Dean and Kristi moved from Northern Montana to their Johnson Road home in 1999. In addition to the house, the property included several original out buildings, assorted aging farm implements, and a “cool old barn.” In 2000, the new owners decided to spiff up the barn by giving it a fresh coat of deep brown paint complete with bright white trim.
Through the years, time, water, and more than a few pesky marmots had taken their toll on the barn. The roof was sagging and there was significant damage from animals burrowing around the base of the building. It was decision time: save the barn, or let it go? It was old. The well-worn cottonwood floor in the stalls covered a layer of manure. The narrow steps were steep and shaky. The hayloft was littered with pigeon poop. On the other hand, the barn was a slice of history. It contained interesting old artifacts; a poem written in pencil on the doorway. There was the enormous, breathtakingly beautiful, ceiling in the hayloft. It was almost as if the sad old barn whispered its own fate. In 2003, through no easy process, the entire structure was lifted and a 4-ft. concrete foundation was poured beneath it.
Over the next three years, Dean worked tirelessly to remove old flooring and manure, lay gravel, and preserve whatever parts of the barn he could. All the while, the wheels in his head turned. He hoped to design a shop where he could restore the old cars he loved, convert the hayloft to a basketball court for the kids, add a bathroom, and perhaps devise a small kitchen area. But first, he must find a way to stabilize the barn. It had begun to lean.
By 2007, after having secured and trued the aging structure, renovation began. Original plans included stubbing in electricity and plumbing to keep the future of the building versatile. By 2010, the barn had developed into a five-bedroom home where Dean, Kristi, and their kids lived for 14 months while their own house was remodeled and repaired from a hailstorm. In 2011 & 2012, Dean and Kristi put finishing touches on the barn in preparation for their new adventure: hosting a vacation home and small event venue. In retrospect, it seems The 1915 Barn had a life of its own from the beginning. Today, the former "cool old barn" couldn't be happier!