Two entrepreneurs are turning planks into profit by recycling weather-beaten barns into handcrafted furnishings both “modern and rustic,” according to a Stockbridge elected official.
“BarnBeautiful is a local downtown Stockbridge store,” City Councilwoman LaKeisha Gantt posted on Facebook. “You have to check it out. Absolutely some great pieces for your home.”
Like performing a barn raising in reverse, storeowners Roger Custin and Greg Horton harvest timber from old Georgia farm storage units like barns, corn cribs and a buggy house.
Helping them is East Point resident Scott Arrington, whom Horton called his best friend and “woodworker extraordinaire.”
They heat treat the pine, poplar, oak or cedar to kill pests, then reshape the lumber in the 900-square-foot workshop behind the store’s 1,500-square-foot selling floor.
Before numbering the items and putting them on display, Custin and Horton write up the pieces’ origin stories.
“We work with the landowner. We find the history of the barn before we dismantle,” Custin said. “We take pictures and record the history.”
Pictures and text go online and on postcards, offered free of charge on a custom-built rack.
One freebie features a structure from the Kilgore Farm in Adrian that not only began the business, but also once belonged to a branch of Horton’s family tree.
“I had a connection to that particular barn, the first one we took down,” Horton said. “I understood that connection and the sentiment behind knowing an old barn and I knew other people would connect to that.”
He was right, according to their customers, who have been growing in number since Custin and Horton started selling their creations at festivals and consignment shops in 2008.
“Many people have talked to us about their memories of playing on their family’s farm and their family’s barn,” Horton said. “It’s kind of a universal connection that I think people have.”
Custin said they even repurposed their location, the former Captain Billy’s Fish House restaurant at 108 MLK Sr. Heritage Trail, into the downtown area’s newest shop.
“This storefront was built in the 1930s when this was a railroad depot,” he said. “It really fit what we were already doing in bringing new life, almost a new modern life, to old things.”
Assisting in the transformation was a $5,000 grant from the city’s Main Street program, which Horton serves as an advisory board member, to help improve its $12,000 façade.
While, so far, all the wood they work is from buildings outside the metro area, the storeowners said they would like to find a local barn.
“We’re heavy on the hunt for one here in Henry County,” Horton said.
Store hours are Wednesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment.
Information: 678-782-5858 or www.barnbeautiful.com