a sign for the little barn

Pike Lake Sign - 5In a bid to improve the exterior of The Little Barn, ordering an address sign was certainly a must.

Pike Lake Sign - 2I went through the same online company that we used for Little Green’s sign. Rather than choosing a bronze and gold cast aluminum plaque, this time I selected a green and silver one. It better matched the gooseneck lighting and hardware for the sliding doors.

Pike Lake Sign - 3Because of the uneven nature of the siding, Geoffrey had to first install a piece of reclaimed wood to ensure that the sign would fasten securely to the house. 

Pike Lake Sign - 7Pike Lake Sign - 8Remy watched to make sure that we did a job. It was so hot and windy that day!

Pike Lake Sign - 4We still need to stain the exterior of the house and deck and order a fence. The renos never end, even on a new home.

<3

Emory

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a reclaimed journey

TLB 1A Reclaimed Journey – Building Our Home With Recycled Materials

By Emory Ann Kurysh

When the idea to build our home first came to light, the goal was to make it look like a heritage barn conversion, primarily built from reclaimed materials. The benefits in doing so were vast and varied, not the least of which involved embracing our own creativity and challenging ourselves in the implementation of the design ideas.

Part of our motivation was driven by the knowledge that salvaging building materials cuts down on landfill waste and is environmentally impactful. Another factor is that the cost of recycled materials generally runs much lower than their newer counterparts, and reclaimed materials instantly add a sense of character that can’t easily be accomplished in new constructions. 

Ours was not a journey of how a completely recycled home came to be, but rather a lesson learned on the reality of using secondhand building materials.

The Big Picture

In planning our home, the most dominant design feature was to make use of reclaimed barn wood siding. But early into our build this became apparently difficult.

The first issue we ran into was that the lengths of the reclaimed boards were not long enough to run either horizontally or vertically without showing significant breaks. The second issue lay within the condition of the wood itself. It was extremely weathered, which was our initial draw to it, but would require significant work to prevent further deterioration to use it on the exterior of the home. The fear being that over time it would be exposed to issues such as accelerated rot, infestation and warping.

So we had to create a new strategy to get us the look we envisioned, but with a new durable material.

The decision was reached to use untreated rough-cut pine in place of the barn wood. Although it wasn’t originally in the plan and budget, this decision turned out to be the most aesthetically pleasing and soundest option.

Taking it Inside

The theme of recycled wood continued within the interior of the home. The handrail for the staircase was also to be constructed of barn wood. All of the balusters, guardrails, and posts were to be fabricated from pine, running horizontally. When we installed the staircase, we learned that it is against building code standards as the guardrail was deemed to be ‘climbable’. So yet another major design plan was discarded. The solution involved raw materials in the form of large, rough-cut beams and rebar. Again, this major alteration increased the budget. However, it provided a more stable handrail that was wholly unique and justly fitting for the overall look.

The ceiling was the third and final compromise in the use of reclaimed materials. The plan was for recycled metal roofing to be hung instead of drywall to reinforce the heritage barn concept. It would have saved on time, future maintenance and cost.

After conducting an extensive and unsuccessful search for a large quantity of reclaimed metal, the idea was scrapped.

It turned out this was for the best. Research later revealed that a metal ceiling would more than likely have created poor acoustics and could have affected resale value. It was ultimately the contractor’s suggestion to install a tongue and groove ceiling. A pine ceiling would not only be a quicker install than drywall, the wood would add strength and would be visually much more appealing.

Vintage Lighting

To stay true to the original design we were able to source vintage lighting for the exterior of the home. Five large, gooseneck, gas station lights were purchased from an online retail store dedicated to selling refurbished lighting. We found this to be more fitting than using modern fixtures. We liked that they would be unique to the home and that it would cut down on landfill waste.

Repurposing the Reclaimed

Rather than being used for its intended purpose, the barn wood that was gathered was eventually used in numerous projects around the home. The majority of the wood was repurposed for various storage solutions.

The reclaimed fir and other recycled wood was cut down and hung in every closet and pantry, and in the bathroom and bedroom as shelving. Various pieces of furniture were constructed out of the antique pine and fir. Two dog beds were custom-made from old pallets and casters. In some rooms, long pieces of shiplap were used as the trim.

The Journey

As first-time homebuilders, we understood going into this project that many of the design plans would either be modified in some way or altogether scrapped. Rather than using mostly reclaimed materials on the exterior and within the house, the end result was an amalgamation of new and raw materials.

