Restoring or repurposing a barn is an ecologically sustainable practice, and helps preserve a barn that may have otherwise been lost. Below are some of the completed and in progress projects of the Iowa Barn Savers.
The Bank Barn
— near New Boston, Illinois
The Bank Barn was built in the 1850s along the banks of the Mississippi River by William Drury, the largest landowner in the area. In 1919, the property was purchased by the Willits family, who continue to live in the area and farm the land. After disuse of the barn and the passing of time, the barn was in need of major repairs. Members of the Willets family worked with the Iowa Barn Savers in the summer of 2016 on the second phase of the restoration project.
With larger timbers and greater open spaces, the American barns often have a cathedral like presence that is less common in European barns.
“It’s gratifying to have 3 generations of family members helping to restore the barn. We replaced sill plates, summer beams, and the main posts, which had rotted due to moisture in the ground from the Mississippi River. This is a multi phased project, but the barn is now structurally secure,” Lorin.
"It’s obvious that everyone on the land in the 1800s really cared about the property and the barn.
We used a hand ax to shape some of the beams in order to match the original work. We harvested logs off of the property for the repairs and put them into the barn. It’s amazing to be adding the same forest back into the same building 175 years later."
A historic preservation trust has been established to direct the restoration of the barn and several buildings on the property, including the three storied main house. http://www.verdurette.org/in-the-news.html
Lake Sundown Home Barn
— near Centerville, Iowa
Hand hewn in the 1870s, this Wisconsin barn was brought back to life as a new lake home for an Iowan family. The exposed 10-inch thick beams, with their original ax marks, pegs, and joinery, create a spacious (30 ft tall) great room with unique character.
When considering construction of their new home, the Iowan family wanted to find a barn that had fell into disuse, and give it new life as a home. Repurposing a barn to become a home is an ecologically sustainable practice, and helps preserve a barn that may have otherwise been lost.
The Iowa Barn Savers meticulously dismantled, packaged, and transported the barn to its’ new location. The barn was reassembled onto a new foundation and augmented with modern insulation and siding.
Unlike the original barn raising in the 1870s, the Iowa Barn Savers employed a crane to help raise the frame.
"We're always sitting up here wondering, 'How did the Amish do it?” Lorin chuckled. “Once the boards and beams are locked into place, it's almost as if the barn sighs and relaxes back into its intended shape.”
The lake home barn now stands renewed and sturdy as a lakeside home for this family and even future generations.
The Prairie Barn
— Madison County, Iowa
Fritz James, a Des Moines executive, has created a prairie retreat on 150 acres in Madison County. Passionate about restoring the land to its’ natural beauty, Fritz spent years removing non-native species and reintroducing prairie grasses and floral species.
After seeing 2 neighboring historic barns torn down, Fritz wanted to save a historic structure and reassemble it on the property. Through Iowa Barn Savers, James bought a 120 year-old timber frame barn to reassemble in the western corner of the hilltop prairie.
Produced by Patrick Gannon (patrickjgannon.com)
Cinematography by Charlie Stover (stoverfilms.com)
Fritz uses the barn to store two tractors and some other equipment. Except for added windows to take in the view of the valley, the barn has been kept much the same as it has for the past 120 years.
“I want to keep it pure and cathedral-like,” he says. “I regard it as a piece of art. I hope it can be enjoyed for another 100 years.” Fritz remarked.
Here's another barn project that was converted to house (upstairs) / stable (downstairs) – BEAUTIFUL
The new owner incorporated beams and boards from our barn into a new log home. What a stunning result!
Other Beautiful Results
Other projects where reclaimed barn wood produces beautiful results and showcases your house, your workplace or your vacation home!
Washington Hay Barn
1860's Timber Frame Hay Barn Restoration in HD Time lapse with aerials at the Coast of Washington. Family and Friends restore a old Hay Barn from Iowa, salvaged by Iowa Barn Savers in Gutenberg Iowa. Back Country Builders from Bend Oregon reconstruct the Timber Frame, side the structure with old boards towards the inside, and then assemble an exterior cedar Board and bat siding. The exterior siding is from Better than Barn Wood from Eugene Oregon, they make cedar boards look like authentic old barn siding.
Music: Talking with You, by Aryll Fae
Longhorn Bull by Wood Sculptor:
Timber Frame salvaged from:
Timber Frame Builders: