A decaying horse shed was in dire need of replacement when I was asked to take a look at shoring up some of its buckling walls.  We talked about emergency repairs, more permanent measures, and the possibly of replacing it with a larger structure.  The homeowners wanted to replace it, but expressed doubt that the city would let them do much more than repair it because of the non-conforming status of the property. 

With a little investigating into the local zoning code, a provision was found allowing said lots to be treated as conforming lots provided the gross lot area is at least 80% of the zoned lot requirement (2 1/2 acres).  The property itself is only 1.79 acres, but with the “gross lot” allowance extending to midpoints on two adjacent streets, the property is 81% of the zone requirement.

Grab the sledge, this shed is coming down.

We actually used pry bars and hammers to carefully remove the wood siding, windows, and what little of the timber that was salvageable. All to be reused in the new “barn” to give it a sense of context and history.  The old horse shed was probably built at the same time as the original farm house in the early twentieth century. 

The original farm house has since been replaced by a Colonial Revival, and  the clients wanted to keep the new barn in that same tradition.

This is the north end of the house, closest to the barn.

I think where this structure really shines is on the inside.  I worked with an engineer to figure out how we could use tongue and grove 2×6 that would serve as the wall sheathing as well as the interior wall finish.

The result is a warm, lofty feel.  Elements from the old shed keep the new structure true to it’s dirt floor roots.  Old posts find new life as table legs.  The original windows are now in the cupola, and the old siding provides shelving material.

The word barn implies that there are livestock here, which there aren’t.  In fact, the electrical inspector made me go down to the city and change the use of the building from “barn” to “garage” because we didn’t ground the foundation and was thus non-habitable, even for livestock.  Haven’t missed a foundation ground since.  Didn’t matter to the owners, they use the barn to house planting and pottery activities, a small tractor and yard equipement.

Mortice and tenon knee braces at each end of the ridge beams had to be “encouraged” into place as the glulam beam was lowered into place.  One of many details I’ve drawn over the years that looks great on paper but proves difficult to build in the field.  Not much fun if it’s not a challenge.


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