I am the first to admit that I am a very passionate person and very driven. Once I set my mind on something I will do everything in my power to make it happen.
This is what happened with the barn.
I walked down there about three weeks ago. She was standing there, damp, dirty, cold and filled with stuff. We have always felt privileged to be her 'guardian'. A responsibility to look after the beauty and history of her.
She has been untouched since we moved to the farm because we wanted to be 100% on what we were going to do to her. It was a little tricky because we didn't want to touch the building structurally. But for it to be a warm, clean comfortable space we needed to do something. So as I stood there looking past the damp, dirt, poo, and accumulate stuff I finally worked out a way to make it happen.
The barn is divided into two parts. One part was used to shear sheep and the other as the stables. I decided to start in the small shearing side. The floors were covered in wooden slats. I wasn't sure what I would find under them, but they needed to come up as they were rotten and there was a ridiculous amount of sheep poo composting underneath. Once I removed the slats and dug away the poo I found the most beautiful bricked floor underneath. I can't explain the beauty and detail that has been put into this building. The craftsmanship is mind blowing. So the kids and I spent the following weekend scraping 100 year old sheep poo off the beautiful bricks. As we scraped the children tried to imagine the people that had laid the bricks, how they had used the barn, what life must have been like.
My heart was exploding with joy!
The other side of the barn is a much larger space. There is still the original feeding trough and gates. The floor in this side of the barn is one of the many features that needed to remain. The bricks have been laid to form a drain so that the waste could be washed away. (you can see the detail in the photo below) Ben suggested hiring a pressure hose to remove the remainder of the poo and dirt from the floors and walls. That was a fun and satisfying job. Very quickly we could see the actual colours of the bricks and just how stunning she was going to look.
The following week I arranged for a carpenter to come and build a wall, in the shearing side, for a toilet and sink to go in. They also built some frames for some glass panels and doors. A couple of days, after the carpenters had finished, I arranged for a plumber to come and install a wood heater. A glazier filled the openings with glass. An electrician hung some lights, and a roofing friend replaced the very old skylights to give more light. In between I have painted, stained, dug out lots and lots of dirt, cleaned and just stood and admired what has now become, I think, an absolutely extraordinary building.
This project, like so many I have taken on since moving to this farm, has been so exciting and satisfying. It has been the missing link to our farm. We want this farm to be a place we can share through various ways, workshops, weddings, functions, and gatherings. Now she is warm, clean and comfortable and of course full of beauty and history.
The Old Girl is now ready to be loved and admired, as she so deserves.
(I am currently arranging workshops with local artists and makers for the coming months and will have the information up on this site very soon. If you are interested in holding an event, looking for a wedding venue, a shoot location, or a beautiful space to hold a special lunch or dinner, please send me an email and we can arrange a time for you to come and see the space.)