Saturday, April 03, 2010

Barn Conversions, NO NO NO Not Bigger, Smaller

( Just another thing on my bucket list )

If you will remember awhile back I made a post about the 'Tuck Yourself Inn' (are those quote marks right? Oh well) as a place for motorcycle vacations and retreats. As the search of the www goes everything can't be found there as is thought. Not mostly anyway as very little information is around yet for Tobacco curing barn conversions. In fact in searching, only three of them were found over some time. One is not far from where I work but it has been unseen so far. At one point a magazine called Mother earth news was contacted by myself about such a project and a nice reply was returned about a possible story on them. This was several months ago so the hope of perhaps a bit of helping funds for the story never materialized.
The idea is to take old log tobacco curing/drying barns and convert them into nice cozy little cabins. Two to three rooms down, one or two rooms up with a stone, brick or wood stove heating source, solar panels to reduce power costs, recycled/salvaged windows, doors, mantles, lighting fixtures, steel roofs, stair case, claw foot tub and whatever a salvage yard or local paper might provide. Small and cozy reclaimed affordable easy to live with. Not large and heavy foot printed costly to renovate and maintain. The feel from these little cabins converted from old log tobacco barns just can't be had in a new or large structure. Something gets lost in the shuffle. Three or so of these little structures have been visited by me in years past and the feeling is just so different, they have history behind them and that makes them special.

In this age of affordable housing the idea of converting such a structure seems to me a bold and grand idea. Not only is it an affordable way into a safe, strong home it is also saving historical buildings from a fate of loss through decay. Many such structures dot the landscapes of farms unused as well as properties slated for development. We loose more and more of these wonderful artifacts every year. Some decay and return to the earth whilst others are salvaged for the old growth timbers or in the worst cases, burned to the ground. I like searching them out and have a surprising amount of them stored in my memory banks. Many of these buildings are tucked in the woods now with trees and brush concealing them from most passersby views.

So back to the search of the net. Tagging in search words like small tobacco barn cabin, tobacco barn home, tobacco curing barn home, turn a barn into a home, how to turn your old barn into a dream cottage and the like reveals little of what I search for. Mostly what is returned are these articles on converting barns into homes which is a nice idea but have you ever seen these homes? They're huge! I don't want huge I want small and comfortable. These articles are for monster sized homes with more room than most people will ever need. And just think of the power and HVAC cost in something like that. Why in the world would a single person, couple with one or two kids or even a retired couple need a twenty four hundred, or if two storied, forty eight hundred square foot home? It boggles my mind in this day and age to live in something that sized. Have we not learned yet that bigger is not always better. And for the vast majority of us these large homes of any material are just not practical to own. Why over extend yourself for the sake of looking wealthy in one of these?

1 comment:

Julie Manly, M.D said...

Hi there! I just bought an old tobacco farm in Franklin County, NC with some friends. There are 3 one hundred year old tobacco barns that I want to convert into cottages.

I am running into the same problem as you in terms of finding resources on the web.

Thanks for your post! Have you, personally, come across a converted tobacco barn that you have been able to visit?