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

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

april : favourite things

HomeI’ve chosen to do something different to kick-start this month. Rather than recalling each post in April, I’m only going to choose a few of my favourites. I figure that it’ll be a much more simplified read for you, and more fun for me. :-)))

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetThe photo of the day that seemed to set the entire mood for the month was a picture of an abandoned barn. The quote discussed the simplest things in life being the most realistic. This is something that I never believed in until recently, and have been actively trying to make my life less complicated in the meantime. It hasn’t been easy, but no one ever said that life would be.

Shrimp Pasta 7I ended up publishing three posts in regards to Easter last month. My best one, which was also a recipe post, was this Shrimp Pasta. It remains the most delicious pasta that I have tried (and made) to date.

Potholder DIY 1Speaking of the kitchen, I collaborated with my mother-in-law to publish a DIY that she had given to my husband and I. The Quilted Potholder was one of my most cherished presents from her. You can read why by visiting here.

PIC 14Lora Higgins from The Tiny House Teacher also had a guest post on Hello, Scarlett Blog. Her beautiful Tiny Home was featured here. I find her lifestyle to be so refreshing and truly an inspiration. If you missed her home, please check it out!

Breakfast at Tiffany's 8So what was my favourite post of the entire month? It was this one, which took me seven years to write.

LakeWhat do you think of my first ‘favourite things’ post? Should I go back to summarizing the entire month? Let me know in the comments below!

<3

Emory

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter // Facebook

photo of the day

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”

– Laura Ingalls Wilder 

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter // Facebook

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.

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

 

tlb: our tongue and groove tale

Tongue And Groove Ceiling 4Eight months ago, when we were planning the design for The Little Barn, we apparently made the decision to have a tongue and groove pine ceiling installed. For some reason, this important detail somehow slipped my mind.

Tongue And Groove CeilingThe foundation went in, the walls went up, the installation and drywall were next, and finally it was time for the ceiling. Around the same time, I was at the house with our contractors trying to pick out flooring. I mentioned that I wanted dark flooring since the walls and the ceiling colour were going to be white. Our contractor proceeded to ask me if I was planning on staining the ceiling white? I asked him if he meant paint instead of stain? He replied that he meant stain, since we’re getting a pine ceiling. I was now very confused. I asked him since when were we putting wood instead of drywall up there? He reminded that it was always the plan, and that I had said that I wanted a ceiling similar to the one in my mum’s barn. At that point I knew that he was telling the truth, since it completely sounded like something that I would say. I just didn’t understand how I wouldn’t remember such a momentous detail. Is that not weird?

Tongue And Groove Ceiling 1This was not the only time that I had forgotten our house building plans while building our home. Some days I was just so tired from working, trying to cope with Holly’s health problems, and starting up my store, that I had no energy left for making decisions about our home. I would either just blurt out the first idea that came to my mind, or tell our contractor to surprise us. When I later asked how they were able to get the ceiling stained that particular colour, they said, “you don’t want to know.”

Tongue And Groove Ceiling 2I probably went about this home construction thing a lot more relaxed than most people would, but hey, to each their own.  

Tongue And Groove Ceiling 5In the end, everything turned out beautifully. Especially our ceiling.

<3

Emory

P.S. Only one more week until the final house tour of The Little Barn!

Hello, Followers:
Blog // Instagram // Pinterest // Twitter

 

 

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

  • Calendar

    September 2018
    M T W T F S S
    « Aug    
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,628 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: