tobacco barn renovation / barn restoration
Beautiful East Tennessee has a lot of great deals on old farms. Check out
our tobacco barn renovation at the Tiles with Style, handmade ceramic tile
This is the story of my East Tennessee farm / barn renovation.
Old East Tennessee Farm @ 360
Leatherwood Hollow Rd., New Tazewell, prior to renovation
In the Spring of 2017, after the completion of the mobile home and workshop
renovation into the Tiles with Style showroom and studio, I started renovating a
100+ year old barn. I've always adored old barns and enjoy "scooting" around
with my significant-other Chris, looking at all the unique East Tennessee
tobacco and hay barns; many of which are falling down from decay.
Originally, our barn belonged to a much larger property, but was sub-divided
into 3 smaller parcels, which we recently consolidated back into one; about 5
acres. Our barn was constructed around the turn of the 20th century as a hay
barn. In the
East Tennessee tobacco boom / era, the property was changed into a tobacco
farm, and the barn was modified.
Tobacco barn wood rot and damage
After the fall of tobacco farms, from the government buy-outs, many smaller
farms fell into ruin. It's sad, everywhere you look, you see old tobacco barns
and farm houses literally falling down.
I have always wanted a small farm in Tennessee with a tobacco barn and a mobile
home to renovate. I was hoping for a small renovation, but when you aren't
specific with the universe, you often get what you are given; for which I AM
Looking down from the back of my property line, you can see a group of
white pine trees. The studio and showroom are
concealed these trees. Between the Tiles with Style,
Tennessee showroom / studio complex and the large, 35' x 40' barn,x is an old
To the right of the barn, is a good-size shed; about 20' x 30'. The floor wasn't
constructed properly and was severely sagging and rotting. I didn't really need
the shed for storage, because there is sufficient room in the barn. I had the
contractor re-purpose most of the studs, the roof framework and steel, and
exterior pine siding of the shed into the barn renovation.
First, all of the King (vertical) support posts had to be jacked up; one by
one, rocks beneath the old posts removed, and concrete footer's poured. Then new
posts were installed about 1/2 way up the barn and re-connected to the old round
pine posts. Luckily the two rows of center King posts were not rotted and were
salvageable. The problem with most barns decay is from leaky roofs. The water
runs down the steel to the outside walls, then down the supports and walls.
After the structure was once again stable, the two, lower, outside lofts were
installed with rough-cut lumber from one of the many local timber mills.
Right side loft wet bar/lounge,
opposite to the exercise area, and exit to the new cantilever deck
Exercise room opposite the
Left-side storage loft and
Diane's tiny woodworking bench.
Connecting the two lofts is a 3' wide catwalk with
some of the old tobacco barn drying bars for the handrails. It's definitely
beefy with the three 2x12 floor joists. The decking of the catwalk used some of
the old interior walls of the original barn, as were the upper 1/2 walls that
hide the "mess" in the storage are and behind the wetbar.
The catwalk aligns with the small, 6'x20' cantilever
deck that overlooks the spiral garden that is planted in the dry pond.
cantilever deck off of an old tobacco / hay barn loft in East Tennessee,
Tiles with Style Studio/Showroom complex
from around the pond and at the road really says, "cottage country."
These are available from Wildseed Farms
Some of the old farm fence posts
were still in the barn when I purchased the farm. The bottoms had a bit of rot,
so I had our contractor Jack cut them and use them for the railings on the
cantilever deck. There are two lower decks as well. The higher of the two was
the old back deck on the mobile home and the lower one was a ramp that I had
build originally for the showroom. The enclosure beneath them was re-purposed
interior wall and loft decking materials cut to fit.
The lower-central level of the
barn had a concrete slab poured for safety. Chris is working on his 87' T-bird
and occasionally needs to jack it up. It now parks 3 vehicles, my tractor "Blue
Bell," and garden tractor (left). It also provides me a garden shed space.
floor in old tobacco barn
I wasn't expecting the added
bonus of cooling the barn by having a cement floor. It drops the temperature in
the barn by about 10 degrees with the decrease in night-time temperature
absorption. It always has a nice breeze blowing through it as well and has
become a major hang-out spot for both Chris and me.
