small crew of 7 people, we were able to re-erect the restored barn in a day.

timber frame roof and joineryMany hands make light work!

crew of timber frame barnIt’s nice to be able to use my skill to help my family out – and of course there is nothing like having my grown kids nearby! On this project, I was also able to use some of the leftover timber and reclaimed wood from other projects. A great recycling project all and all, and one that makes for an eclectic, one-of-a-kind, beauty of a barn.

This barn comes from a two part structure from a farm in New York state. The oldest section was from the 1840s and has been sold to a customer. The barn in this blog was probably added on to the 1840 barn in the 1900s and was not finished with traditional joinery. As a historic piece it has little value, but the timbers are strong and sturdy and I knew it would make a fine shelter for the kids’ farm equipment and hay.

Original new england barn

The original barn under black plastic, circa 1840s. Addition probably 1900, being dismantled.

We dismantled the newer barn first and restored it with traditional joinery. (That means that we let in the bracing and tie timbers with mortise and tenon joinery, instead of just nailing things together.) While this takes a bit more time than using a hammer and nails, it gives the barn a much more authentic, historical and structural look.

Here we are putting up a bent (or side wall).

installing side wall of barnHere the 2×4 roof purlins are being applied. post and beam barn

The recycled metal roof was screwed to the 2x4s.

Restored barn with roof boards

The next step was to build a second floor which you can see (from below) in the next picture.

floor joists are half roundsWe used a mixture of common 2x6s doubled up and half round timbers to create the floor joist system. The flooring is 2 inch planking.

We’ve started the siding by using some newer recycled boards. We will have to cut three feet off the top to find the second floor, but it is doing the job for now. The remainder will be finished with older boards.

Reclaimed wood siding on timber frame barnWe will also be attaching a shed roof to this wall in time. In the picture above, notice the future shed wall sill and top plate timbers in front of the tractor.

The ground level of the barn is for storing mowing equipment while the second floor is for storing hay. As you can see below – it’s already in use!

second floor of hay barn in useWhile the barn is highly functional and my son-in-law is pleased, this barn is still a work in progress. As we gather more siding from other jobs, we plan to wrap the frame entirely with siding that doesn’t make the grade for our paying customers.

Here’s how the frame looks today. We should have all the siding on by Thanksgiving.

recycled siding for timber frame walls

Interested in having your own barn home or backyard barn? Let us know!

The Milkhouse


The Milkhouse  – a fun project to complete in a week, not months!

Historic Timber frame restoration

I traded this nearly un-restorable milkhouse in exchange for a playhouse for my grandchildren. The milkhouse needed some TLC, and was one of the smaller projects of our summers work. I am very pleased with how this little button of a building came out.

The frame measures 8’x10′ and was originally built in 1930.

My friend asked me to turn the little milkhouse into a backyard getaway spot where he can read, play music and find his muse beneath the rustic decor. Eventually, we plan to add a porch and another window, but for now it is ready to use.

We spent a good deal of time working on the roof. This next set of pictures shows our process.

Working on the roof of small Vermont post and beam compare

Below you can see it in the new location, but not yet restored. That’s the old playhouse in the background.

Restored Barn frame Milkhouse

One benefit of working on this little building was that it allowed me to use up some of the vintage wood and other salvaged materials that I have been saving from previous projects.

The “novelty” siding in this picture, for example, was salvaged from another barn. This kind of siding started to become popular around 1900.

Novelty Siding in timber frame milkhouse

Novelty siding

The vintage flooring was also left over material from another project. Here it helps warm up the white wash walls.

Vintage Timber frame with vintage flooring

Vintage flooring

The roofing was recycled as well – from the restored barn I worked on in Pawlet in 2012.

Opposing side of barn restored

Recycled, restored roof

Since I got to use up all these odds and ends, my workshop and yard are starting to look rather tidy and spacious, ready to fill with new vintage material for future barn restoration projects. So do let me know if you hear about available barns! I am always interested in at least looking at them.

Coming soon:

Here’s a closeup of the playhouse for which I traded the milkhouse. I built the playhouse over 30 years ago for my children, sold it to friends for their daughter, and it’s now coming back home to be restored for our family’s next generation. Stay tuned!

Timber Frame antique kids playhouse

Kids’ Playhouse

Interested in living in a restored barn home? Have a timber frame available for sale? Please let me know! 

Summer Restoration – The 1780s Corn Crib Revisited

I’ve had a busy spring and summer, restoring a number of vintage timber frames that were originally from Ira, Vermont and picking up a few other projects in between.

You may remember this corn crib that I first wrote about back in November. I am happy to report that we found an owner for this frame and its new home is in northern Vermont.

Vermont Post and beam corn Crib

Corn Crib from Ira, VT

While relatively small at only 450 square feet, this lovely, hand hewn beech wood frame boasts two floors.

Restoring timber frame roof

Dismantling the crib.

With the help of a wonderful crew, Green Mountain Timber Frames has carefully restored this frame – down to every detail including the famous signature stairway.

Restored Wooden Stairwell

Restored Wooden Stairwell

Here are a few pictures of the frame during the re-erection process:

Reerecting historic barn Old Barn Restoration

We were able to save most of the original roof, wall and floor boards on the interior, so the barn will maintain much of the look it had when it was built 240 years ago.

We wish the owner many happy days and nights in this new-old out building. Freshly restored, it can now be of use another two centuries.