We found the best impact in using recycled materials came from using these materials within the interior decoration of the home. Having these details within every room unquestionably added the character we were looking for in our new construction.

We achieved our one-of-a-kind heritage barn-inspired home by blending new with wonderful reclaimed and recycled materials which allowed for a quicker build, and a more solid house. While we learned a number of lessons along the way, the challenge we presented ourselves with at the onset of the project pushed us to look at every aspect of the building process to see how we could make an environmental impact.

TLB 2To read the article in its entirety, or to see more from the summer issue of Saskatoon HOME Magazine, please click here.

<3

Emory

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yards and yards of gravel

The Little Barn Gravel - 3Hey guys! Well, we finally did it. After a year and a half we took the plunge and ordered gravel for The Little Barn’s driveway. Above is a photograph of how the house looked before the gravel.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetGeoffrey ended up spreading all eight yards of gravel with merely a shovel and well into a few evenings. This was taken while he was distributing it.

The Little Barn Gravel - 1Now our home no longer looks like it’s been neglected. All we need now is an address sign and fence. Baby steps.

<3

Emory

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home: the little barn (hello, scarlett)

Home Series 1The day has come for me to commence my newest series, Home. This project emanated from our exhausting search for a new property in 2014. During which, I came to question my own views on the idea of ‘home’. Only recently have I come to understand that I had the wrong mentality all along. It was therefore inevitable that I turned this year-long journey into a new series. 

Readers, you have been so patient and so kind in sharing my house-building adventure with me. I truly hope that it was worth the wait! So without further delay, I present to you the very first and complete tour of The Little Barn.

Home Series 8Home Series 3Where is your home located?

The Little Barn is located in a Provincial Park area in Saskatchewan, Canada. It is surrounded by trees, dirt roads, few neighbours, a school, and a lake which can be seen from our second storey. It’s incredibly picturesque.

Home Series 4Home Series 5What are your thoughts on the idea of ‘home’?

My personal views on the idea of a home have changed so drastically over the last few years, and I feel as if this series was born from my modified ideology. Before I was married, I never gave much thought to where or what I considered to be my home. I just innately knew that it was wherever my parents were. From Saskatchewan to Northwest Territories, my home was associated with with my family, and not a physical structure nor specific city. This was also the case when I relocated to Switzerland after obtaining my university degree. I had an apartment, a job, and friends in that country, but I never settled in to the point that it was my home.

Home Series 7Home Series 9After meeting and marrying my husband, we immediately moved to a new city in a neighbouring province. We made the decision to keep our condominium in Saskatchewan and to rent it out while we were living elsewhere. Even though we were living in Alberta, I constantly referred to Saskatchewan as home.

Home Series 10 Home Series 11Less than a year later, I moved back to Saskatchewan while my husband continued his schooling in Alberta. I never really felt like I had ever settled into that city, and couldn’t wait to come back to our condo and resume my jobs that I had before we had moved. I also hated the idea of becoming a renter again. At that point, I began to regard a physical space as my home over where my family was living. Whatever kind of day that I was experiencing, I felt safe whenever I entered the doors of my house, and that all was right with the world. It helped that I also had Holly with me. Eventually, my husband moved back, and we bought Little Green shortly thereafter. Owning that little abode solidified the concept that a house is my home, and not so much my immediate friends or family. To me, it was all about the building itself.

Home Series 12 Home Series 13A year and a half into owning Little Green, we began our search for another house. Specifically, one on an acreage. This is what kicked off the journey for what eventually became The Little Barn, and one that my readers got to experience alongside with me. Five months into our search, we were even more confused with what we were looking for than before we had even started. If we loved the house, we hated the land. If we loved the land, we hated the house. If we loved both, it was over 40 minutes outside of the city. We just couldn’t find our perfect home. I felt lost, desperate, and began second guessing if we would ever find anything that suited our needs and budget. However, we persisted. In what felt like the eleventh hour, we ended up finding a lot in a provincial park, and thus TLB came to be. Although it wasn’t an acreage, it was still in the country (which we liked), and was destined to be a beautiful home (which we loved). We thought that it was going to be a happy ending to our house story.

