Dale Lehmer, owner of Antique Woods and Colonial Restorations (AWCR), has been working with antique barns and homes all across America for about 45 years now. He started working full time taking down barns in the early 70s to sell the siding and beams that became popular for home restorations at that time.
Over the years, Dale and his company have literally dismantled over a thousand barns, log and timber-frame homes, churches, covered bridges, train stations, privies, and other assorted sheds and early structures. After several years of dismantling and studying these structures, he completed the cycle and started rebuilding them as homes, offices, stores, art galleries, mills, horse barns, and many other creative re-uses of these magnificent historical artifacts.
Today, due to his age, Dale has several independent experienced firms that do the dismantling of the frames that he then purchases and brings to his shop in Upstate NY for cleaning, repairs, adaptations, and future sales.
His firm has helped to design and rebuild scores of barn – home conversions, timber frame additions, numerous antique log homes and other colonial structures. Dale’s love and knowledge of early structures and antique woods is clearly evident if you will take the time to browse through the photo section of our main web site.
AWCR knows barns and early structures. They know what can be done with them, they understand the structural components, how to rebuild them in a cost efficient manner, how to convert them to many different uses, and how to incorporate other antique lumbers into an overall theme. Not only can they help you find a truly magnificent barn frame or log house, they can help work with you on conceptual design and drawings for home conversions and other creative uses that can then be taken to your architect or engineer for refinement, review, and stamping. If you would like to look more closely into what AWCR and Dale can do for you, please visit our other web sites:
Small Barn Homes Antique Woods
The Importance of Design:
The design and overall construction drawings for your barn-home are extremely important if you want to build a well thought out conversion in the most cost effective manner. This phase may well make or break the relative success of the entire project, and we feel it is essential to have someone who has had experience with designing and building historic barn frames, and experience working with vintage lumbers.
Although the antique barn-home-lumber business is not necessarily complicated rocket science, there are many aspects of it that are not obvious or merely common sense to builders or architects with little or no experience in this specific field. We have a number of architects and engineers that we have worked with over the years and that do have experience in this field, and we would be happy to steer you in their direction if you ask. On many occasions we have helped our clients develop basic conceptual floor plans around a given barn frame, and then they brought in an architect or engineer to help with further development and refinement. Once completed, these can then be stamped and certified by the engineer/architect and be used to secure your building permit from the local building officer. We are willing to work with you to any stage of this process you desire, and welcome the opportunity to work with other skilled architects, engineers, builders and designers.
Whoever helps you, be sure that your conversion plans and architectural drawings are intelligently conceived and attempt to maintain the integrity and timber configuration of the existing barn structure as much as possible. At the same time, of course, they should also incorporate your living space and floor plan requirements and your own individual personal tastes and desires. We believe that the more your home can be expressed within the given structure of the barn frame as it exists, the less money you will spend, and the more natural and harmonious your home will feel in the end.
Basics of our Design Process for Barn Home Conversions
Of course, the first stage is to find and purchase a barn frame that works for your purposes. If we have helped you do that then we already know your basic living space and floor plan requirements, and some of your ideas, tastes and wish lists you would like to have incorporated in your new barn home conversion. After a number of conversations with you about these issues, we take the barn frame drawings you were given when you purchased the frame and we start to do just basic drawings of floor plans that attempt to fit your home requirements into your frame. As mentioned before, we attempt to do this intelligently and creatively with as little changes to the frame as possible. This not only maintains the integrity of the barn frame itself, but also makes it more cost effective.
We fax/email these basic developing plans back and forth on a regular basis so that we can proceed to move ahead with our drawings in a cost effective way based on your choices. We keep the drawings simple and to the point – no bells and whistles or trees or meandering people in the background. We attempt to show you as many intelligent design options as possible that would help fit your home wish list into this frame as non-intrusively and harmoniously as possible.
At the same time we attempt to keep you aware of the cost implications of all these options so that you can keep on top of your projected budget. I have seen too many house plans in my days that were deep sixed because budgets were not taken into account while the plans were being developed. You end up with beautiful home plans the owner unfortunately can’t afford to build. We see our involvement as helping – or perhaps enabling is a better word – you design your own home.
After the conceptual floor plans are developed we can also be of great assistance to you in picking out some other antique woods to use in your home including wide plank flooring, exposed roof sheathing, and many different kinds of wall paneling that will add greatly to the overall look and feel of your barn home. We have a large supply of these kinds of aged woods and offer a 20% discounted price on them when they go into one of our purchased barn frames.
We can take these conceptual conversion drawings to any level that you want, including large prints, and then they must be reviewed, finished and stamped by an architect and/or engineer before any building can take place. We also have several engineers we have worked with in New York State area that can review them structurally and stamp them for building permits in certain states where they are licensed. Our design work and home plan drawings have been done with clients all over the country and we do it primarily through email and faxes. We don’t have to necessarily live close to your location, although it is a plus if we do.
This is the basics of our design services. If you would like more information, just give us a call.