This page is going to take me some time to develop, but I wanted to give folks a little bit of what’s to come. When we bought our house, it was on five acres but we had plans for more. There were three five acre lots to the east of us, and two of them had houses on them. The farthest lot was vacant, the second farthest had a foreclosed property on it that was going to auction, and the closest had an occupied house with a tenant who happened to be the niece of the owner. The summer after we moved in, we managed to buy the property that was up for auction. We knocked down the house and leveled the lot…the house was in terrible condition, so it wasn’t much of a loss. If nothing else, it made the neighborhood look better with the eyesore gone.
Another year went by and the tenant next door told us that the bank notified her they were foreclosing for lack of payment. It turns out her aunt hadn’t paid the mortgage for many months and also hadn’t paid the property taxes. We called the bank and told the foreclosure folks that we wanted to buy the property as is. They had to wait for 30 days after the property was vacated, but as soon as that was over they accepted our offer. As soon as we closed on the house, we knocked it down, and got the lot ready for a barn/shop. The nice thing is we were able to keep the city water and the existing septic system, so my shop will eventually have a full bathroom.
The building is 40×64′ with a 12′ lean-to off the back. For a number of reasons I didn’t want a regular pole barn with posts set in concrete in the ground, so the building has a 42″ deep 12″ wide poured concrete foundation. The 4×6 and 6×6 posts are bolted to the concrete foundation using Sturdi-Wall brackets made by the Perma-Column company….they’re really nice, but not cheap. The floor is concrete, done in two parts. The first 24 feet of the building is one part, and the next 40 feet is another part. I built a dividing wall between the two sections and the 24 foot part is my shop. I put tubing in the floor for radiant heat on the shop side as well.
After I got the shop partitioned off, I added an overhead door, and man door to access the barn side, which is where I store my tractors, cargo trailer, etc and have a welding table. If you look at the pictures, you’ll notice there are a lot of doors! The two front doors are 18×12 and there is a 12×10 door on either end of the building. I wanted to avoid always having to move something a piece of equipment nearly every time I needed to get something out, and it’s worked really well so far.
I hung a steel liner panel ceiling over the shop, and insulated above it. I also insulated the shop walls and hung steel liner panels over them as well. The bathroom was framed out as a room within the room, so I built it with a storage platform on the top. Ultimately, I plan to have a sink, shower, toilet, washer and dryer in the bathroom, so I can get cleaned up, and wash my dirty work clothes on the spot.
That’s pretty much where the shop stands right now. I’m getting ready to start building workbenches for it, and add the floor heat and A/C as time and money allow. We also poured concrete under the lean-to and that has made a big difference in how the building works. It also created a good area for me to set up an outdoor grinding/welding/painting area under cover.
The plan is to make the shop into something of a small machine shop with a mill, lathe, surface grinder, etc by the time I can retire in another 10-12 years. Even if that never happens, I’m happy to have a clean, well-lit workshop where I can work on my vises and prevent developing any vices!
As a point of reference, the wall separating the barn side from the shop side is just to the right of the big overhead doors.