Our recycled barn as it looks today.
Our recycled barn as it looks today.

100% nuts! Looking back – that’s what we were! The idea came with a simple pencil drawing over the winter of 2010-2011. It was what we hoped would someday become the barn to our little farm. I’m not even sure how it really started, but the dream grew from that little drawing. Our hope was to be able to build the barn using some reclaimed lumber from an old barn. What it became was a project of tearing down two barns and building a new one from it.

It started as a wishful drawing in the fall of 2010.

As we get ready to host our first ever barn party this weekend – we took a second to look back in photos at our once in a lifetime project.

I will be the first to tell anyone we are not barn builders. We did a lot of things completely backwards : i.e. – who puts up walls before a roof, and even more – who starts hanging signs in the barn for decoration without a roof! But we built things when we could and when we found materials. So it didn’t always follow traditional building plans. We re-used and recycled everything we could find a use for – like the old roof barn to become our new barn’s lower siding. But we had a vision – and we stayed the course with a lot of help from friends and family – and a lot of advice from a lot of people.

Late 2010 – A big pile of overgrown brush waits to be cleared.

And now that it’s finished – We can reveal some of the scarier moments along the way. Like that the reason we waited so long for the roof was I was completely unsure how to build it. But we figured it out 🙂 We can also now say we had no idea how we would tear down the Cardington barn or dad’s by ourselves and haul it back – but we did it. And we can now say – that we really had no idea how we would ever be able to make our barn doors from the old floor boards – but we somehow figured it out. And we had a blast along the way. Yes – there were injuries and losses – the smashing of many of Mary and I’s fingers – the knocking myself out when a board snapped me in the head – or Mary running over and destroying her cellphone with a 25′ rollback truck. But they were all worth it! So here it is without the pain – the barn raising in photos:


October 2010. It took us an entire weekend – but the brush is cleared and mowed off.
Early in April of 2011 – we marked out the barn with some string and stakes.
June 2011.  Leveling the land. Our neighbor Dave came in with his bulldozer and leveled off space for the barn pad. He has some serious grading skills and is amazing to watch work.
July 2011 – We tear down the Cardington Barn piece by piece and haul back to the farm. Sore – Sore – Sore nights!!!
Late July 2011 – Next up  came the digging of the poles. I have to say a bobcat and an auger bit are much easier on the body than digging by hand!
First of August 2011. Mary and I set the 6x6x16′ poles one by by one over the course of one weekend – Neither of us could move for another week! 🙂
2nd week of August 2011. Taking a break from our pole setting – we tear down Dad’s barn with the help of Family and Friends. It should be noted this went much smoother and easier on the muscles with the added help of extra hands taking it apart!
Mid August  2011.  So not the normal way to build a barn – but we started to put up the lower walls with the roof from dad’s barn. We wanted to make sure it fit and looked good.
Mid August 2011.  So who needs a roof when you can put up walls. We had the boards so next went the rough sawn pine. We milled down the old board from dad’s barn to use as the batten strips. We also brought out the doors from the house and leaned them up where they would eventually be hung.
1st of September 2011.  Still waiting for the roof – we decided to go ahead and hang the “fresh egg sign” we had made from the old floorboards from the Cardington Barn.  Its neat looking back and seeing how much deeper blue the sky becomes in the fall
2nd week of September 2011.  We cut all of the rafters in a few days – the hardest part was making the first one.  This is where the pergola building skills payed off !!  At least we were used to making a lot of precise cuts!
1st of October 2011.  Finally – with some HUGE help from my brother Bob and two brother-in-laws Brian and Rob and a nephew Ryan – we put up all of the rafters on a beautiful fall day. Family can save you!
Late October 2011.  We began the process of putting up the roof.  Mary and I would put up a panel or two each trip – then we had some late help to finish it off from a good friend Nate and my brother-in-law Brian again.
December 2011.  With the roof on – and over the course of the winter months – we installed the loft and began to close in the upper sides.
Late February, 2012 –   We installed the barn doors that had been leaning there “pretending” to be hung. It was a great feeling to finally close the doors with a roll.
March / April 2012 – Finally, something we know how to do 🙂  We began to mount the barn pergola in early spring.
Late April 2012.  Barn pergola finished up and stained – on to the landscaping!
May 2012.  In between spring rains – we also began work on the back landscaping wall – first up – installing all of the drain tile to carry water away from the hill behind the barn.
Continuing on with the back wall project – we installed boulders to create a break in the hill and to allow for landscaping all around barn
Barn back wall finished up – all of the transplants just need to a year or two now to fill in
Late Mary 2012.  It was nice to finally have the gutters installed – it allowed us to finally get the water holding tanks set up and working.
Late May 2012 – one of our biggest accomplishments – getting the rainwater collection system installed. It has allowed us to water all year through a hot summer with 100% reclaimed rain water. So far to date – we have used over 1000 gallons of rainwater in the garden.
June 2012.  Next up – using all of the reclaimed brick to make the patio – this didn’t really take too long – we had it finished up within a couple of days.
Barn Patio finished up!
The Barn Doors We Made From Barn Floors

