Cape Cod Cranberry Barn
Click on any photo to see an enlarged detail view
As I think over the past fall and winter building our “cranberry barn”:—several things come to mind.
First—the way Geobarns designs and executes their construction was ideal for my particular set of needs—which included a free span structure with high ceilings and a substantial space above. I also needed a shop space incorporated into the main shell which we were able to design into the project at lower cost using an attached shed as supposed to simply making the entire building bigger. Geobarns are quite versatile without escalating costs—and George was creative, mindful of my already tight budget and willing to modify the building to suit my requirements within his opinionated convictions—which we both shared!
As an example—I knew that the siting of the building would preclude a good view of the cupola from the driveway approach—and asked him if we could move the cupola forward from its typical central position on the ridge so that we could easily see it. George was uncharacteristically quiet mulling over that request—but solved the symmetry problem when I got my first set of plans back by putting in two cupolas so that at least one of them would be immediately visible coming up the driveway—and he did so without increasing the cost of the contract or violating his sense of aesthetics.
Second—part of the arrangement to keep the costs down was for us to house the crew—who were from Maine. Geobarns builds all over the US and allocates crews like a big chessboard depending on who needs what and where. The guys became like family to us over the months they were there—and although the barn took longer than any of us expected (mostly due to its large size)—at no time did they cut corners or lessen their commitment to quality craftsmanship and personal ownership of their work. As a business owner myself it is heartwarming to know that they were not just putting in time for someone else—this was as much theirs as it was going to be mine.
Last—this was actually a lot of fun. George already shared in the note above about the practical joke the crew and I pulled on him—but there were many good memories that will last as long as the beautiful structure in our property. One of the ones that most stands out was positioning this huge weathervane I bought on top of the” front” cupola. We had tried to do this with the crew with the basket crane while it was there—but it was in the dark after a very long day and after we got it up we all agreed it was a bit crooked and would need to be re-done—but without the critical presence of the crane. George—who has no concept of what it means to be 61 years old—clawed his way up the roof on a homemade shiplap ladder and tied a stepladder to the ridge of the main roof to access the cupola….with his only condition that I watch and keep him company 20’ below on top of the shed roof so that “if anything happens at least you will be there to see it…..” I watched him with a combination of horror and amusement as he sat on his arse on the cupola ridge for over a full hour juggling tools, the disassembled weathervane and his own tense emotions during the rapidly descending nightfall….but nonetheless--there the American Eagle stands—a testimony not just to the grand barn that now graces our property but also to the perseverance, love and guts of all who built it.
It was appropriate that our travel crew from Maine of Matthew Robinson and David Fountaine, along with help from Lee and Sammy--was able to build this gorgeous cranberry barn late this fall--with both states known for this industry. The barn features a 12' wide shed running the full 60' length--and what makes it striking is that there are only posts on the common wall that would otherwise separate the two spaces. The barn houses the farm equipment with a full blown shop being created in the shed section....already in use.
Our clients were hospitable and generous beyond belief--putting the crew up on the premises and me occasionally in the house. They have a little piece of heaven near East Sandwich--with their over which the sun rises and draws off the morning mist. The crew was quite small for a barn this size with only three men on site most days--and with a 42x60 footprint and a full 17' eave they had their hands full.
This barn was ALSO defined by the crew and client pulling a very successful practical joke on...yep...me. One day I got a serious, concerned call from our client asking me if he could use the large pile of 5' hemlock offcuts for fence posts...which rapidly shot my heart into my throat and my stomach onto the ground....since with my obsessive material allocations and almost zero waste coefficient I knew the only way we could have such large offcuts is if they cut the 16' posts into the much shorter sections required for the upper beam. I called Matthew in a rising panic and interrogated him about the material....and merciful he was only able to play dumb for half a minute before bursting into laughter...and conveniently blaming all of this on the client's initiative wanting to pull one over on me....:-P
My relief was so palpable I forgot to be ticked at being so gullible....I would have been ready for the guys but the client's apparent innocence suckered me but good....:-\ The massive doors closed against the rising sun....the first view every morning from their home.