Spacious, Hardwood 1840s Timber Frame – For Sale

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We’ve named it the Meadow Barn. 

1_”34’x46’ hand hewn, hardwood timbered barn frame”

This beautifully kept timber frame barn, hailing all the way from Northern Indiana, was built amidst the prairies and the corn fields.

Former “meadow barn” surrounded by soybeans

Throughout the winter, the barn was used to store hay. The 34 X 46 foot structure stood far from the farmhouse itself, but strategically within the fields so that the balers wouldn’t have to transport the hay too far. Come springtime, the farmers could come back for the hay.

Who Built This Beautiful Barn?

The timber frame was likely built by New England timber hewers. Around the same period, in the 1840s, New England was adapting to water-powered saw mills. This meant the demand for craftsmen, who were skilled in creating square timbers using only axes and adzes, was on the way out. So the hewers headed west for new opportunities. 

What Makes This Barn So Remarkable?

While New Englanders had cut down most of the eastern hardwood trees and started building  with soft woods like pine, hemlock and spruce, Northern Indiana offered forests rich with hard wood timber. This frame was built from beautiful, first-cut red and white oak, beech, black walnut and ash.

Pic 2_Gable end wall, loft space possible in roof rafters

Wonderful White Oak Roof Boards

Because hard woods were still prevalent in Indiana, even the roof boards on this barn are hard wood. In fact, the white oak boards are so beautiful, the new owner could use them to make stunning flooring.

White Oak Roof boards restored by Green Mountain Timber Frames.JPG

In the picture below, you can see the full length, hand hewn timbers.

Pic 4,_Loft space evident

The following picture showcases the soft, warm colors of the hardwood.

Lovely color of hardwood hewn timbers

Standing the Test of Time – An Old Barn in Excellent Condition

The frame itself is in excellent condition, with straight lines that have stood up to over 165 years of grueling winters and winds in the mid-western plains.

Picture 6_Simple geometry survives  165+ years of prairie winds

Endless Possibilities

Spacious and sturdy, this frame offers an expansive 1560 square feet of space, with the option for a second floor. We could easily add in a loft system in the rafters.

This barn frame could become a great room or a complete home. It could also become a restored barn, restaurant, studio or vintage vehicle storage.

Want to Call This Beautiful Frame Your Own?

Give us a call at (802) 774.8972 or email Luke@GreenMountainTimberFrames.com

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! 

Top Five Reasons to “Go Old”

For those of us who have been restoring old timber frames for years, the magic of these buildings goes without saying. But in the more than 30 years since founding Green Mountain Timber Frames,  I have often been asked about the benefits of “going old.” Many customers wonder about the reasons to buy and restore an old frame rather than building a brand new timber frame which replicates the style of a certain era.

Timber Frame Restoration in new england

Timber frame during restoration in Rupert, VT

Timber frame Old Barn restored in Vermont

Post restoration, the completed barn

For those of you who may be considering restoring an old New England barn – or any historic building for that matter – this blog is meant to highlight some of the best reasons to go old.

So here they are – in no particular order – my own assessment of the top five reasons to invest in restoring a vintage timber frame!

1) Respect for History

The United States of America is a relatively young country. In many ways we lack a rich architectural heritage like that of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. As our society moves ever faster, we tend to put an emphasis on consumerism and acquisition, promoting what’s new and forsaking the old.

It is up to us to preserve the historical artifacts that remain from our not-so-distant past.

The old barns that dot New England’s landscape tell of a time when colonialists from Europe ventured across the vast Atlantic in hopes of creating a better life for their families. They and their decedents built these barns, and also fought in the American Revolution and Civil War. It is these same people who created the foundation of our society today.

The structures we preserve at Green Mountain Timber Frames are the homes they lived in, the storehouses that kept their grain dry and the barns that housed their livestock. It is these historic barns that are disappearing, dissolving slowly into the landscape as they fall into disrepair and neglect, or are simply torn down. By saving and restoring an old barn, we are doing our part in preserving the history of this country for generations to come.

2) Preservation Matters

In a society where new things are acquired constantly from box stores, outlets and through Internet transactions, we tend to forget that resources are limited and that not everything, always will be replaceable.

