I mentioned a few times Jan and I bought this house for its studio, an empty room about twenty five feet wide and forty feet long, sitting over a basement garage of equal size. We kept two cars in the garage, and a lot of room was left to store thread and other weaving odds and ends in the beginning.
In a year or so it was apparent the thread we could weave up exceeded our storage spaces. We needed a storage building. We especially needed a docking area for semi trailer trucks to use, as they took up the entire width of our road, essentially stopping everyone below us (all the rest of the street!) to enter or leave until the driver (and Jan and Mom and I) off loaded and moved our freight.
We could not afford a regularly constructed building, so I looked into storage sheds I saw in back yards. Sheds were not nearly large enough, and we were directed to pole barns. Posts are driven into the ground, a concrete floor poured, the shell is attached, the roof beams go up, shingles, voila, it’s a pole barn in a few days. Ours is about twenty four by thirty two, and a third the cost of standard construction.
We kept our weaving supplies in there, the truck drivers loved us. So did our customers at shows. If they wanted to order more of some garment I said I had to look in the barn for more thread; they sighed, “The barn, how romantic.” When we retired we offered the empty barn to my brother and brother-in-law for a workshop, and they could not move in fast enough.
The barn is more than twenty years old. About half way through that life I called the manufacturer to get some advice on painting it. The sales representative must have come straight out of his chair. “Lady, that building needs painted every couple of years!” So, we had it painted.
Once Jan and I moved out, I paid no more attention to the barn’s needs. A year or so ago Tom said the east side of the barn was showing rot, probably from moisture from the weeds and bushes there. He intended to nail plywood over the damage.
I called the contractor who’s done major repairs to the house, and we walked around the good old barn. After a complete circuit Jim said the building was sound, except for areas of the shell on the east side. “If this were my building, I’d just put siding on it,” Jim said. How ignominious, I thought, but agreed, and we walked back, Jim marveling the survival of the siding on one coat of paint in all those years.
“I’ll miss the vertical lines,” I told him as he worked up a rough estimate of siding. Jim snapped right up. “You know, we could look into that vertical metal siding that’s on all kinds of buildings these days.” I knew exactly the stuff, and he came back later with a quote. So, for the same price I paid to build the barn twenty years ago, I got it sheathed in lovely, vertical, grey slats of metal. It is, indeed, good for many more years.
Except the doors. They were altogether too white. The glare set my teeth on edge when I drove by. Laura and I went to the store to reconnoiter grey paint chips. She selected two, Jan narrowed the choice by half. I consulted with Tom on paint brushes vs. rollers. Tom doesn’t deal well with change; we learned he was not in favor of painting the barn door. When he left I asked Laura “What else should we paint on that barn door?” “Sunflowers” she said.