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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reclaimed wood shelving : diy

TLB - Shelving DIY 4-1I had mentioned a few months ago that upon the completion of our new home, The Little Barn, we were still lacking any forms of shelving or cabinetry. In staying to the home’s rustic theme and our own passion for DIYs, my husband and I wanted to be the installers of the storage solutions. I also wanted to live there for a few weeks before we would determine what the shelves and cabinets would look like. That way, whatever we did eventually build would be the most fitting for our needs and the general feel of the house.

Due to the insistence of our contractor, he placed a broom closet just off of the kitchen. I was against it at first, and had wanted to use that space for something else. Yet, he didn’t back down, and so I thought that if he was that passionate about having one in our home, then he could put one in. Thank goodness he did! What was I thinking? Of course we needed one. Honestly, this turned out to be one decision that I’m glad I was wrong about. Well, that and our massive wrap-around deck. And our range hood. And ceiling fan.

TLB - Shelving DIY 3That being said, we now had this beautiful little broom closet, but with no food pantry in site. The armoire that was originally going to hold all of our non-perishable items was quickly filled with our kitchenwares. I hadn’t realized that we had accumulated so much. For the next few weeks, we had considered every possible way that we could change our broom closet into a pantry. My first solution was to stack crates on top of one another. The end result looked cheap. Again, I left it for awhile, and was about to buy a stainless steel storage unit when I suddenly thought of evenly spaced reclaimed wood shelving. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? Probably because it seemed unsanitary. Hey, I’m all about form over function. (That’s not actually true, I think that both are equally important.)

With a good scrub down and regular dusting, I thought that it would be perfectly fitting. My handyman husband went to work, and in one afternoon, he had installed all of the shelves for me. I love that little closet more than anything now.

TLB - Shelving DIY 2Here’s what you need to make your own reclaimed wood shelving:

Reclaimed wood
Brackets (we chose our favourite plain brackets from Home Depot)
Screws
Level
Pencil
Drill
Stud finder

Steps:

1. Take measurements of the available space.

2. Measure and cut each wood board to those dimensions.

3. Hold up the wood to the approximate and appropriate place on the wall. Place the level on top, and mark off the bottom of the shelf once it is level. Remove the shelf.

4. Using the stud finder, find and mark the studs on the wall. Be sure to do so below the space where the shelf is to be hung. If the studs aren’t evenly placed, try to hit at least one with the bracket, and use drywall anchors for the other. 

5. Screw the brackets to the wall. Place the shelf on top and finish screwing the brackets to the shelf. (Keep in mind that depending on the size of the shelves, you may want to do these steps in a different order.)

6. Once the shelving is secure, you may start using it!

TLB - Shelving DIY 1I’m so pleased that we went about installing our own shelving this way. It’s simply fitting and functional for our space and needs.

<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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crate & barrel

Crates2I love crates. I feel like Brick Tamland when I say that, but it’s true. I freaking love ’em!

Crates4Crates3Our contractor built us an entire home without installing any type of shelving. Not a single one in the kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom, mudroom, or closets. None. I know what you’re thinking. We must be crazy. There, I said it for you. Do you know what? I would have to agree with you. However, given that my husband and I built and installed all of our shelving in Little Green, I’ve come to know exactly what I like, and how I want it to look. No contractor of mine is going to get his hands all over my ledges, dagnabbit!

Crates5We placed crates all over our new kitchen in The Little Barn in lieu of cupboards. I personally like their uniqueness and the overall feel that they exude, as opposed to generic or modern cabinetry. Plus, I’m tidy. No object will ever be out of place in these babies!

Crates1My Jesus plaque hanging next to the thumbs up hanger is a little ode to the film Dogma. Did anyone else catch that?

Crates6Have a great day! Please go easy on me in the comment section! :-)))

<3

Emory

  • 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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