In Praise of Barns

I’ve always loved barns. Whenever I drive in the country, I seek them out. I shoot photos from the outside, and invariably, since they are seldom locked, from the inside. Many is the time I’ve stepped inside a barn and been stunned by the beauty. The architecture of necessity. My kind of cathedral.

   For years I’ve been meaning to do a book on barns, and have quite a collection of barn books. (This isn’t all of them.)

   I just discovered a drop-dead book of barn photos. I read it in bed last night and ended up putting about 20 markers in on pages with beautiful photos.

   It’s Hand Raised: The Barns of Montana, by Chere Justo & Christine W.Brown, with photos by Tom Ferris. It’s the best barn book I’ve ever seen (and all these barns are in the state of Montana!). See: for lots of photos from the book.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

6 Responses to In Praise of Barns

  1. I also have a love affair with barns, and when I was in Maine a couple of years ago, got to see some great ones. Many were attached to the homes, a cold weather thing. And many were abandoned, both homes and barns alike. Yes, I can see a barn book in your future! Color me a buyer.

  2. You haven't lived until you've spent at least one night in a barn, sleeping in the hayloft; just you, and the barn cats, and the rustle of mice in the hay, and the barn owl hooting and cooing. At night the moonlight drifts through the holes in the wood made by the drying out of the boards, and in the morning the sun sifts through, and you can see the dust in the air, and the cats and mouse are asleep, and you're the only one awake in your magical, hay-scented world.

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