Just in case you didn’t know, or forgot, or because I hadn’t mentioned it recently, I wanted to remind you that I am living in my great grandparents’ former home. The house was built in 1920 … back before there were any real grocery stores around here… so a lot of homes also sported barns, for regular access to milk and eggs. This house has one of those barns. It looks like this.
One of my neighbors, who is possibly 70, remembers coming over to my now house to get their milk every week when he was a young person. And really that is so crazy because that wasn’t all that long ago. Now he can come over to my house and play NBA 2K15 on the Xbox. I mean, he doesn’t. But he totally could. Anyway, we have this giant structure that once had a use and now really doesn’t at all. But it’s there, in my backyard, and we have built a garden in front of it. It’s basically cute. But it’s a little old and needs some love.
What’s a little bit interesting about this barn is that after it housed farm animals, it became home to a giant George Washington head, a variety of Hindu gods, totem poles, monkey hands, and spaceships. You know, as things usually do.
As I wrote about (and Jenny wrote about) and wrote about again, after my great-grandparents lived here, my great uncle then lived here, and he had a float making business. That’s right. A business that made parade floats. And yes, there is a job for everything. (Check out this interview he did in 1978 on float-making) It was quite a booming business, as parade float businesses go, and over the next five decades, he added five additional barns on the property to facilitate design, creation, construction and storage of large paper mache’ everything.
It took us about three years to parcel through, clean out, give away and sell the vast majority of the treasures to new lives, uses and homes. And for about five minutes a few of the barns set empty. Then we rented one out to a neighbor who owns and runs a variety of paint-your-own-pottery stores. Two became the home to our infamous barn sales. One became a garage. Another one currently holds lawnmowers and other outdoor tools and random equipment. One became a family storage spot for Christmas decorations and etc. And the other half of that one sat completely empty for a while.
But you know what they say about what happens when you clear space for something….get ready for what’s next.
And what’s next, when left thoughtlessly unattended, can easily become a big giant mess of random garbage.
Because open space tends to collect things, a human should really be extra mindful about what she lets into this open space.
I mean, at first it’s no big deal. A box here, an item there. After all, it’s just sitting there, open. For whatever.
But eventually, you’ll look up and find that beautiful open space is completely cluttered with random things from other people, items you scrambled to save from floods or fires or whatever was important for saving at the time, to the detriment of your own now-deranged space.
So having learned the lesson that all space is used space…and without specific intention, it’s most likely used for a bunch of crap… I would prefer to be mindful and thoughtful and specific about what this space will be used for next.
It will take about a day or a weekend to clean it out, so that’s not the big deal. It can easily be empty again, at least for a while.
But I would like to use it for something other than an old walkway. I want to use it for something specific. For something good, or cool or pretty. Something that has a purpose.
It will take some work for sure. The wood has rotted out in a number of places. There are spaces between the walls and roof, where light and ringtails and raccoons and God knows what else can get in.
So, work to be done. But oh the possibility!
The space itself is just a portion of the old, original red barn. The front door is the garden. And it runs about 36 feet long and about 12 to 14 feet across. At least, that’s the portion I would start with as I put energy (and time and money) into redoing it.
So what would you do with about 450 square feet of cool old barn space?
A long, straight, open space that is currently home to woodland creatures and random garden supplies.
Oh and it already has plumbing. And is set up for electricity. Sort of, well, it’s set up to be set up for electricity.
And it has a lot of history. I feel like this space could be used for something really good. And I have some ideas. A studio? An event space? What do you think? Harry is ready to make it into a basketball gym…and that’s not happening. This space is mine. It’s a gift I’m giving to myself. Now I just have to figure out what to do with it. That’s really sums up everything, anything, life in general, doesn’t it?
What will I do? What would you do? Let’s make it something good.