Home Series 14 Home Series 15While we were building our new home, we lived on my parent’s acreage in my Baba’s  house for seven months. I didn’t realize it at the time, but living there, on several acres located just outside of the city was the precise home that we were searching for all along. Only after moving into The Little Barn did I realize that I had the whole idea of a home and what I really wanted was entirely wrong. I discovered that it’s neither the house itself, nor is it much the community that it’s in that’s what is important. To me, home is Saskatchewan and my family. I am and always will be a prairie girl. I am humble and quiet but constantly have a storm brewing beneath the surface. I am strong and persistent. I know that I can survive months on end of -40°C weather, as well as +40°C in the summer. I know how to drive in whiteouts, and for hours at a time without seeing so much as a tree or hill all while keeping my sanity. I easily can find beauty in the simple things. I love to travel, but find comfort in coming back to the seemingly dull landscape of the prairies. As long as I have my family and my animals close to me, and I am somewhere in Saskatchewan, I will always be home. The Little Barn, although beautiful, is just a house.

Home Series 19 Home Series 20What kinds of things influence your design style?

My design style changes as often as I do. Currently, both natural and industrial elements are the biggest influences in my style. I love any sort of furniture that is made out of reclaimed wood, metal, or vintage leather. Lately we have been putting casters on the bottom of all of our furniture. I live for succulents and am always trying to find a creative way to display them. Although I am an animal activist, I do have several hides, antlers, rugs around our house. (A fact that I am not so proud of.)

Home Series 16 Home Series 17What do you consider to be one of your favourite items in your home? What could you never live without?

My favourite items in my home are without a doubt, my husband, our two dogs, and our cat. My plant collection is also up there. My computer and iPhone are very important as well. 

Home Series 22Home Series 2Please share any ideas/stories/pictures that highlight your home.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking. If you would like to know more about the story of The Little Barn, you can do so by clicking here.

<3

Emory

If you would like to take part in this series,  entitled Home, please email me at helloscarlettblog@outlook.com.

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home series

HomeSeries-HSBLast year I created a series in which I asked a different blogger every month to share a recipe of theirs on my blog. This year, rather than focusing on food, I will be featuring homes from people and bloggers from all around the world.

In Spring of 2014, Kinfolk magazine dedicated an entire issue to the idea of “home.” Given that I spent all of 2014 looking for a new home with my husband and our pets, this issue, as well as the topic itself, is one that I consider to be both an extremely important and equally complex one.

The Spring issue set out to explore:

“the meaning of home, what it looks like, how different people arrange them and the qualities that the best ones share. Whether you live with your best friend, partner, strangers or a lazy hound, your concept of home will change with every coat of paint. It’s what (and who) you fill it with that counts.”

 – Kinfolk 

I often think back to Issue Eleven with a sense of longing, wishing that I could read it for the first time every time I pick it up. It opened my eyes to the inconsistencies regarding the idea of a home, and how it can mean so many contrasting notions to so many people.

For example, here is what it means to these individuals:

JORDAN HERNANDEZ: THE CHILDHOOD DWELLER

Home is one of the first words we learn as a child. It falls from our mouths and rolls off the tongue the way mom and dad do, providing a sense of where we belong. I still remember my first home: the white shutters, the slanted, creaky hallway and the light blue carpet. I remember blowing out birthday candles and seeing snow from the front windows for the first time. It was the only place I recognized as a haven strong enough to collect my childhood. When we moved, I cried in the back of our van as the bricks that laid the foundation to all my memories became a small speck in the rearview mirror. Then there’s the defining moment when you return to an old house that you once knew so well and suddenly feel like a stranger. The cracks and crevices that once held your secrets no longer recognize your voice. You’ll never stop mourning the loss of a first home but rather grow more resilient each time you move. Allow yourself sentimental feelings when you leave a piece of yourself behind somewhere, and look forward to blowing out more candles in a new place.

AUSTIN SAILSBURY: THE NESTER

We started out like newlyweds often do: deep in love, low on cash and living with mismatched furniture. But then we moved to Scandinavia and discovered a whole new way of nesting. Day by day, a little at a time, we’ve made a home for ourselves. Here are the best lessons we’ve learned so far: 750 square feet (70 square meters) are, in fact, enough room for man and wife to live, work and dream together in harmony. Having less stuff is the best way to fight against clutter. An artful light can become a surrogate sun during the dark season. Only homemade furniture will ever properly fit the crooked walls and sloping floors of a stubborn old apartment. A good kettle and a faithful oven are worthy investments for their work is never done. You can’t put a price on dependable neighbors or a view of the sea. And lastly, we’ve learned to put candles in the windows like tiny flickering lighthouses so that friends and loved ones will always be safely guided home.

