Red Barn Renovation: Wires and Walls and Stairs, Oh My!

Red Barn Renovation: Wires and Walls and Stairs, Oh My!

Johnny Williams
Mar 1, 2010

A new month has arrived and construction on the barn marches forward. At the beginning of February, the old outbuilding was a dingy mess, packed with potential — and a few eight legged squatters to boot. But that potential is quickly becoming a reality as my future workshop takes shape.

After reinforcing the ceiling joists and installing two load-bearing beams, it was time to frame the walls. While cinder blocks offer a charming prison aesthetic, we opted to cover them up with sheetrock. Applied atop the new framing, this drywall will not only soften the space, but will also enclose the insulation and extensive electrical wiring.

The team first framed downstairs, building the studs (the vertical supports) and plates (the horizontal) along all four walls. Upstairs was next, where plans called for a pair of knee walls and a small storage closet. This was the perfect point to lose the metal ladder and install our shiny pine staircase. The pre-made modular unit arrived at 9 in the morning — and I was ascending in style within the hour.

By the time we summoned the electricians, it was beginning to look a lot like a workspace. I'd spent months eagerly mapping out the electrical layout, deciding precisely where to place my outlets, lighting and woodworking equipment, but I was suddenly nervous to commit to a final configuration. Designing a workshop from scratch is empowering, but the pressure to get it right is intense! I won't really know if I did a good job until I set up my heavy machinery and start making furniture. Until then, it's back to the barn — I'm expecting the wood stove delivery any minute!

Images: Johnny Williams

Late last year, I kicked off a series of posts in which I'll document the transformation of an old barn into my future workshop.

Red Barn Renovation: Where To Begin?
Red Barn Renovation: Green Cleaning & Disposing Of Toxic Chemicals
Red Barn Renovation: Energy Efficiency Tax Breaks
Red Barn Renovation: Why I Bought A Wood Stove
Red Barn Renovation: Hiring An Architect
Red Barn Renovation: Where To Buy Reclaimed Wood
Red Barn Renovation: Kicking Off Construction!

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