So, at this point in the “The Barn” process, it was almost graduation. My Barn was delivered the Monday after my graduation. Yes! It was delivered by the time that I wanted it. Like I said before, I didn’t think it through and realize that the inside of The Barn needed to be completed before I put stuff from the dorm in there. The first living room was full of things that would eventually be put in The Barn and part of it was stuff I had taken out of my dorm room on campus.
When it was delivered, one man brought it up on a trailer. One. Dude. And we live on a very large hill so our driveway is extra steep. Like, it’s basically a baby mountain. They had to come out beforehand to check to make sure that it could be driven up our driveway. Anyway, it was possible. The guy stops at the end of the driveway, gets out of the truck and pulls out a remote control. Literally, an extra wheel drops down and he is able to control the entire trailer and move it to an angle so that it was possible for him to drive up the driveway.
Once up the driveway, he then proceeded to drive in our roundabout at the top of the hill so he could back the entire building to the backyard. It was an interesting thing to watch because, once again, it was one guy doing the entire thing. He backed it up and lowered a platform and then attached two more wheels onto the building and pulled out what looked like an oversized Segway. This oversized Segway attached to the other end of the building and he backed the entire thing off of the trailer and placed it exactly where I had said I wanted it. Boom. Done. Almost.
For the next few hours he was playing cinderblocks underneath the building so make sure it was level and would not fall down the hill. He informed me that I didn’t need to put anything heavy on the inside on one particular side for too long because the building had not settled yet and would end up uneven. So, for a month, I was so scared of messing it up that if I ever went inside, I sat in the middle of it.
The next thing I needed to do was figure out how to build a partition wall to extend one of the lofts because I needed more storage. For a second, I was thinking I could do this stuff myself. No. I got a contractor who hired out an electrician and plumber. They helped me make The Barn what it is now. While I did have them wire, plumb, build a partition wall, and a ton of other stuff, I did as much as I could. I cut the floor for the bathroom area, got the carpet bound and cut to size, painted the drywall and ceiling, and insulated it.
I learned so many things from this project. The most important lesson I learned was that you should definitely fork out the money to have somebody else insulate it but if you’re going to do it yourself, don’t do it on July 4th weekend. I made that mistake. It was hot. I actually melted. I used ROXUL insulation, which means it’s rock wool, which means small rocks. For three days, I was in pants and long sleeves with a mask on my face and safety glasses because insulation hurts and itches. Those clothes had to be washed four times and I think it still had some insulation in it. I haven’t worn those clothes since.
Another thing I did myself was place the plastic underneath The Barn so that it would help keep the hot water heater insulated. That was better than the insulating but still terrible because spiders are a thing.
This part of the process took the entire three months of summer (May-August). It was finally finished with the final inspection and I could move furniture and carpet in it. So, I called helpers over to help lift heavy things and set my desk up. It didn’t take very long to put everything inside after the carpet was down. Bam. It was finished (except for decorations, which I still have not put up yet). But I do have an HVAC. So, heating and A/C! Yay for not melting or freezing!
1. Being a musician, I need multiple outlets. When I designed The Barn, I put 16 outlets originally and ended up with 19 because what happens if I need another outlet?? I actually use many of these outlets.
2. Did you know that a Keurig needs a designated outlet because it draws so much energy to heat water so quickly? Yeah. I had no idea.
3. Probably don’t insulate in the summer unless absolutely necessary (or get somebody else to do it).
4. Always plan stuff like this for future use. I did things a little differently because of this. I roughed in a shower in case I ever wanted it to be more than just a studio space. Of course, to add a shower, I need another permit. But if I ever DID want to add a shower, it was cheaper to rough it in now than to tear out walls and add extra pipes later. Plan for everything.
Here are the final pictures of The Barn.
Like I said in my last post, there were so many steps to completing this project but I am so very happy that I have done it. What are your projects you have worked on/will work on in the future?
In my last post, I mentioned that I had just built a “studio” and I’m calling it The Barn. The Barn was a gigantic step for me as a musician. I had many reasons for doing this but here are the main ones:
So, back in February, I was talking to my parents about how I want to record my own music. Earlier in my years, I had always talked about building on to the playhouse in the back yard or enclosing the “first living room” (originally our only living room until my parents added on to the house). My dad had The Building where he had all of his woodworking stuff at and, doggone it, I wanted my own area too!
We almost closed in the “first living room” but then I quickly decided that with the money I had been saving up for, like, the entirety of my life, I wanted my OWN space where I didn’t have to tell them to be quiet when I was recording (because the microphones I use pick up the lights sometimes).
I started getting serious and I started looking up garden shed type buildings where I could just convert the inside of it to how I wanted it. Originally, I thought I wanted a 10’x12’ because at the time, my dorm room was 8’x10’ and I figured that I would be okay with something just a LITTLE bigger. I think I looked through magazines of these for a month. There was a place in town that sold customizable buildings such as these and I drove by multiple times, without stopping, to just glance at them.
