Open Hands barn-raising: beautiful, functional reuse

After seeing the Northfield News photo essay on the Open Hands Farm barn-raising a few weeks ago, I knew I needed to swing by to see what was happening. I’m a huge fan of locally-produced food, old timber-frame barns and reuse of construction materials. What’s not to like?!?

I walked the 2.5 miles from my home on St. Olaf Avenue out to the farm on 320th Street West a couple of frosty mornings ago with my trusty Cairn Terrier/West Highland Terrier companions, Angus and Ruby, and shot some photos of the proceedings. (Click on the photo below for the full Flickr slideshow.)

I was thrilled to see that the good folks at Open Hands, Ben Doherty and Erin Johnson, are working with Mark Johnson of Terrasol Restoration & Renovation, a St. Peter builder who specializes in salvaging old barns and reusing their timber-frames in new structures. I’ve been intrigued by the possibility of reusing the timber-frame(s) of one or more old barns in the cohousing project I’m developing (Buffalo Commons Cohousing), and spent a fascinating afternoon with Mark last winter touring a number of the barns he has in his “stable,” ready for deconstruction and reuse. I took photos of a number of them, and subsequently of some other beautiful old barns in the Northfield area (which you can see by clicking on the photo at right).

I’m looking forward to seeing Erin and Ben’s finished barn!

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