New Life in Our Old Barn, page 1

After years of searching for a small farm to move our growing business to, in 2010 we re-visioned our future and set off on a different path. We expanded our network of urban micro-farms and renovated our Depression-era barn/garage into improved shipping space and a cozy new office — and we couldn’t be happier.

Old Office
1. Our old office in Scott and Jane’s house had become
painfully cramped. We spread out into the dining room during
the day, and took pride in making do, but eventually we knew we had to move.
The Plan
2. We hired our neighbor Marc Rueter to draw up plans to renovate our big old barn/garage into office space upstairs and improved shipping space downstairs while preserving it’s historic integrity and making the project as green as possible.
Otto Koch Sign
3. The barn was built in 1929 by Otto Koch who ran his business out of it for decades. Old neighborhoods like ours were once full of small, home-based businesses like Koch’s, and we’re proud to continue that frugal, energy-saving tradition today.
Downstairs Mess
4. Downstairs was a relatively simple project. First we removed (and saved or took to our local ReUse Center) Koch’s old shelving, the original stairs, and styrofoam insulation we installed when we first started shipping from the barn.
The Beam
5. Then came a quarter-ton steel beam (quite a job!) and new footings to support the added weight upstairs.
Emptied Downstairs
6. The newly built stairs seemed to symbolize good things
to come. They lead up from a vestibule (to come) and the
old green door to our back yard.
Drywall Downstairs
7. To save energy, we added high-tech polyisocyanurate insulation to the walls and spray-foam insulation in the ceiling (covered here by wallboard), interior storm windows, and
a high-efficiency heating and cooling system.
Painted Downstairs
8. To save money, we did the painting ourselves. By
September our bright, open, well-insulated space was ready to
set up for fall shipping.
Barn Crew
9. From outside the barn looks unchanged, but shipping from the new space was awesome!
(Here Donna, Arlene, Josh, Kelly, and Scott enjoy
a short break.) Meanwhile, upstairs. . .
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