By restoring historic timber frames, we are doing our part in preserving some of the most precious resources of our world. We are reusing wood of the finest quality rather than cutting down new trees and letting old frames rot.

And in addition to the physical preservation, we are preserving stories as well – and a way of life and a style of construction that has long since been replaced by more modern techniques.

3) The Unmatched Elegance of Old Wood

The hand hewn look and feel of old wood cannot be replicated in a building made of new posts and beams. The patina that surfaces after old hand hewn beams have been washed varies greatly, depending on the type of wood: chestnut becomes honey blond; pine becomes dark golden. These beautiful textures cannot be manufactured. Like fine wine, the craftsman’s original art improves with age.

While it may not be scientific or measurable, there is a real sense of magic that comes from living in a building built centuries ago. The romance and the history have soaked into the timbers and each restored barn brings with it a special feel – an energy that seeps through the walls or flickerings of memories from previous owners. Even the finest replicas cannot quite capture the special feeling that comes from living in a historic building.

4) Trees – they don’t make them like they used to!

Timber frames built before 1800 were constructed from trees that had never been intentionally grown and harvested. The forests were “original,” the trees hundreds of years old. In steep contrast to these old growth trees which boast 40-60 growth rings per inch, today’s trees have only 6 to 10 growth rings per inch and are intentionally planted and farmed. The old trees stood close together, allowing for the tight growth rings to form. Structurally, old growth wood is a very different timber with far more strength and fewer knots. The factory wood used today simply cannot compete.

5) Timbers tell stories

Listen carefully and every timber frame will reveal stories about its past. In some frames we have restored, these stories are told in newspapers stuffed between timbers or old coins found buried beneath the floor boards. In others, there are old numbering systems to be deciphered on the original timbers.

Restored word in a colonial post and beam frame

Note the markings on the timbers

Often times, when I first come to visit a historic property, the current owner will tell me a bit of the history of the building. Handed down over the generations, these buildings hold stories of love and family, of tragedies and miracles. Just this past week, I wrote in my blog about the Ira, VT barn that miraculously survived a fire in the early twentieth century.

Each barn comes with its own unique story, a collection of physical evidence and memories that can be felt, heard and learned over the years. Part of the fun of living in an old timber frame is learning about the specific history of that barn. I always enjoy exploring this history together with my clients and trying to uncover as much as I can by speaking to previous owners and neighbors and by making careful observations of the wood.

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Do you think I missed a good reason to restore an old barn? Let me know and we’ll add it to the list!

240 Years Later – Antique Barn Has a New Home

Back in September, I wrote about this available old barn from Ira, Vermont that was awaiting a new owner with a vision for the next two centuries.

Ira Vermont old barn for sale - timber frame barn homesJust six months later, we are pleased to report that this handsome 1770s timber frame has been purchased. After a complete restoration, we will move the gunstock frame in the spring to its new home in northern Vermont.

Despite the mounting snowfall and frigid temperatures here in Vermont, the mucking out process is well under way. Generations of accumulated treasures/trash have been removed from the barn’s five bays. Four of us guys have put in 150 hours hauling out hay, farm implements, bed frames, furniture, metal, lumber ‘too short to save,’ and more!

Our intention is to have a clean interior to allow accurate measurements to be taken. This will enable the architect to make drawings of the current frame, followed by adjustments for the new owner’s dream.

100_4253

Hauling out hay.

In the second bay, underneath the hay, we discovered three horse drawn cultivators.

Horse drawn cultivators in old barn

Second bay – Horse drawn cultivators

The first bay is falling in. We have braced the timber frame to keep it from further sagging. Horse drawn equipment is stored in this bay, but cannot be removed at this time as it is frozen in the earth. In the mean time, we are being careful to protect it.

Findings in historic old barn

Semi-collapsed first bay.
          Horse drawn equipment.

Our next blog will share the story of why this barn did not burn down 85 years ago…

Stay tuned!

Barn Raising – A good week’s work

We had a great time last week getting this vintage timber frame up in Manchester, Vermont. The post and bean frame with hand hewn wood was originally built around 1800, in Middle Granville, NY.

It was a beautiful week and we worked surrounded by the vibrant colors of near-peak foliage and under the watchful eye of Mount Equinox in the background. Thank God,  the weather was perfect!

