I just set out to update the look of our barn, referring to it as my “lipstick on a pig” project. The barn–which looks like a garage but isn’t a garage since the real garage is attached to the house where we park our cars–rests at the back of our property, and for awhile was well-disguised by excessive brush. Every year we clear and prune back more and more of those weed trees, creating a cleaner line of sight to the disheveled structure, and it looks pretty bad, I’m well-aware. We’re even rocking the classy combo of rusty fence + old lawn chairs + an old gas mower held together with metal tape.
You can barely tell from the above picture, but barn’s been a WIP since we moved in; we started in on maintaining our back acre immediately upon moving in, and now can hardly remember a time when the barn was so surrounded by leafy overgrowth that it was invisible. It’s times like this that I’m glad I photo-document all of the things.
- In our first summer here, we rebuilt/re-shingled the roof. We meaning Pete; I was pregnant for the first time and was cool to take pictures from ground-level. The new roof was necessary as the old one had been punctured by fallen branches, consequently rotted away (an IG image from way-back!), which also left us with a rotting floor on the inside, and crumbling roof beam structure. We also evicted some vultures which gained access through that large roof hole, taking back their barn-nest.
- In our second summer here, Pete rebuilt the floor that was rotting away, the area that had been damaged due to the holes in the roof. In the year since covering it, the subfloor and joists had a chance to dry which was helpful because we could really see ID what needed to be repaired vs. what was still structurally sound.
- Did we do anything in our third summer? No. A mini-patio which evidenced by the above photo, really isn’t much of anything.
- We schemed plans to completely replace the exterior of the barn during our fourth summer, but at that point I was pregnant again and it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t going to be much help lifting 4×8 sheets of T1-11 (which is what we used on the treehouse). Plus, vultures returned through a broken window and we were advised to leave their nest and eggs alone. Avoiding anything disruptive, Pete redirected his efforts to rebuilding a retaining wall, which was the project he was sweating to mere hours before I delivered our son. Yes, I snapped this a minute before I told him it was time to go to the hospital.
Back to the pig. In an ideal DIY world, we’d spend a few days replacing shingles that are damaged or missing, replacing both doors on the upper level, repairing trim (I’m not exaggerating when I say that 99% of it needs to be replaced), and installing gutters prior to staining and painting. In our world, we’re embarking on the fifth summer in our home, and I just recently noticed that the neighbor’s beautiful patio and fire pit stare directly at our haphazardly maintained barn; oh, the horror. I’m going at it the easy route with a few gallons of stain and paint to 1) make it tolerable and borderline pretty; 2) camouflage minor issues; 3) and do a deep assessment of what actually needs to be replaced so I can tackle it slowly in coming months or years.
I’m using the same opaque stain that we used on our backyard treehouse, Oxford Brown by Olympic. It has held up really well on the treehouse, and it’ll help the now pastel yellow-colored structure blend in more to the earthy surroundings. All that’s to explain why I brought home a big 5-gallon jug of the stuff this week, which cost around $180 if you’re keeping tallies on how much it might cost to do a cheap-o makeover like this one, and insisted on getting started on this project while I had a few rain-free hours this morning. If Day 1 was any indication, I’ll need a couple of coats.
Time to get busy.