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I've Been Reborn! An Exclusive Interview with a Rustic Barn

From Old Barnwood to Beautiful Rustic Reclaimed Furniture

It looks quite beautiful to the average eye. But when you’ve seen what it was before and what it is now, it’s hard to think anything would have come out on top of the situation other than bunnies and any other grass grazing animal in the area.  An overgrown green pasture with fallen fence and wildflowers sprouting throughout. You can see an area of pasture to the North where a barn used to stand; tall, strong, and full of use. This is the exclusive interview with that barn. Its rise to fame and glory, its depleting use, the big fall of defeat, and when it found its purpose again.

LFP: How old are you?
Barnwood: Is this how you start all your interviews?  That’s sort of a blunt question. Let’s start off by stating that barnwood is like a fine wine, it gets better with age.

I am a third-generation barn, my great grandpa was one of the first barns ever built in North America. I was the first in my family to be built with a metal roof; man, was my mom proud…. I was built in 1880- you can do the math from there.

LFP: Metal roofs, I bet that was a huge upgrade back then. What was your purpose when they built you?
Barnwood: I was built for a family of farmers. I had a multitude of uses. I housed the work horses, the hay to feed them, the equipment they would hook up to plow and plant the fields. I gave the barn cats a cozy place free from weather and generations of kids a place to play and use their imagination. I loved it, I was happy! I stood tall and strong nothing could bring me down.

LFP: Or so you thought…  When did you start to see your uses be depleted?
Barnwood: A new family bought the land to farm in 1960, they farmed the land but horses were no longer needed for that and they didn’t raise livestock. There were no animals for me to house, no kids to use their imagination to morph me into a pirate ship or to play house. It was just me and a couple of tractors.  The animals talked with each other and me, but those tractors – they just stayed quiet and wouldn’t talk to me, I felt so empty and alone. This was also the year that they brought electricity in. It would be the beginning of the end of me. There was an electrical fire in 1972 that took a good quarter of me to the ground. What did the tractors do during the fire?  Not a darn thing!  The cows and horses would have at least called out warnings.  The family couldn’t afford the doctor’s (contractor) bill to repair me, so there I sat. Empty and alone, as they took the tractors out of me as well.  I was at the lowest point in my life I had ever been. It was then that that tumor of a shed was built…

LFP: Oh my! How sad! What happened?
Barnwood: I sat, depleting. Watching as the new shiny shed get all the attention and use. I was neglected, crumbling physically and mentally for almost 30 years. The land was handed over to the bank in the 1990s, I was forgotten. Besides the occasional teenagers parking behind me to hide while they wrestled it looked like, odd creatures you humans are. It was in 2010 when I was found again. And that was by far, the best day of my life. At first, I was scared, all I heard was a bunch of guys talking about tearing me down. If wood could pee…. I would have created a river. Needless to say I had pitch streaming down my beams.  But as they started working I heard them say how this piece will work great for a vanity, and this would be great color for a dresser. All I could think was, they are only tearing me down to build me back up again.

LFP: That’s wonderful! It must have been uplifting to find purpose again.
Barnwood: Yes it was! I was built into all sorts of rustic furniture. My beams were used for barnwood beds, my planks for reclaimed barn wood hutches, buffets, vanities, and tables. I was useful in SO many pieces. I don’t know what has happened to all of me throughout the years, but looking at how I turned out. I can imagine all the parts of me are happy. Being used in the practical rustic fashion they were meant for.

LFP: Have you been able to keep in touch with other pieces of yourself?
Barnwood: ….. Did you really just ask that?  I’m remnants of an old barn.  Not a cell phone, not a tablet, not a computer, how would I have kept in touch genius?

LFP: Let’s move on.  What have you learned from your long life?  By the way I finally completed that math, you’re 137 years old.
Barnwood:  And I still look better than you!  Over the years, I have learned that no matter how you feel, how low you fall… your life always has reason. Looking back, even when I was just a structure to block teens’ cars from view of the road… I was useful. But being reclaimed, it has been the best feeling in the world. I’ve been reclaimed!  I am beautiful and useful and ready to live on for another 100+ years!

LFP Exclusive interview with an old barn Exclusive LogFurniturePlace Interview with an Old Barn