Here are some pictures showing the highlights:

Manchester VT Raising - Beautifully restored timber frame beams

Beautifully restored timber frame beams

Saturday Restoring Historic Timber frame

Last Saturday’s work – restoring the frame and getting the primary timbers up

Saturday Timber Framing in Manchester VTAfter erecting the main timbers over the weekend, we spent last Monday focused on placing the roof rafters. We also pegged most joints in the frame with wooden trunnels.

Restoring Historic barn in Vermont

With help from a Grade All, and the view of Mount Equinox in the background.

Here we are installing the roof rafters.

Vermont Timber Framing with Mount Equinox in Background

Adding Roof Boards to Manchester Vermont Timber Frame

Adding roof boards to timber frame

Applying roof boards to Vintage Timber Frame

Adding tar paper over roof boards, as we installed the original boards.

Outhouse in Rural Vermont Best Part of Timber framing

An important part of setting up a timber framing work site: moving the outhouse – at arm’s length –  to the proper location.

Finishing Barn Restoration

The completed roof, protected by tar paper.

An Old Fashioned Barn Raising!

Bring Your Camera!
Because it’s time for a barn raising.

On Monday, September 23rd, amid the bright backdrop of Vermont autumn foliage, we’ll be tipping up this beauty of a barn in Manchester, VT.

Originally built around 1800, in Middle Granville, New York, Green Mountain Timber Frames has restored this post and beam gem and will be erecting it on Monday in its new location in Manchester, Vermont!

Dismantling old barn in New York

We headed to Middle Granville, New York to carefully dismantle the original barn piece by piece a couple of years ago.

Restoring historic timber frame

Taking down the historic timber frame in New York

The original barn frame measured 31′ x 51’, but we have shortened it to 41 feet in length, per the request of new owners.

In the photo below, you can see the process we went through to carefully adjust most of the beams. We added in tie timbers where the windows will be placed in the new barn garage.

Renovating Vermont timberframe barn home

Adjusting the timbers and adding in tie timbers for windows

This barn stood beside a house built in 1804, but by our estimates, the barn itself was built several years earlier. Here you can see the majestic, wide beams that make up this historic timber frame.

Huge timbers from 1800s historic home

Interested in seeing a barn raising?  We’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Please contact Green Mountain Timber Frames for questions about historic timber frame barn homes, old barns for sale, barn raisings and more!

Waiting for the perfect frame for your barn style home?

Remember This Beauty of an Old Barn I Wrote About Awhile Back?

Ira Vermont old barn for sale - timber frame barn homes

Ira, Vermont – Antique Timber Frames for Sale!

Well this barn’s still for sale!

The Ira, Vermont farmer continues to hope that someone will save his 1770s gunstock frame.

The original barn is a 32’x40’ hand hewn, modified gunstock timber frame with hardwood timbers and gorgeous wide plank siding and roof boards. In the 19th century, two timber frame additions were added to this historic property, making it much larger today – 32’x87′. The slate roof is still in great condition and adds incredible value to the frame.

My Love For Historic Barns

I’ve driven by this old frame for years and it is one of my favorite historic properties in Vermont. Apart from the beauty of the old post and beam barn itself, the barn is full of original horse powered equipment tools that will be included with the sale of the barn.

The Magic of Barn Homes

If this barn became a custom built timber frame home, the small touches of horse-drawn equipment could help bring a rustic feel into the newly restored living space. Here are a few of the treasures we found inside:

Treasures inside Vermont Timber frames

Horse Tack in Vermont Barn

Horse Tack

We’re eager to help save this historic gem. The farmer is offering the barn and all the contents at a very fair price for anyone interested.

Did we mention there’s a corn crib?

There is a smaller timber frame – a classic Vermont corn crib – right out back on the same property in Ira, Vermont. This addition could be an entryway, guest house or office in your barn style home. Someone has expressed interest in it, but it may still be available.

Timber Frame Old Barn Corn Crib

Timber Frame Corn Crib

Help us save these barns! Please pass the word along.

If you would like to visit these barns – or learn more about historic post and beam homes – please contact me. I began timber framing because I respect this time honored craft.  I’m trying to help the owner find someone to love this old timber frame and all of the history it holds.

www.greenmountaintimberframes.com