This is our barn -- carport, shop, storage, bedroom, bath, laundry and "room-to-grow" -- built almost entirely of recycled wood. Using old, previously used lumber is an act of dedication and a commitment to not cutting down more trees. In no way is it a money saver. By the time one locates the "right" wood, picks it up, cleans it up, pulls the nails, sorts it, mills it, and stores it, the cost isn't a bargain. However, the "feel good" factor is huge and the quality of the lumber is far superior to anything one can find off the shelves these days. Much of the lumber in this building was previously shelving in an old Tacoma warehouse. It was dry, had tight grain, had only a few knot holes and was in long lengths (20'). We purchased 500 2x8's rough cut, so they are larger than the milled lumber at the lumber store. This building also has recycled bathroom tile, steel posts, doors, beams, indoor paneling and carriage doors.

Deep thinking and deep digging...

Brad is eagerly looking forward to proceeding on the main living and guest house. He's been in "think" mode, which we've learned is needed before he can fully proceed on any project. Once he's twisted his head around the details, he rolls. Sometimes it's not clear to us he's pondering and we wonder what's happening. Soon we begin to understand he needs to study the details first. The I-Beam in the background is one-half of the support for the two buildings, and will also connect them as a bridge.

Ben, our new worker, is busy preparing holes for steel posts and concrete. These posts will support the other I-Beam running across the front of the guesthouse and main living. It is 7' off the ground and will be the east side of the bridge connecting the two buildings.

Kent & Fred

North & East

Jason (owner of the house to our east) and Sarah (owner of the house to our north). Both Jason and Sarah's homes are advertised for rent right now -- need a Langley rental? Eric, Rose, Ben and Timothy lived in Sarah's home before they purchased their own home. Boy, are they missed! We loved having them close at hand and wandering over from time-to-time. Watching the two boys grow and develop was fantastic. Although they're only five miles away, it seems like a million.

Storing the Sun's Heat!

The heat sink is getting insulated and then insulated some more. Two layers of insulation, glued to one another and to the foundation. More insulation will be placed on the ground and then there will be "wing walls" of insulation. All to hold the solar heat, stored in rock and sand, in the cavity. Once this system is in place, we'll be pouring the concrete floors. And then, framing can happen and the "look" will take on a new form.

Visitors and WOW! what a day!

Brad explains the barn's construction details from the second story to Lloyd and Loyd's friend whose name just slipped right on by.

Brad discovered an old UW friend, Kevin, living just down the street from our construction site.

It's a beautiful, beautiful "Wow!" fall day!


Kent's Family

Kent with Clio looking oh so cute in her much-loved new glasses.

Kent's parents, Caroline and Michael

Heat Storage

This area, under the main living portion of our home, has been the subject of much speculation, study, calculation and discussion of late. Although it was designed to store extra summer heat in sand the math isn't necessarily supporting the project. Brad and his dad, Barry, have been the mad scientists as they calculate one assumption after another in solar heat generation, heat storage, heat loss, winter temperatures, summer temperatures, conductivity, and so on. The system, although used in the past, has not been well documented so the science is sketchy and without reliable data, very experimental. To make matters even more complex, the margins in a small, efficient house are so low that it's difficult to justify the cost. The discussions have been creative and lively, spinning around using metal instead of sand in the heat storage area (such as squashed, recycled automobiles), large stones rather than sand, phase change salts, bundles of re-bar, or water tanks. At this point, we're going back to the simplest system of using solar heated sand stored under the slab. It's been fun following the discussion with our consultants, Barry and Brad as they mix it up with their combined math, engineering, architectural and science knowledge. This whole issue must be resolved before we proceed but the resolution is close at hand.


Ladder #2

This is the coolest ladder!

It's easy to use, feels safe, yet takes up almost no floor space. Plus, as with almost everything in the barn, it's constructed from recycled wood. In this case, some of the wood was so gnarly, it wasn't good for much else, but makes for a wonderfully rustic ladder. The ladder goes to an open space above the barn's bedroom, which is future expansion space. Zoning allows for an ADU (Assesory Dwelling Unit), so our design anticipated future expansion.


I learned a ton about tiling. Our Re-Store recycled tiles are now all in place, grouted and, except for a sealer, ready for the first shower. Without Carl Magnusson's expert assistance, I would have probably fumbled forever, but with it, the project is completed and looking quite respectable. The final grouting details were completed yesterday afternoon, in the dark, as a wild wind storm knocked out our electricity for a few hours.

Never too soon...

to begin landscaping

These photo shots look west off the barn's covered patio. Brad assisted, but Fran mostly struggled with these rocks, rolling and pushing them into place.


Lucky Me!

A beautiful garden wall being built by Ed and Brad. This wall is to the south of the barn.

Sunday Visitors

Paul & Pam with Ed

Matthew from Orcas Island


Furnishing the Barn

Brad is assembling the trundle bed for the barn's bedroom.


Molly & George



Beautiful Stones

A small retaining wall is needed to the south and west of the barn. These rocks came from Blue Star Rockery, a business needing to move, so Wayne was delighted to deliver them to us for an amazingly low price. Both Brad and I are too busy to build our dry stack wall right now but we're both jumping with excitement to begin.


Love those Italians...

This unit, of Italian design, is both a washer and dryer. The Europeans and Japanese know how to live small and have developed appliances accordingly. When I was in Japan six years ago, I was impressed with a washer and dryer I used, similar to this one. We found this item on Craig's List and now it's hooked up and ready for use. The counter went in today too.

And the punch list goes on and on...

Mark, from Bellingham, helps out for a couple of days with welding, carpentry, and a million other finishing-up tasks.

Brad showing his displeasure at mudding the ceiling. He has stated more than once, "No more drywall!"


The Final Details are Coming Together.

Our chicken-shit wood is looking quite respectable with a fresh coat of paint. It makes for rough paneling, but is exactly the look we want in this barn bedroom. The natural siding visible in the photo is in the laundry and is unpainted with much texture and charm.

Neighbor Judy keeps us supplied with bouquets all summer. Here's one of the season's last.