Living in a Barn

A year ago today Boot City and I moved back into our newly renovated house. I posted quite a few photos along the way of the renovation on my social media accounts, but I never really gave barn living the credit it is due. When I tell people that we lived in our barn for 6 months, they generally assume that we have a barn apartment of sorts, which we don’t. When I say we lived in our barn, I mean we lived in a 12×14′ room with a cat and 9’ish dogs. The GC for our renovation made sure that we had a working bathroom in the house at all times because there is no bathroom at the barn.

When we had the barn built in 2012, we had the contractor leave the future feed and tack rooms unfinished. I didn’t want the typical drop ceiling room with a hideous shop door, so Boot City was going to fit both rooms out instead. The tack room was completed fairly quickly. To make the room feel larger and look better, the walls went to the ceiling, which was 14′ at the short wall. All 4 walls are constructed of 2×12″ boards. Fast forward 7 short years to the impending house renovation and the feed room was still a work in progress, but not much progress. I came up with the brilliant idea to finish out and live in that room while the house got done. It killed a few birds with one stone; I’d finally have my (future) feed room finished, we would save quite a bit of money not having to rent an RV or something to live in, and we would be on the property and near the animals.

For the 7 years it was unfinished, it had become a storage area of sorts. Mostly of construction supplies and some of Boot City’s tools. I wouldn’t actually keep feed in it long term because there were no doors to keep animals out. This is one of the only photos I found of the room pre-finish. You can see Bunny, our Italian Greyhound helping herself to some alfalfa cubes surrounded by a bunch of junk.

Bunny in the unfinished feed room, helping herself to the horse alfalfa cubes.


We finished it out exactly the same as we had the tack room using 2×12 boards for the walls. It’s way over the top in terms of both cost and durability, but there is peace of mind knowing the walls could probably withstand a tornado. I’d really feel safer in my barn than in my house in a bad storm.  Two of the four walls are exterior walls of the barn and were insulated by the barn builder. All we had to do on those walls was put the 2x12s against the insulation. The other two walls were built from scratch and consist of an inside AND and outside of 2x12s and are insulated with spray foam insulation.

The first go at the spray foam insulation didn’t go very well.

There was spray foam insulation left from when we had finished the tack room. We had stored it in the tack room so it was in a temperature controlled environment, but I don’t think it was meant to be stored that long. Needless to say it was messy and Boot City was NOT happy! It looked like a spray foam insulation bomb had bone off. We are STILL scraping insulation off of portions of the concrete floor.


Here is a look at the boards going on the walls. The boards are “dropped” into steel U channel. It’s a fairly simple process except that 2×12 boards are really heavy and the last couple boards are a very tight fit so are difficult to install. But it sure looks good!

The infamous 14′ ladder. Who knew it would make TWO appearance on the blog in just a few days!


The feed room also has a sink and stainless counter, so we at least had some plumbing in our barn room. The exterior wall where the water heater is will share the hot water with the wash rack that will eventually exist on the barn porch. We put the water heater extra high up because no one wants to look at it and we may as well take advantage of some of that space!

This is a shot of the sink corner when the room was about 92% completed. The water heater is installed and the hole for the air conditioner is prepped. We didn’t actually install the AC until about April because we didn’t need it. The heater is separate and is lower on the wall. You can also see the difference between the old boards that had been installed on the wall quite a long time before the room got completed.

You can see that the ceiling is also 2x12s. Boot City really loves me and I do have the prettiest barn in the whole world.


This is the entrance door that goes into the barn aisle. Every horse girl dreams of waking up and walking out the door to see her horses. It really was an amazing experience to get to know the nuances of how they live in the barn for 6 months. I’m pretty certain they were ready for us to move back to the house, though.

Tall, pretty walls. The windows in the door make a big difference in not making the room feel claustrophobic.


Last, but not least, this is the view of the outside. More or less from the same perspective as the first photo. I don’t know that we’d do this exact design again with the 2x12s, but I really do love how it looks. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, which I also enjoy. Sometime later I’ll post more photos of the tack room. Boot City fabricated all the saddle and bridle hooks from steel. He also recently fabricated a steel tool holder that now hangs on this beautiful wall.

So. Much. Pine.

4 Comments on Living in a Barn

  1. L. Williams
    July 6, 2020 at 4:04 pm (3 years ago)

    uhm, can i come live in your barn?

    • Tara T
      July 12, 2020 at 9:47 pm (3 years ago)

      Sure!!! But now you have to share it with a couple kitties. LOL!

    • Tara T
      July 18, 2020 at 6:26 pm (3 years ago)

      Thank you! I agree, I love wood texture in barns. And since mine is a metal building it makes the inside so much richer!


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