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Home Improvement: A new barn from old

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Posted on October 4, 2012 |
By Xian Chiang-Waren



HH8151.jpg
IN RECONSTRUCTING A barn at the home of Colin Davis and Kathryn Flagg in Shoreham, builders used some modern tools, like a crane to lift beams into place, and some traditional techniques, like pegging the beams together. Independent photo/Trent Campbell

SHOREHAM — “Home improvement” can mean building something new or restoring something old. The raising of a particular barn in Shoreham meant both.

Those who happened down Route 74 east of Shoreham village on a recent Saturday evening may have encountered a cheerful sight just outside of Shoreham. Despite the heavy rain, dozens of cars were parked around Colin Davis and Kathryn Flagg’s farm near the intersection with Bates Road. The wooden beams of their nearly complete barn glowed with yellow Christmas lights and, shielded by the loft floor, guests celebrated the new building with a buffet dinner and live music.

Like Davis and his parents, Mike and Beth Davis, the barn’s frame started its life in the Midwest and moved to Vermont in the last few years.

The classic post-and-beam style structure was built a little more than a hundred years ago on the farm of Mike Davis’s family in southern Indiana. The 36-foot-by-52-foot barn had been one of several on their property, but fell out of use. In fact, it was sitting in the middle of a field without even a road by which the farmers could reach it.

But the bones of the old building were still strong. So, 10 years ago, Davis said, his parents had asked Amish neighbors to help them take it down. It was stored in a different barn until last summer, when Davis and Flagg were married in Middlebury, and the barn was trucked to Vermont to be rebuilt on their Shoreham farm.

Builder Jarod Moats and his crew began raising the structure this summer. Footings were poured. The bottoms of the major beams that had sat on the ground had rotted after decades in the mud and muck, so they were cut off and a few extra feet of new timber was scabbed onto what remained to push the beams up to their full height.

When fully finished, the barn will be used as a utility shed, replacing a temporary structure with fabric walls that the couple had used for storage.

“We’ll have a place to fix the tractor in the winter,” Davis explained. “We’ll have a woodworking shop as well.”

Most importantly, the barn will be used as a family gathering space. Colin Davis came to Vermont to attend Middlebury College and stayed after graduating. His parents have since moved to Middlebury.

“The whole family moved to Vermont from the Midwest,” said Davis. His brother, Craig, and sister Becca Holbrook, along with her husband Miles, are now living in Vermont as well.

While there is new wood on the handsome old barn, Davis pointed out that when they raised it at the Shoreham farm, it had not been altered or redesigned.

“We wanted to stay true to the original frame design,” he explained. “Some timbers were not useable, but it is the same layout as it was bef

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