Life Is A Barn

By: qwerty53

May 18 2011

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Category: Remodeling, Uncategorized

1 Comment

Focal Length:22mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:NIKON D300S

Atop a ridge with a magnificent 360-degree view positioned on the Shelby-Bibb County line, sits a barn that Ricky and Debbie Stallings have lovingly converted to a one-of-a-kind home.
Originally part of the 200-acre Al Rosser farm, the barn, built in 1961, crowns the summit overlooking the valley and hillside once populated by grazing cattle.
The Stallings, from Tuscaloosa, who had already made an offer on a Hwy 11 property, stopped by on a whim after seeing auction signs posted on the property. After that offer fell through, they found themselves considering more seriously two of the parcels carved from the original farm.
Their initial plans to build a new home on the hillside evolved to converting the barn itself after they realized its commanding vista.
“We have spectacular fall views, surrounded by the mountain ridges and overlook two lakes in the back. Come July 4th we can see fireworks from three surrounding towns,” Ricky Stallings points out.
“It was my idea to convert the barn to living quarters—a concept Ricky initially found very amusing—but came around to,” said Debbie. “My son told me outright that I had lost my mind.”
Work began in October 2005 and by February 2006 the barn was ready to be occupied. That the barn was exceptionally well built to start with was a plus. Retaining its rustic flavor was the core of Debbie’s remodeling concept.
“I had to repeatedly emphasize to our carpenter that we were taking an antique and enhancing it,” Debbie explains.
Where the dining and living room now are were once horse stalls. Hay was forked down through a hole in the ceiling, now covered. The existing concrete floor needed only to be treated and refinished. The tack room was converted to the downstairs bathroom complete with claw-foot tub.
By removing a wall, the feed room evolved to become the kitchen. Though a small space, Debbie’s ingenious angled placement of the stove and installation of cabinets that include a corner lazy-susan, results in a functional kitchen that is enhanced with a small window in which hangs a charming old stained-glass window curtained with a tea towel. Old jars and a butterchurn complement the setting; even the cookbooks are aged and the metallic paint used on the ceiling casts a mellow glow.
Interior columns and doorframes were surfaced with rustic barnwood; some planks still bear the teethmarks of the horses.
Debbie uses meaningful collected furniture and accessories throughout the house and seems to have her own trash & treasure angel on her shoulder guiding her to roadside castoffs, spectacular finds and unique vintage pieces that she incorporates in clever ways.
The downstairs bedroom occupies the former chicken coop and holds a brass bed found in the barn, now painted black. Black and white toile fabric anchors the scheme, with whimsical displays of vintage hats, purses and jewelry providing the wall décor.
The unusual whitewashed gingerbread door to the bedroom has a frosted glass pane with an outdoor mountain scene and the original doorknobs. Debbie acquired it for $75 and it fit into the opening with the addition of just one board at the bottom.
“I have a willingness to be eccentric,” Debbie says. It is that eye that has created such an eclectic and fascinating homestead.
Everything has a story—from the trash-rescued living room chair now covered with cowhide to the feeding trough used for storage in the bathroom to the barnwood-framed mule picture and rusted farm paraphernalia displayed in the stairwell. Two old-fashioned treadle sewing machines serve as bedside tables in the master suite.
Debbie, who is a realtor with ReMax, says weddings are a sideline for her and that last year, her daughter’s friend had the first wedding on their property. The ceremony was held under the large gazebo on the south side of the house. The back porch held the bar setup and doubled as a dance floor.
“The setting here is expansive but intimate, and quite special, we feel, but as my daughters and I develop our wedding business, we will take our expertise to any venue.”
Unexpected touches of humor throughout the home also leave any visitor with a smile on their face. A sign posted near Debbie’s desk proclaims, “Out of my mind. Back in 5 minutes.” It is a given, however, that an enormous amount of seriously creative in-mind time and effort went into and continues to expand the happily-ever-after possibilities of this labor of love.


One comment on “Life Is A Barn”

  1. This article appeared in the May 2011 issue of Shelby Living magazine.

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