barn at windover

MDB was selected by a wonderful couple to preserve their circa 1860 timber-frame barn. The barn hadn’t been touched in over 60 years but for the turkey vultures who had made it their home. Despite its rough condition the barn is an integral part of the farmstead and demolishing and/or replacing it was quickly ruled out. We created a plan that would preserve its weathered character while stabilizing the structure and protecting it for the long term.

The first phase was the selective removal of 20 years of trees and shrubs that had overgrown the building, careful grading to ensure drainage and a complete restoration of the original stone foundation. Next came structural repairs to the timber frame using the same timber species and joinery to minimize the visibility of these interventions. Then we reinstalled the original siding, filling in gaps with similar reclaimed boards wherever the originals were too deteriorated for re-use.

In the third phase, we wrapped the entire structure in a layer of plywood — a layer that is invisible from inside and out but adds crucial stiffness and shear resistance to the frame where the original mortise and tenon joinery had failed due to rot. Over this, we installed a new layer of siding in “rain screen” fashion: first a waterproof breathable membrane, then vertical wooden battens to create a drainage plane and air cavity. Over this we installed the new, locally milled hemlock siding so it can dry and breathe. This system gives the siding and the building the longest possible lifespan with a classic reverse board-and-batten appearance. Last, we built new windows and doors to match their original style and location. We estimate that this is the fourth time the building has been rehabbed in its 150+ year life. This most recent intervention will put it well into its next century of life and beyond.