Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thrift Store Makeover: ID Mommy's Barn (Re-)Raising!

A few months ago I picked up this wood barn at a thrift shop for $15.  It needed a little you can see there was a baggie of broken pieces taped to the roof. It has nice handles on top for carrying, and when you release the hook latch on the front, the side opens up on a hinge to reveal a couple cute sliding stall doors.

Upon further investigation, I found that there were not only broken pieces on the doors, but also some pieces missing.  So, it was a little bit more work than I thought, but still a fun challenge. I love fixing up something that somebody else got rid of, and even more, making it better than new!  I always enjoy an excuse to get out in the garage and fire up some power tools.  So, I made some replacement parts for the missing ones, and had to re-build a couple of the wood hinges as well.

I couldn't just leave this thing plain, unfinished wood.  Being an Industrial Designer, my most favorite part of the design process is making super realistic scale models that can be photographed to look like the real, full-scale thing. Most clients do not want to put the time and money into physical models these days, being that they can get photo realistic computer renderings pretty quickly too.  But, there's just something really cool about having a real 3-D representation in your hand. (click here to see the latest scale model I built of a retail display, and here, here, or here to see some of my older product and package models to see what I mean!)

Anyway, I digress...but my point is that the barn kick started that love of model making in me to the point where I wanted to make it look more realistic.  It turned into a fun little side project for my favorite kids! (okay, and maybe to re-live my own childhood, just a little bit)  First I primed the whole thing with white spray paint.  For the roof I used a dark gray textured spray paint (after taping off the rest of the barn), which gave it the look and feel of real shingles.  I went to Home Depot and picked out just the right barn red paint swatch, and got one of their little tiny sample sizes to paint the red.  Then I painted the bars in the windows silver.  And, now we have a much more realistic barn! I mean, I can't have my boys playing with a less-than-real toy barn, now, can I?!

If I had paid the full $60 to $70-something they charge for these new, I probably wouldn't have wanted to paint it.  But, being that it was cheap and in need of repairs anyway, I figured I didn't have much to lose.  In the end, I'm glad I gave it a makeover and made it look more like a real barn!  I got out my old Breyer horses from when I was little, and Sammy has a blast playing with the "horsies."  I love a good way to keep up my model making skills for the benefit of my kids while in between freelance projects!


  1. That is so cute, Gretchen! Can I come & play with the horsies?

  2. Sure!! Come one, come all! Maybe I can even get out my old My Little Pony barn to set up next to it. :-)



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