WH Madison CT
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My Geobarn story started many years ago when my dream of building an AC Cobra replica began.
The one major requirement of our house purchase was to have a large garage space. Unfortunately that requirement had to get put aside as we fell in love with our new hometown and house on a quiet cul-de-sac.
After a health scare, I decided that I needed to do what I could to make this dream a reality. With money being tight I set up a budget, admittedly unrealistic and ignorant, but I pushed on.
From the start of my research I was quickly disappointed by the price quotes from most post and beam contractors, which were in the area of double my total budget. After more research I found that most of these were more architectural quality, period correct, mortise and tenon, hand-made structures made from exotic woods suitable for interior finishing.
Some were close in budget but would have required a considerable amount of labor. The closest in budget were pre-cut kits and seemed just too easy on paper to construct.
One barn contractor turned me away as he stated he only built ‘horse barns’ and wouldn’t even speak to me if I was building a barn for automobiles.
Then I happened upon Geobarns, thanks to a couple different posts found on www.garagejournal.com.
I spoke to George Abetti and we discussed size, plot, etc. and of course, budget. He too agreed that the budget was low, but unlike all others, unable to let me off the hook, he took on the task of reducing the cost of my build by substituting out dual sash windows for cheaper alternatives, revising materials used, opting for hand-made doors in lieu of pre-hung or garage doors and so on.
We discussed a 12 day build with these materials for my budgeted cost, knowing we’d probably go over and decided we’d get the build to a point that I could finish it if needed. This was exactly what I was looking for. We did all of this by email and phone while George was knee-deep in Virginia clay building the Pippin Hill monster Geobarn. Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards | Facebook
After removing 18 trees (I now have enough firewood to last until my kids are out of college) excavating the steep grade and concrete foundation, I was now ready for my Geobarn. Luckily the concrete floor was poured only 5 days before George and his crew arrived, perfect timing!
After months of pleasant conversations and emails with George, I was really looking forward to meeting him and getting started. On June 29th, George and his 2 man crew (Jon and Dan) hit the ground running. By the next day they had the post and beam structure erected and were flooring the loft by day 3 or 4. Every day upon returning home from work, I was amazed by how much progress was being made.
Despite my busy work schedule I tried to assist where I could but I couldn’t hold a candle to George’s energy and stamina. I so appreciated his (as well as Jon and Dan’s) inner drive to get this project finished within our planned schedule, sometimes working 10 hr days in the summer heat. I also appreciated George’s patience with my sons’ questions. They’d often tug on him to ask ‘what the buttress did’, or if this or that was strong enough. He always took the time to answer their questions with a thoughtful answer.
Each day the barn grew more beautiful and it seemed such a shame to cover it with siding! The diagonal framing is such an interesting and strong visual aspect of the barn and brings an entirely new type of life to the interior of the barn.
George and his crew pressed on full speed until our agreed upon date. They nearly finished the entire barn within the budgeted time, something we both knew would not happen, but came so close. I decided to have George and crew finish the entire barn right down to the finishing touches that we initially thought I might take on.
George’s attention to detail is remarkable. Every cut and every joint are tight and precise. The finishing touches to the trim and sills around windows are simple and beautiful.
The handmade doors are better looking than anything I could have purchased and have the signature Geobarn look and design. I would not trade them for anything.
On the last night as I helped George pack up his trailer (in the miserable rain) I felt bad seeing him go. I grew accustomed to seeing him every day sharing our appreciation for the beautiful details of their work, as well as sharing an occasional meal and good conversation. What a cherished friendship I received with this barn!
What I did notice last night, as I stood outside admiring my new finished barn, is that I now had a pleasant reminder of George, his friendship, his attention to detail, his building method and what a good, kind and remarkable person he is. I am so grateful for that.
I never would have thought I’d get so much out of a ‘barn build’. I feel that I am a better person having known George and I smile when I think that he’ll be touching someone else’s life sometime very soon in another town somewhere, reaching inside himself to share the love for his art as he did for me.
Thanks George- We will miss you!