Finally, after talking to other musicians who had kind of done the same thing, I came to the conclusion that I would want this area much larger. So, I opted for the 12’x24’ barn style shed. During this time, I was also drawing out floor plans and trying to design my space online. After knowing what size I would actually want, it was easier for me to go about planning the inside and where things would go. I dug through my old 5th grade school supplies (not even sure why we still had them) and found some graph paper. From one interior design class that I took in high school, I could still remember the shapes and what they meant when it came to blueprints. I drew out the first sketch and that was the basis for The Barn.
Over the period of the next month, I drew sketches on graph paper and measured out everything that I had in my dorm that would go into The Barn. Then, I went to the place that sold empty sheds and talked them about prices and the different types of styles they had to offer. I knew I wanted lofts because I needed storage space. After getting a quote, I went home and thought about if I really wanted to do this. I did.
A few weeks later, I went BACK to the building place in town and just sat in one that would be relatively the size I wanted. I took a sketch book so I could visualize. I think I sat there for an hour or two just dreaming up the interior.
More time passed and one of my aunts had decided to move to the beach into a fully furnished house. But she wasn’t selling her house at “home” fully furnished. That meant extra furniture. She ever so graciously donated her couch, recliner, carpet and carpet padding, trunk that looks really cool, and side table, to the “Brittany Foundation” (aka me).
Finally, after getting all of my ideas together, I went to the building place in town and showed them my blueprints. They gave me another, more accurate, quote and I got to pick out what color my Barn was going to be (I opted for a tan color since it matched my parent’s house). The nice lady sent in the order and told us to check back with them at about 8 weeks.
My initial thought was “Holy Jesus are you kidding me? 8 weeks? That’s enough time for me to regret this decision!” *spoiler alert: I don’t regret it * Then I thought about it a little more and realized that it’s not really that long because somebody has to build the thing. If I was the one building it, it would take much longer considering I’m not into construction.
My goal was to have The Barn delivered by graduation so that I could just move everything out of my dorm into it so that “stuff” wouldn’t crowd the living room. Well, it was delivered on the Monday after my graduation. I just didn’t think through that the inside needed to be completed before I moved things in.
Check back for next week’s continuation blog post about The Barn!
Until then, keep playing.
Hey guys! My first blog post will be dedicated to helping you get to know me a little bit more than what you read in my bio (if you read my bio).
So, obviously, I’m a musician. I have identified as such for as long as I can remember. Music has always been my first love. My mom told me that when I was little and in a stroller that I would sing “picking up paw paws put ‘em in the basket” all the way through the mall. Apparently, I didn’t care that other people were looking at me. As I got older though, I was shyer and wouldn’t sing in front of anybody.
When I was in the car, I would have my cassette tape player (because those existed when I was little) and I would sing Disney songs for however long the car ride was. Five hours? No problem! Just give me Hercules, Mulan, and The Lion King and I could make it. It’s safe to say that I still sing for countless hours in the car. It’s still Disney songs.
I also identified as a golfer for part of my life. From the age of 4 to 16 I practiced and competed. Part of that time I thought I wanted to be a professional female golfer.
During this time, I played softball as well. From taking my first steps on a field as an itty t-ball player to my senior year in high school, I loved every second. (Maybe not the running part). In 8th grade, we had a day where we dressed up like a person who had the career we wanted. I dressed up as the USA softball team’s 3rd baseman. Because back then, there was a USA softball team. I thought I wanted to play in college but alas, my coach at the time made me not love it like I used to. One example of this was when I was a senior, I had gotten a booking to sing at our local Relay For Life, so I had to miss a practice. He made me run because I was not at practice and was singing for cancer survivors. I proceeded to get half of the team to run with me. #therealMVPs
After all of this was over, I went to a community college and joined a country cover band. Honestly, I don’t know how they let me stay because I went to the first rehearsal only knowing three songs, two of which I could sing and had been singing for quite some time. Shout out to them for giving me a chance. I stayed with them as they rotated members and changed band names throughout two years. During this I was still booking a solo show here and there.
Eventually, the band broke up but I kept playing solo shows. Slowly, I started getting more bookings but my main focus was school. I graduated from community college and attended UNC Greensboro. I met an awesome church group there and they quickly became my “campus friends” (because I commuted at that point). My senior year at UNCG I tried dorm life and let me tell you, it’s not for me. I can live on my own and survive but I’d rather do it with people who communicate. Communication was not a theme in our suite. Nobody talked about anything ever. Overall, though, when I did see them on the rare occasion, they were very nice.
I met some pretty important people at this part of my life, some of which include the people that I’m in a band with now. I graduated this past May with a major in Communication Studies and a minor in Entrepreneurship. #MagnaCumLaude (not that it matters now that I’m out).
Now, I’m finished with school and can completely focus on my music! A nice little project I started while in my senior year of college was “The Barn.” The Barn is my own little studio space where I can work on YouTube videos, recordings, and new songs. It took a while to complete but I’m so happy I did this. I learned a lot in the process and have something to show for it.
I’m at a cool point in my life where I’m doing what I love and I’m happy doing it. If you have any questions about anything or want me to elaborate on something you read, let me know! It may be a whole ‘nother blog post for me to write!