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I really value historic structures and am always looking for the gems – the true diamonds in the rough. Do you have an old barn you want to sell? Are you looking for a timber frame to turn into a beautifully renovated home? Please give me a call: 802.774.8972.

 

What Goes Up…Must Come Down

Moving the Gunstock Frame to Its New Home

After a lovely sojourn at Sissy’s Restaurant here in Middletown Springs, VT, it was time for this beautiful historic gunstock timber frame to be taken down and moved to its new home.

Vermont Timber Frames in Middletown Springs

Roof board removal at Sissy’s

With help from Sue – otherwise known as the Vermont JeepGirl – the crew here at Green Mountain Timber Frames worked carefully to take down the frame, piece by piece. 

Vermont Jeep Girl Sue helps us move the historic timber frame

Sue and her crane help us take down the historic timber frame

Timber Frame Barn Homes in Vermont

Dismantling

After carefully dismantling this Vermont post and beam frame, we moved it to its new home where it will become the framework for a beautiful timber frame barn.

Dismantling Vermont Timber Frames

Taking Down the Gunstock Timber Frame

Once the frame was taken down, we moved it 120 miles to its new home where it will stand the test of time for another 250 years – or more.

Our small crew of 5 guys worked a total of 300 hours, beginning work on a Sunday at 4 pm and finishing this fine timber frame barn on the following Friday. Since we were miles from home and our friends and family, the team worked from dawn to dusk to finish the project, carefully joining the historic beams back together.

We were lucky enough to have weather on our side. With only one afternoon downpour,  we all came home a little tanner.

Vermont Post and Beam Homes

Reassembling the timber frame barn

The finished timber frame will have a copper, standing seam roof which should protect the barn for about 100 years.

Vermont Historic Barn Raising

The Newly Raised Barn – to stand another 250 years!

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If you are interested in a timber frame barn homes or in seeing one of the old barns for sale at Green Mountain Timber Frames, please contact us!

New Old Barn in Vermont

As Vermont finally thaws out from a long, dreary mud season, I’m getting excited here exploring old barns and finding treasures. Spring is high season for a timber framer and I am counting the hours until Tuesday. I’ll be over at our friend Sissy’s erecting the Gunstock Timber Frame that I’ve been writing about of late.

Meanwhile, I’m getting calls about lots of timber frames homes and barns around and it seems I just don’t have enough time to check them all out.

It’s remarkable how many old barns and historic properties exist just within the area where I live.

Last week, I headed down to a property in Danby, VT to check out a Gambrel Roof style home that was built in the 1800s.  Gambrel roofs originated in Europe, but the term gambrel is an American one. The older, European name was a “curb roof.” In the US, gambrel roofs are sometimes called Dutch gambrel. They can be identified by the double slope on each side of the roof. Gambrel roofs allow for more living space on the second floor than in a traditional roof slope.

danby vermont timber frame home

Gambrel Style Roof in Danby, VT

This timber frame home measures 28×38 feet. It’s for a sure a diamond in the rough, but the gambrel lovers out there will love the gunstock posts. The house has got a hardwood frame, too, so it’s built to last.

Danby VT Timber Frame for sale

On the same property is an old milk house, built around 1900. With some restoration, it could make a great small out building or garden shed.

Vermont Milkhouse old barn

Cutest little milkhouse

If you would like to visit any of these barns – or learn more about all the details (I can always talk barn) please let me know. I’m trying to help out the owner and find someone to love these old frames and all of the magical history they hold. – Dan www.greenmountaintimberframes.com

Why Buy an Old Barn?

The truth is – not everyone wants to live in an old barn. Vintage timber frame barn homes, like most historic properties, are for a certain kind of person. Having done this work for nearly 30 years, I’ve had the chance to meet all types of people who are interested in owning a barn home or transforming a historic timber frame into an office, studio or barn.

What my clients and colleagues share is an appreciation for history and for preserving the memories, the craftsmanship and the artistic talents of a former generation. Old barns exude a warmth and a feeling that just appeals to some people.

Over the years, I have built many new timber frames as well, and they, too, feel great. Owners love the vintage style and the look of the exposed post and beams.

But the old barn houses somehow remind the owners of times past – like you are suddenly a kid again visiting your grandparents or reliving a 4th grade class trip when you were able to step back into history.

Perhaps it’s the timbers talking…

Old Barn Homes, Restored Timber Frames,

Historic Timber Frame Barn in New England

So why buy a historic barn?

You buy a historic barn because you want to preserve our New England heritage. Maybe you want to imagine what it was like in 1816 when Vermont had no summer, frost every month and you wondered if you would even have any crops left to put in the barn. Maybe you decided to move west after that year. Maybe you took your barn with you!  Or left it behind, abandoned but not forgotten, for other poor souls hoping for a better growing season in 1817.

When you restore an old barn, you get to sit in a building that was standing while the United State of America fought Britain for its freedom. It was standing when Lincoln freed the slaves, when Lewis and Clark went canoeing, when Dickens had yet to gripe about Christmas.

And the trees themselves? Were they around before Columbus sailed and da Vinci was sketching out the Mona Lisa?

If you have a taste for history and antiques, on old barn home may be the perfect way to surround yourself with what you love. In an old barn, you can curl up at night under centuries-old timbers and listen to the stories they tell.

Historic Vermont Timberframe Barn

Timber Frame Barn from Colonial America

To see some of the timber frames I have available for restoration, please check out: timber frames for salehttp://www.greenmountaintimberframes.com/