I had a couple, mid 60's travel from CA to IN. They were traveling for family reason's, but traveled 6 hours- a long way out of the way to pick out a beam that will be transformed into a fireplace mantle. They were wonderful people designing a summer home out west that they are building. This piece is the first piece they are purchasing for that home. I took the couple to a barn that we are reclaiming. Just watching them explore the barn was awesome as they took pictures and listened to the stories. It was touching to see this 6 1/2 ft lawyer from CA with tears streaming down his face as he found such compassion for the history of this old barn and its family that cherished it. They were so excited to pick out a beam to have shipped across the country to their new home. I was touched by their compassion.
Later that day, I took a young couple, mid 20's that are flipping their home to that same barn. They wanted to find historic wood that would make amazing flooring. I might add they have weren't sure about the whole process. They were so excited to discover the oak wood flooring and talk about how we would recreate their kitchen while correcting doors that had been hung by someone and were not where they needed to be. We will be ripping out the current floor and replace it with a hayloft flooring from the 1880's. And on the wall in their home will be a photo of this old cherished barn. So many designer redoes and home flipping. The chaos, the decision making, the mistakes along the way are sad, hilarious and touching.
I listen to the heartbreaking story of a woman that needs a barn deconstructed. Her mother raised her and her brother after their dad died when they were 6 and 8. Their mother still lives on the farm that she single- handedly kept running all of these years. Her mother is now 84 years old. This isn't just a building. This is a part of their family. It is a pre-civil war built building that has been part of their family all these years. It has memories and history that she shared with me through her tear filled voice. It touched my heart. These are the reasons I do what I do.
A 70 year old couple that came to me to select a hand hewn beam to wrap their current mantle. They touched the wood. Smelled it. Shared their love of heritage, and we designed a new mantle for them. Their excitement for this remodel to their forever home while in their late 70 struck me as precious. I want to be that passionate about someone and have someone there to share that with me like this couple.
During The Maker's Space- A space where people create their own DIY pieces with help from us- I watched people learn to do things they had never done before. I will quote a recent attendee, "I have never held a tool in my hand in my life!" She was able to create her own fireplace mantle that she sanded. Then she was almost in tears to find that the builder did not prepare the fireplace to hold that weight and so lots of adjustments will need to be made. Her husband later carved their initials in the end of the beam with a heart. It was touching. Groups of like minded people of all ages and backgrounds coming to one space to create, laugh and learn together.
I sold a piece of lumber from a barn where the story is heartbreaking. In this story the family farm wife that raised 4 children alone after her husband was strangled by a piece of farm equipment on their family farm broke my heart. The jacket that his wife gave him as a pre- Christmas gift to keep him warm from the brutal cold was caught in the farm equipment later that same day... 2 days before Christmas. Their memories of their mother and her strength to keep their family farm from being lost to the state is touching and remarkable. I hear these stories daily but this one touched me deeply. The family was in tears as we started the deconstruction.
I have designers that come with no measurements, no photos, and big needs. They pic out mantles, floors, accent walls and other crazy customer request, Their unprepared needs and their mistakes are comical just in themselves. And I love helping them through their struggles as most of them are struggling small business owners that work around the clock to live out their dream.
Then there are the married couples. They are the best of all. They come in vehicles that the materials won't load into. They argue over ideas for designs as if it is the first time to discuss the project with no clue at all what the other is thinking. I often wonder if they even live in the same house! They make me realize that patience is a gift and compromise is a treasure.
I am a single woman with 7 children. Working in a man's world. I get criticized for every move I make. Wrong tools, tearing barns down incorrectly, missed deadlines. Not wearing a mask in a hayloft. I probably cry at least 3 times a day for the mistakes and frustrations that starting a business from scratch causes. -But I keep pushing forward into some unknown space I didn't even know I wanted to step into in the first place.
The entire concept of starting a small business and how incredibly hard it is well that I face every day- that alone is huge. LLC? S-Corp? EIN numbers, FB, INS, Post what where ??#reallystressful Seriously, there is no course for the alphabet soup that one must decipher when doing business in this not so small business friendly world. Social media is a series of constant criticisms. and sets the expectation that business owners are awake 24/7 waiting to answer the middle of the night text or email.
Failure is hard, and I fail a thousand times a day.
Today was no different. Quitting though is not an option. Why? Because of the people!
It is not why my story needs shared. It is not why people are constantly telling me you should get a show on HGTV. It is the people- the barn families and the designers and the DIYer and the passionate customer... their stories, their tears, their mistakes, and their dreams that are the real stories. the real reasons I do what I am doing.
This world that I have accidentally created allows me to flip-houses, teach people about reclaimed lumber and how to make their world special by using it, and share the stories of generations of people that have bonded with a building that is now dying. It is my job to comfort them during this time of loss while passing on the history to so many others. This is the story that needs to be shared.
So thank you to those that have sent me encouragement, If you are reclaiming a dream, I would love to hear your story. Your daily- what keeps you moving forward.
All my best,