The horses are especially
enjoying their new barn space and pasture, which they greatly needed. The horse
water tank stays nice and clean now. I had a cut-out made in the rails for them
to get their heads through and keep their butts out! We even have a place for
our two scooters.
Here are my 20 year old Missouri
Foxtrotters coming in to see what I'm up to in the barn; No Mas Tequilla is a
Palomino; alias "Bud," Budster," and "Butter Bean." Bud was my Mounted Patrol
Horse in Wyoming and is such a lover. To the right is Shadow Blue Scarlet or
Scarlet for short. Scarlet is a single-foot and has the smoothest ride. Both
horses are now "retired."
Here they are having a nice time
Here they are behind the Tiles
with Style showroom / studio complex. They are both easy-keepers.
This is the north side of the
barn where Bud and Scarlet enter their stall; the right, un-gated part. Oddly,
the barn once had a smaller shed room off this side. When they were digging the
center two post, would you believe they exactly hit the site of the two old post
holes? I can, synchronicity happens all the time with me. Synchronicity happens
when you are carefully following your "soul-path" or "divine purpose." There is
nothing that an incarnate spirit loves as much as synchronicity.
I only had to purchase the cedar
for the main supports. The roof structure and steel roof was from the old
storage shed. The gates don't just keep the horses out, but allow access to
drive through the barn; front to back, and for me to get Blue Bell into her
So what is the next project
at the farm? Well, it's a greenhouse, but not the traditional type. The barn
once had a center loft that spanned the entire length of the barn. You can still
see the old notches in the center king-posts in the barn. Either this fall or
next spring a 1/2 center loft will be installed in the front of the barn that
faces south; right at the top of the steps. We'll continue the stairs up about 5
steps to walk straight up into the greenhouse.
The wood face of the barn will
be replaced with a greenhouse walled plastic material and have french doors
opening to another, shallow cantilever deck that will span the entire length of
the barn. We'll probably put a couple larger windows at the ends of both side
I'm planning to create a
"teaching" farm. I'd like to teach people how to grow herbs and grow vegetables,
vertically in small spaces, along with "companion planting." That way there is
no need for pesticides. Most of the problems with rot and bugs comes from plants
proximity to the ground; elevation is the key, and planting herbs that work as
bug and animal repellants.
So what treasures did I find
while renovating the barn? The previous owns hid some bricks beneath a small
floor and concrete blocks under another area where Chris's workshop is now
located. I used the blocks to build 2 meditation benches with some 4x4 cedar
posts. This is the site of the old shed. I like turning old into something new
and beautiful again. There is another one in the bottom of my spiral pond garden
that is dedicated to Father/Mother and several divine feminine ascended masters.
Pictures coming soon!
This is a traditional
herb/perennial garden that is design in matching quadrants.
I was a bit concerned about
planting Rose Moss / Portulaca in these re-purposed cement blocks. I thought
they might get "cooked" in the Tennessee summer sun/heat, but they are thriving.
I can't wait to see them when they cascade fully over the sides of the block.
That's one of my Dad's Buddha's
that I had bought for him prior to his passing. The bench is dedicated to Lord
Father/Mother and the four main archangels, Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and
Uriel. Prior to meditation, I say an invocation to Lord Father and the
archangels. There are crystals beneath the bench in honor of their presence in
my life. Michael has lapis and amethyst (left), Gabriel has white opal (right),
Raphael gets Malachite and Emerald (behind), and Uriel has Red Jasper and
The angels WILL NOT assist you
unless you ASK for their assistance; it's part of the cosmic law of
interference. This is a free-will planet and they are not allowed to interfere;
unless asked. So ASK! They are truly wonderful and will communicate with you in
the best way for you.
Next time you are in the
Knoxville, Tennessee area, please feel free to contact us for a showing of the
Tiles with Style studio, showroom, and farm. We'd love to show it to you, and
sell you some tiles too!