One of the things we like best about our work is the opportunity to make connections. In any home building or renovation project, we’re looking to create an environment that connects with our client and their vision of how they want to live. But in one recent case, creating that kind of connection also allowed us to connect with the past.
Our client came to us to help plan a new cottage on the shore of Lake Michigan. After several years of living in Paris with her family, she had developed a fondness for a certain quality of finishes that are difficult to find in new materials.
We were able to meet her extremely high expectations by introducing her to a local supplier of reclaimed barn wood. Jeremy Beadner of Barn Baron Lumber Company has built a business out of taking down old barns and reclaiming the reusable lumber and hardware. Beadner told us that in several years of harvesting this old wood, he’s come across some amazing treasures, including one continuous beam that was 16” x 16” and over 80 feet long, with an estimated value of over $10,000!
With new material readily available, you may wonder why anyone would choose to reuse old wood. In fact, many of these old structures were constructed with old-growth hardwood, which has extremely tight growth rings that give it a high level of structural integrity–making it a very sound choice for a new construction project. What’s more, the natural aging and weathering of this wood has given it a character and history that simply can’t be found in new materials. It turns out that was exactly the look our client was hoping for in her cottage.
We arranged a visit with the supplier, where our client was able to see and touch the different types of materials available for wall, ceiling, and floor surfaces, along with decorative faux structural beams. During the tour, our client also discovered an original barn door which we plan to repurpose for her project, restoring the hardware to function like new without losing any of its desirable, as-found patina. Now that the client understands what is available, we’ll work with her and the interior design team to choose the right lumber for the right locations throughout her cottage.
The barn wood is just one of the many details we’re considering to help our client’s vision come to life. We began working together very early, allowing us to recommend one of our most trusted partners for architecture and interior design services. We’ve also been able to help with environmental/DEQ regulations and permitting.
Coming into the project early allows us to manage the big picture so that everything runs smoothly–and continues to satisfy after move-in day. But along with understanding the big picture, we really love to focus on getting all of the details exactly right, too. Hunting down the perfect barn wood for this project is just one example of the extra mile we’ll go to make sure our clients end up delighted with their surroundings.