MOLLY YEH: THE FARMER

Our day begins with eggs from a nearby coop. My farmer leaves for his long harvest hours and my day of homey solitude brings a cake flavored with rosemary from the farmstead garden. My previous life in New York wasn’t for this solitude or private cake: There was always somewhere to be, something new to do. My apartment wasn’t my home—the city was my home. The park was my living room complete with boats and a castle. My apartment was a temporary space, a sleeping place. In North Dakota, my new town offers what half a New York block would. With air to breathe and permission to be still with the land, I can finally love my very own space. Just past dark, when my farmer comes in, he carries elk gifted by Tom from down the road. We prepare it for our supper and enjoy it at the table that we built. Later, the silence and the stars tuck us to sleep.

LOUISA THOMSEN BRITS: THE EVERYWHERER

Home is about presence, not property. Thoughts of home follow the contours of landscape and memory, but the shape of home shifts as I grow less attached to stuff and can live closer to the heart of things. Home is a clearing in a patch of woodland, the curve of a hill, the pulse of life on a dance floor, a shared blanket, birch trees, backyard fires, a strip of beach, dusk, a place to plant things. Home is a lit lantern, slow mornings, spooning, the smell of coffee and wind-dried washing, the dust and heat of Africa, silence, bare feet, everyday rituals, a notebook, a dark field, a small hand in mine. Home is our wooden table with its burn and pen marks, cup rings and scratches, and our huge bed of mattresses pushed together on the floor. Home is wherever we discover we belong: to a place, to another or to a passing moment. Home is honesty, acceptance and relatedness: complicity, community and connection wherever we are.

MIKE PERRY: THE PARENTAL RESIDER

Living with your parents can be a strange, bittersweet thing. I moved back in right after college to get my life in order and then set out on my own. It was a nice change of pace from the school life: Laundry was getting done by someone else and dinner was real food, not just microwave noodles or yesterday’s pizza. I figured I’d stay a few months, but those months became a few years. I moved out again for a year, trying to carve out a life in another country. Unfortunately things there didn’t quite pan out and I found myself back home, again. As I find myself approaching 30 in a struggling economy, it can be difficult and stressful at times—for everyone. But, as with everything, you take the bad with the good, and I’m lucky to have such supportive parents who are happy to have their son still home.

SHELBY GILL: THE MOBILE HOMER 

For me, home is ever-changing, not one static place. It doesn’t have to be brick and mortar: Sometimes home just is. Sometimes home is sitting at the counter of my parent’s kitchen and listening to my mother sing Johnny Cash songs while she makes gazpacho; I’ve never liked gazpacho, but she does, and that makes me happy. So maybe home is the fact that, in that brief moment, she’s happy too. Sometimes home is the third booth back in a small café on Gregg Street, squeezed somewhere behind the woman who plays the mandolin on the front patio and the man who reads the local paper over a double Americano. So maybe home is that feeling of familiarity. Sometimes home is the second chapter of a really good book, where you’re just far enough to be familiar, but haven’t been reading long enough to feel stagnant. So maybe home is just that comfortable place between beginnings and ends. No matter which it is, home is the place that never seems to be stationary. It changes, and so do I.

REBECCA PARKER PAYNE: THE HOMEOWNER

The story of my husband and I is not just about me, him or us, but a story of place. It’s a story of how we married, wrapped warmly in the arms of our community, and bought this tiny house not unlike a small brick box for us to make livable and loved. Ours is a story of believing that buying a house is more than a mortgage and lawn care: It’s understanding that making a home is a responsibility to the walls you live in, the ground you walk on and all the people that will tread here. There’s no escaping this responsibility for us. Ours is a story now intertwined with this place—inseparable, really. Ours is a story that will unfold and grow here. This is the place of our home and the place of our lives, and I’m grateful for it.

– Kinfolk

For the duration of this year, I will be presenting a varying space to you each month, readers, so that you may also witness the diversity amongst us humans in the way of our homes. I hope to take you on an exotic ride, broaden your knowledge about different cultures, and get you thinking about what you really need to feel comfortable in your own homes, among other things.

This month is merely an introduction to an ambitious new series. The above photo is of two homes that I have lived in over the last year. Both are set in the prairies, a type of land that will always be home to me. In February, I will feature the first house, which will be none other than The Little Barn.

If you would like to take part in this series, which is simply entitled Home, please email me at helloscarlettblog@outlook.com.

I’ll see you guys tomorrow!

<3

Emory

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  • Welcome, friends! My name is Emory. I am a wife and mother to three (two on earth and one in heaven). This is our life on the Canadian prairies.
    email: helloscarlettblog@outlook.com

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