"I went to Costa Rica with a friend and we stayed in an amazing, simple, little house that overlooked the countryside and ocean. Before I left, I started looking for land close to my home (near Athens, Georgia), so I could do something similar. The land I ultimately bought, was listed the day I began my search; its a little over 9 acres with a cleared hill in the back that overlooks our barn, and a lake. I thought it was beautiful, and with an existing barn, the possibilities were endless! Plus, it was 5 minutes away from my parents."
"Building a barndominium was high on my list when I landed, however the day I got back to the states, I unexpectedly lost my Dad. The property's close proximity to my Mom was the push I needed to get going on my build, it meant I could be there when she needed me. This project was close to my heart for another reason as well, my Dad built something similar himself. What more inspiration did I need?"
I work in real estate as a regional property manager, which came in handy for our build. I was able to do all of the planning, designing, and contracting myself without involving a licensed GC. Major goals of the build were to make the home as maintenance free and efficient as possible. I lived in a huge fancy home before the barndominium, and know it's not all that its cut out to be.
I got a steal on the property, I paid $70,000 for a little over 9 acres with the barn. I budgeted $50,000 for the build and went slightly over, but that was due to the fences, the storage building and furnishings.
I had all of my contractors on a calendar schedule. From start to finish, it was 5 weeks aside from the cabinet doors going on and the final touches we did ourselves. The house was livable in 5 weeks. I hold my contractors to a tight schedule and only work with reliable teams.
The house has 2 beds. and 2 baths, though one bedroom is used as an office.
Our barn's shell measures 30x45, and the house is about 1250sqft.
We left the roll up door in the front so that we could have a space to watch games and cookout...which explains the TV in our foyer.
The ceiling in our main living space is 13ft, with the bedrooms and bathrooms all staying at a slat 9ft height.
We planned for a storage building for my dining furniture and for my husband to have his own space, I call it his bitch barn <3. We built a 14x14 deck and put up a privacy hedge wall, which I LOVE! We also had two fences put in, one for the little dogs with a dog door that goes outside and one for the larger dogs. I love the dog door in my office that goes directly into the doghouse outside!
How much of the work did you do yourself?
My husband and I laid all of the LVP flooring, installed the doors and trim, added built-ins and other random things. My mom and I tiled the kitchen backsplash and my best friends Alicia&Carlos helped me lay the tile in our foyer. The master bathroom tile was done by the son of an investor I work for.
What was the biggest setback while building?
I ordered the appliances back in April, but told them to hold them until I was ready. Well.... they didn't order them then so by the time they got them ordered, the fridge was on backorder until November! I wanted a certain Whirlpool countertop depth fridge. I ended up deciding to get a Samsung smart 4 door fridge that I love much more, for about the same price. Since I couldn't get pictures of the home without appliances, we didn't move until our appliances had been installed.
What do you wish you could do differently?
I ordered the wrong dryer and it doesn't match so that really bothers me! On a real note, I would have put the shower handle on the outside of the shower so that you do not have to get wet to get in the shower.
Make sure you are good at math, look ahead when you are doing anything at how it will effect the next part of the project. Flooring is the main one I am referring to. Plan on the furthest part and run the flooring seamlessly. Make Pinterest boards and shop at surplus stores, hunt for scratch and dent deals, and do as much as you can yourself!
When asked what the biggest challenge during the build was, Jessica said, "Keeping my husband engaged as I changed or added items."
If you'd like to build this barndominium yourself, you can! Jessica is selling her plans for $150.00. To discuss your options, including custom plans, please reach out via email.
To see Jessica's original Facebook post regarding her build, click here.
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