Building a bar out of an antique grain bin seemed like the perfection addition to our Horse Ring Lounge Area. The idea was an easy one, but the execution of such a task was a daunting one. Let me tell you how we made it happen.
Once we had the notion, we began to figure out the details; how large, how wide, how many openenings, what features, etc. Between googling and Pinterest, we began seeing various versions and ideas to feed our imagination as we came up with a specific plan.
Establishing the criteria was the next step. 1. The general size of the Pinterest picture above was going to be sufficient. 2. Adding a bar top was going to be important since that was its purpose. 3. We would need a door. 4. We wanted as much of the original grain bin design to be left for the positive visuals as well as some protection against wind or weather. 5. We would want to concrete the floor for cleanliness sake. 6. We would want an added overhang so that guests could be somewhat under the cover when at the bar. and 7. We would want electricity and cafe lights too, of course. The search began to find someone who could build us our dream Grain Bin Bar. Much effort given to this task and fortunately I found a man in Maryland who builds a few of these on the side as a hobby. Kids play with Legos and this man builds Grain Bins. At first he informed me that I was just too far away from him, yet somehow during the conversation he changed his mind. I don’t know how or why, but I am appreciative and fortunate that he did.
Lee and a small crew of his family came down from Maryland to Flintstone hauling a trailer full of bits and pieces of rusty roofing tins, corrugated arched siding pieces, wood beams, bar toppers, and various other miscellaneous pieces. It truly looked like an adult version of a mix between those vintage Erector Sets and Tinker Toys. In fact, when Lee goes out to the Midwest to salvage these neglected old grain bins, he knows how to methodically dismantle them and stack them accordingly in order to haul back as many as possible on one trailer. Then he begins his task in his own back yard of making the necessary alternations.
Many back and forth converrsations over how large of a door and where; how wide of an opening and where to insert the posts; what type of bar top; what sort of material for the overhang, etc. I must say that Lee went out of his way to accommodate our needs. It was truly as if he was an artist creating a work of art for us, and he personally wrestled with each detail to produce this amazing production mostly for our pleasure but partly because of the challenge to build a masterpiece. I think Lee was keenly aware of our farm history, our perspective on how we embrace the old and tired relics of the past and utilize them for our future. I think Lee is a kindred spirit who agreed to help us, and he now is part of our farm story.
Lee has it down to a science. Pieces numbered and pieces stacked. One by one they are put together. It took no time before it took shape.
They do say “many hands make light work” and though I would be hard-pressed to describe this build project as “light work,” but it is true that the many hands made the process go quickly and it was amazing to watch.
Building the sides was so much easier than the roof. Ladders, increased height, and sharp metal edges all created a challenge, but again, many hands saved the day.
Final touches of a customized roof overhang and wooden bar topper completed the initial project. Lee and his family stayed in the farmhouse so they could be on-site as well as visit Chattanooga while here. Homebound he headed after a project well done.
Hang some cafe lights, install a couple of outdoor fans, add some coolers and a bar stool, and we are ready for business.
Our Grain Bin Bar has been a wonderful addition to the farm. It fits us to a tee. We have a unique outdoor bar facility that was transformed from an unused, unwanted, decrepid vintage grain storage bin. It sits in our Horse Ring encircled with an old board fence left-over from a riding arena of years past. Feet away is the large blades of an old windmill from our family’s farm in Michigan. Just south of it sits our old Pre-Civil War Farmhouse that was run down and neglected but has been restored and now appreciated by many of our brides as a prepping and lodging house. And yes, east of the Grain Bin is our old yet simple pole barn that has totally been transformed over these years in order to make the best of what our history has left for us and to give new life and appreciation to all of these “old things” on the farm. There is history and a story to tell around every corner of this farm as we embrace the past but make things a bit improved along the way.
Our Grain Bin Bar fits in to our vibe perfectly. It has been well-received by our guests. Mark that project has “completed.” Now, I wonder what we can imagine for next year?