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Monday, July 22, 2013

New Life for old Timbers, Barn Raising

New life for old Timbers.

 Rough-sawn cypress, from Upstate New York and more than 200 years old make up the frame of the new house our friends Gwen and Stan are building in our little town.   

Timbers and rafters are waiting to be erected.  The crew of five young men worked harmoniously and efficiently. 
When they are finished with framing the structure they will leave and your local builder will take over to complete the house.   

What used to be accomplished by a team of Oxen and block and tackle and  many neighbors and volunteers is now quickly assembled by a small group of Itinerant workers from Waco, Texas using modern equipment.  

Heritage Restorations of Waco, Texas, disassemble and reassemble vintage barns.
The wood is carefully inspected, timbers are power washed, all nails are removed and the wood is fumigated for possible bug infestation. 

Old Timbers, New House. 
Timbers from a historic grist mill built circa 1760 in northern New Jersey was dismantled, restored and erected in Texas.   

Timber framed barn originally built in 1840 from central Missouri is now restored near Waco, Texas. 

The timbers are held together with large hand carved dowels.  A 40 pound mallet, also known as a "commander" or "beetle"  is used to drive the dowels into the frame.  

The company has many disassembled barns waiting for new owners.  The skeleton frame comes delivered to the building site.
Workers come with the package.   It takes about  2 days to assemble the structure.  Heritage Barns have been built in many parts of Asia, New Zealand, Australia, Canada,  and North America.  

Originally built circa 1860 in New Scottland, NY, is now restored in Greenwich, CT. 

Many structures are available.  All it takes is your imagination.
The company also sells barn wood siding, reclaimed flooring, old world doors and more.  

The young men have left.  Back to their homes in Texas, 
where they live in a community of  back-to-the-basics way of life. 
Men use horses to farm instead of tractors and women wear dresses and are known for their distinctive hairstyles.  
Thousands of people attend the group's holiday fairs, held each year
after Thanksgiving and on Labor Day. 

The group also holds classes year round and operates a deli and bakery six days a week.  

Could a similar building be in your future?  

Have a wonderful week my dear 
Blogging Friends.



  1. Dear Gina - I would enjoy living in a converted barn. The space inside is normally so large and vaulted, almost cathedral like in its proportions.
    It is very hot here and seems strange to see that photo of the snow - hope you are enjoying the summer in your lovely home and garden.

    1. Dear Rosemary, I was surprised to read how very large these old barn structures are. Watching the crew put this one together was fascinating. The men worked so well together and when they left the building site was spotless. ox, Gina

  2. Dear Gina,
    this is another very interesting post and I love the beauty of these old beams.Some of the homes on the Heritage Restoration site are quite gorgeous, especially when the beams are combined with natural stone.The high ceilings would be too much for me though, and in Texas I would be concerned about keeping such a space cool.Thanks for showing a different way to build a home, Sieglinde

    1. Dear Sieglinde, I agree with you. The old structures, clad in stone, are also my favorites. Because the company headquarters in Texas, many of the reclaimed structures were erected in Texas. I suppose insulating them properly would make a huge difference. It would be wonderful to visit this group and maybe even take one of the many workshops they offer. I would love to learn how to make cheese, for instance. ox, Gina

  3. Dear Gina,

    This is such an exciting idea! It's great to recycle materials, and even better to recycle whole buildings (that doubtlessly would eventually get torn down anyway). I visited the company's site, and found the idea of old doors made to order just as exciting. Your posting has made me look at all my interior doors with new eyes!

    1. Dear Mark, You are right. According to the company, many of these barns would not be around in a few years. That would be a shame. The old timbers are so strong and the wood has a beautiful golden color. Because farming techniques have changed, these beautifully built and old barns are not being used anymore. This particular group came upon this idea by accident. The idea has become so popular that they erect a structure a week, somewhere in the world. I'm very interested in their reclaimed flooring. It would be perfect for our guest cottage.

  4. Dear Gina,

    It was a real joy to have you be a part of the barn raising day. Thanks for bringing the delicious beet salad from your garden harvest! It was an unforgettable couple of days to see these wonderful young men do so much--and cooperate so seamlessly. I was sorry to see them go back to Texas.

    The barn beams are so beautiful. I will be a little sad to see them covered by exterior walls and a roof. But, it WILL be nice to be inside the barn-home protected from the weather and have a kitchen, a bed and some plumbing!
    xo, Gwen

  5. Dear Gwen, How nice of you to visit and comment. Thank you for inviting us to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The best part will be to watch your dream come true. What a wonderful adventure!
    ox, Gina

  6. Dear Gina,

    What wonderful pictures of an exciting day! You are such a good photographer as well as a wonderful painter. I enjoyed looking at the pictures you took of your hollyhocks. You have a great eye for beauty.
    xo Shirley

  7. Dear Shirley, That was a wonderful day wasn't it. How proud you must be of your daughter who has such great vision and who is not afraid to tackle such a great undertaking.
    Thank you also for your lovely compliment. ox, Gina