I will never forget the thrill I felt the first time I saw the barn. My twin sister Penny and I had been exploring the land – Chris hadn’t come up to Whangarei that weekend, so it was just us. We pulled up the roller door and birds scattered. It was full of timber and the neighbour’s boat. Penny and I stood in the middle of the downstairs part and stared up at the high rafters. It was so rustic and old and I loved it. She said to me, “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” You bet I was! We could live there!!!
For the next few months I would lie in bed and dream about making the barn our home. I couldn’t wait to start making it into a cozy home. Once we finally moved there we set to – putting in windows, leveling the concrete floor, making a kitchen bench and putting in a composting toilet.
One of the most exciting days was when our Homewood stove arrived!! That night we feasted on our first roast for months. The Homewood warmed the barn in the cold winter months (it could be 0 degrees), cooked all our food and heated our water. It was THE place to be on an evening and we all crowded around it, warming ourselves and listening to Dad read aloud from the latest book.
We all slept up in the loft for the first few weeks…we had to climb up a ladder on the wall – awkward for Lucy and Angel, our dogs. It became our children’s bedroom for the next four years. Very noisy up there when the rain was pounding on the tin roof!
I soon found a set of stairs at a demolition yard and we put them in the barn. They were a bit short but Chris went outside and cut a block of macracarpa to put at the bottom and that did the trick! He and Sam chose a branch for the handrail – it became very shiny and smooth over the next four years.
It was real thrill when we discovered that the back room had a concrete floor! I quickly claimed it as our ‘master bedroom’ and once we’d shovelled out a lot of dirt and mud and then waterblasted the concrete and levelled it, it became a lovely bedroom. Oh yes, Chris had to prop up the sagging roof – hence the post in the photo.
Another exciting arrival was an old claw foot bath I found on Trade Me. We set it up in the back pump room. There were huge gaps at the bottom of the corrugated iron, so it was cold room on a winter’s night! (We left it like that as it served very well as a cat/dog door. ) One night while Kate was enjoying a bath, a possum came in. Not so pleasant. 🙂 But it was a lovely place to relax by candlelight after a hard day’s work.
We paved the area under the front verandah and Chris hung up the love seat he made for my birthday one year. We have spent many happy hours enjoying the sunshine and eating breakfast or reading out there.