The barndo’s back, baby!
We find is mildly hilarious that this little blog only gets real “traffic” on one particular post. A year or so ago I wrote a scientific description of the anatomy of a barndominium and a select group of folks seem to accidentally stumble upon us when doing their own research on this mysterious building concept. And by “select” I mean the type of person who is probably just as desperate as us to set up shop on a budget. Apparently, we are among the elite (crazy?) few willing to consider this option and, as such, have actually contributed to the paltry body of “literature” on the subject. Well. Isn’t that something.
See, once we lost our builder (the man who was one of the only who had built many of these structures in our area) and once we’d licked our wounds from the insults added to the injury of his disappearance, we pretty much gave up on the barndominium. My weeks long assault on the entire building community via email blast-like requests for bids revealed the truth about unconventional building methods. It’s just not all that appealing to builders. After many (oh. so many) meetings with various companies and contractors, we heard a variety of reasons why our idea was stupid. It would “cost more” (truth: you can’t beat the price of a pre-fab metal building for exterior materials. You just can’t). It would “fall apart” (truth: A building made of steel beams and metal, secured into a several foot deep bed of concrete really, really isn’t going anywhere. Really). It was “confusing” (truth: If you’re confused then let’s just shake hands and say goodbye right now).
It just wasn’t something that anyone wanted to tackle. Weeks of these conversations, which usually culminated with my dramatic interpretation of how one actually builds a barndo (imagine my arm being the crane and my head being the roof), ended with Jer and I screaming “uncle.” We give. Or we gave. We caved and agreed to the whole notion of a traditional (and pricier) stick frame construction but wrapped in metal as the exterior material. Hmph.
In fact, we even signed some contracts, news I haven’t shared yet because I’m confident it may still end badly. No building contracts but agreements to finally complete the design that our wayward architect did not. Agreements to refine the overly engineered foundation plan that our wayward foundation engineers (you know, the one’s who threatened to put a lien on our property? The root of The Messiness? Oh, you didn’t know because I didn’t tell you? Well there you have it) did not complete. We found a builder who gave me warm fuzzies mostly because he has yet to slobber on and on about all of his past work and continues to find the prospect of our project interesting. And even he scratched his head over the barndo, considered it, thought it was tricky, and talked me into the conventional build. Until yesterday. Yesterday he called to explain that he too had done some research, spoken to metal builders, other general contractors and the like and that he wanted to move forward with a, (he giggled when he said it), “barndominium.”
Don’t go throwing me a pre-fab metal building party just yet. All this means is that we’ll move forward with pricing this option. So it’s likely we may end up with something else. And at this point, not a single thing would surprise me. But when it’s all said and done, hopefully it will be shelter enough. Barndo or no, metal or wood.