The Barn – Saving a Part of the Past

The word barn derives from combining the word barley with the Old English ern, which meant place of.  For centuries the word was bern; it has been barn since the Late Middle Ages.  Over the centuries a barn’s uses have expanded way beyond barley storage.  Today, a barn can also be a place of tools and seedling, cars and carpentry, hay and animals, play and puttering.  Or, once you clean them up, sheathe them, and add a few comforts for creatures of a very different kind, barns can actually make great houses.

 

Renovating a barn to a living space may not be all that complicated, but creating modern homes from fallow barns involves a lot more than just hauling out the rusty junk, brushing aside some cobwebs and cow manure, and hanging drywall.  Still, despite their often derelict condition, there is truly a romance to these rustic structures that makes one yearn to reinvent them as habitable homes.

 

It is not difficult to see why old barns inspire the imagination.  The high-peaked timber shaped beams and the rich patina of centuries-old boards have a quintessentially American feeling, connecting us to our pioneer roots.  The appeal of soaring spaces.  

 

Whether you plan to use your barn to keep animals, make a work-shop, or just add storage space for the stuff that has been accumulating in your yard, one general-purpose design can fit many of these varied uses.

 

An elaborate and rather rigid system for building structures has evolved in our society.  All of us who would build are almost obliged to adopt this system as our own. The more obedient to the system we become, the less variety is available, the less creativity is expressed, the less we are able to change with changing times.

 

Break from the system — use your brains and not your billfolds to create structures that are affordable, individual, and even safer and more efficient than the mass-produced mundanities of the established construction industry.

 

Take one old barn and call it home!

Posted on November 18, 2019 at 8:00 am
Greg King | Category: Home, Home repair, Interior Design, Lifestyle, San Juan Island | Tagged , , ,

Island Life

The secret weapon for living life on an island is a well organized pantry.  A planned reserve of foodstuffs and sundries for everyday life, a pantry saves time, money, and stress.  Tap the pantry for unexpected meals and reduce trips to the mainland or even the grocery store. Stock it with frugal finds to lower grocery costs.  Set aside supplies for unexpected entertaining. This is the place for those fun specialty items to add that festive touch transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary!  Properly managed, the pantry is an integral part of island living.

 

You may be thinking you don’t have a pantry.  Sure you do! It may not be what one would traditionally envision as a pantry and it may be a closet, shelving in the garage, or even a large trunk, but a pantry it is!  Don’t confuse storage space with the reality of the pantry principle. Certainly it is helpful to have designated cabinet space for pantry goods, but that is not a pantry.  Think of the pantry as a reservoir of consumable goods which may be stored most anywhere in your home. The goal of establishing and maintaining a pantry is actually two-fold:  convenience and protection against unexpected events. A well-planned pantry means you will never run out of commonly used products. Even the smallest home can include a pantry.  A pantry is not a place – it is an attitude!

 

Disorganized pantries slow an otherwise productive person.  They can be a nightmare if not meticulously organized and maintained.  Putting away groceries could take twice as long as necessary, not to mention trying to find ingredients to prepare a meal when circumstances may not be ideal.

 

When stocking your pantry, keep in mind what you use on a regular basis.  Efficiency is the issue here and simplicity is key, but organization is critical.  Keeping your recipe repertoire in mind, decide which items you really need, then embellish your basics with some homemade treats.  You will be glad you did later!

Posted on October 1, 2019 at 8:00 am
Greg King | Category: Home, Kitchen, Orcas Island, Organization, San Juan Island | Tagged , , , , , ,