The Barn As It Stands in September 2012
The Barn
The Barn

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22 thoughts on “A Barn Raising In Photos – How to Build A Barn When You Haven’t a Clue How to Do So.

  • June 7, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Nice little pole barn.You weren’t wrong in boarding the walls before putting the roof on.Makes it stiffer when setting rafters.If I can figure out how to send pics, I’ll show you a real barn raising by dummies.My son’s 50 x 55 bank barn was partly destroyed by a tornado in 09.Lost the roof,one and a half walls, and a lot of hay.My dad said just burn the rest.My boy said, think we can rebuild it,I said,only one way to find out.In September of 2011 around 9pm, the last screw went in the roof.This was old school building. Post and beam,with mortise and tendon and wood pins hold it together.Three 50′ plus 8×8 beams we timbered and milled on site, plus what other wood we needed.We salvaged what we could,bought some beams from a neighbor who was tearing down a old barn,and made the rest. Had a little from help from friends,but for the most part,it was my son,his mom,myself,and my daughter when she was home from vet school. I’m still amazed when I look at it,how in the hell did we do it. I’ll see what I can do on pics of it

  • May 2, 2014 at 5:44 am

    My grandparents always said ” Where there’s a will, there’s a way!” Maybe you did it a little backwards but it came out beautiful!! Enjoy ! =)

  • October 19, 2013 at 7:32 am

    This is so lovely. I really think its amazing on a number of levels. Could u let me know what the inside functions like now, if u installed shelving, what u used for the inside flooring if anything, and where u sourced your barn door hardware. Thx folks!

  • August 17, 2013 at 2:08 pm

    Awesome, so the barn made it through the derecho? We just live 2.5 hours southeast of you and after cruising your blog awhile we are apparently very similar… 🙂

    • September 19, 2013 at 6:08 pm

      Somehow – we just noticed your comment that you made on the blog awhile back..so sorry we didn’t respond right away! Yes – our barn made it through safely! So are you in Ohio or PA?

  • January 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    What are the dimensions of the barn? This is exactly what we’ve been looking for! Are the plans available? Great job – we are new to your site/blogs and love your information. Thank you

    • January 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      Hi Cindy – We are glad you enjoy the website! The barn measures 32 x 24 – with an open rafter roof system. We ended up making the rafters and collar ties ourselves so that we would have lots of open space inside and not have the standard pole barn trusses that seem to make it feel smaller. As for plans – we really don’t have anything drawn up other than our original drawing of what we wanted – simply because we had to adjust along the way with using reclaimed lumber from the two old barns. – Jim

  • November 2, 2012 at 6:09 pm


    • October 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Thank you so much – We hope your husband can forgive us 🙂

  • September 9, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Wow! You must be so pleased! And tired! Amazing work!

    Thanks for sharing at The All Star Block Party!

  • September 6, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    Beautiful. We have the rock walls of an old barn on our property, and it is currently up for debate if the are salvageable… We’ll see.

  • July 30, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Your barn is absolutely gorgeous! A nice addition to your farm. I have an old barn on my farm that but would love to build a more modern useful barn to have barn sales in. Love it!

  • July 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Love it! I love that you reused and moved an old barn. And the new setting and landscaping is just gorgeous.

  • July 24, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Phew … have a good roofwetting party, you certainly deserve it.

  • July 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Awesome. Love looking at the process.

    • July 25, 2012 at 5:28 pm

      It wasn’t until we looked at the pictures that I think we both realized how much work went into it! 🙂

  • July 24, 2012 at 11:43 am

    It’s beautiful! We are getting ready to build a pole barn that we’ll use as our home. We’re cheating though and hiring out the labor. 😛

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