The Aftermath. An Adventure in Remodeling

Well, it’s done. The workers from Timeless Barn Company succeeded in making our big room upstairs “amazing”. They’ve cleaned up the mess, packed up their tools, and are on to adventures elsewhere. The only thing left to be done is the flooring, which is yet undecided. Rob has expressly, explicitly FORBIDDEN me to move even ONE STICK of furniture into the room until AFTER the flooring is done. Otherwise (we both know this is true) we will settle in comfortably and will still be looking at OSB subfloor disgracing this beautiful room for years to come…

Though I am longing to show you a bazillion pictures of the amazingness of the (almost) finished project, I am instead stuck on the wreckage that is the aftermath. Probably “normal” people, when tackling a project of this magnitude, would rent a big roll-off dumpster to contain and dispose of the scraps and trash produced during the construction project. Upon completion, a big truck would come and take it away, and the “normal” home owners would pull up a comfy chair, grab a beer, and enjoy the fruition of the project completed, sans aftermath.

The mostly finished room. See that pile of boards in the corner? That's a TINY FRACTION of what was left after the work was done.
The mostly finished room. See that pile of boards in the corner? That’s a TINY FRACTION of what was left after the work was done. Because they were working with irregularly sized timbers, every single piece had to be meticulously fitted, resulting in a LOT of small scraps.

Not us. Since we heat with a wood burning fireplace insert, small wood scraps are perfect for starting and/or reviving a fire, so are worth hanging onto. A few handfuls of dry wood scraps, strategically placed with just two fire starter packets will produce a nice hot fire in a jiffy, withOUT messing with grungy newspaper and trying to split kindling sticks off of the fire logs. As the household record-holder for failed fires, I covet anything that makes this task easier.

I had good intentions when I proudly presented the workers with a generous sized cardboard box and a couple empty horse feed sacks on the first day of work. I requested they place the wood scraps in the box and the trash/sawdust in the sacks. To say this didn’t go as planned would be a massive understatement. My measly box and handful of sacks was a laughable solution to containing the enormous volume of scraps and sawdust produced each day. For. Three. Weeks. This big amount of scraps was not the result of waste of materials, but because of the huge number of angles and corners that needed to be cut, trimmed and carefully fitted.

Look at the lovely grain on these cypress scraps. They are plenty long to be used for something…? The feed sacks are full of shorter pieces. One day, when I presented the workers with more empty sacks, Jake commented that I must have been saving them for a long time… he was a little surprised when I told him that these were all normal rations for my geriatric Billy and that I had not made special arrangements to collect them.

As we hauled down bag after bag and box after box – most so heavy I could barely lift, I feared that at the end of the project there would be a bit of overwhelm, and I was right. I suspect the builders thought we were a little nuts as our large and relatively tidy garage quickly filled with all this leftover wood. We joined the ranks of the people we’d previously criticized for having nice big garages, with expensive cars and trucks sitting outside in the weather – because the garages are crammed full of worthless crap.

Farrier invoice Pads, Blacksmith Calendars or Vintage Beam Scraps? HoofPrints‘ warehouse has them all! What to do with these? They are the ends that were cut off the round rafters that were used in our remodeling project. This part was exposed to the elements for 140+ years and has lovely weathering, as well as remnants of the red paint.  I need to get majorly creative and figure out how to utilize them in the house. They measure 15″ from the notch above the two holes down to the ragged end at the bottom, and are varying lengths above the notch, depending on where the builders cut them. Most are almost 5″ thick.
Horsey Christmas cards or hundred pound hand hewn timbers? Bailey can show you both in the same aisle. The latest HoofPrints newsletter includes my unsolicited advice on how to be happy – by cleaning something. Whereupon I bragged about finally getting up the gumption to throw away (recycle) my entire stash of perfectly useful empty horse supplement tubs. Dealing with the aftermath of this construction project is going to require considerably more effort than one trip to the recycle bin.

No rest for the weary… so, now our big room project, even though it is almost done, has given birth to ANOTHER project – what to do with all these nifty scraps. We have a couple likely applications – the most sensible being a smallish foyer sort of zone that connects the garage and the kitchen, and also leads to a small deck that faces the pond. We purposely left this project for last, as this room houses the electrical panel box, as well as a multitude of plumbing routes – both water lines and drains. If anybody had any bright ideas for alterations that require modifications to wiring or plumbing in other rooms – having access to this part of the bowels of the house would make things much easier.


It is the first room anyone sees when they walk in. And it is still clad in plaster, lath, 2×4 studs, insulation, and plastic. We have a rustic, cathedral-like wonderland upstairs, and crappy plastic walls downstairs.

So – in my fantasy world: the perfect idea arrives – one that will utilize a big portion of these cool wood scraps we’ve hoarded, thus clearing the garage, HoofPrints warehouse, AND finishing the house once and for all. Hey, a girl can dream…

If John Lopez can build this out of scrap iron:

Lopez for blog

And Heather Jansch can make this out of driftwood:

Captain Cleo

And Helen Godfrey can make this out of chicken wire:

Helen Godfrey owl

And Cal Lane can do this with an old wheelbarrow:

Cal Lane Wheelbarrow

Then, maybe the Keeslings can take the piles of scrap wood that have overtaken every available corner and use them to make this a creative and rustic space:


Want to see what happens next?

Fun on the Farm Part 1 is here

The Epic Mess of Fixing the Fireplace is here

Tearing Down an Old Barn to Repurpose the Timbers in the house is here

The adventure of utilizing the first few timbers as a Fireplace Mantle is here

Utilizing more timbers in a big room upstairs – Of Trials and Strong Backs is here

No One Will Ever See It – an Adventure In Remodeling is here

Sometimes you have to look back… at scary pictures here

More looking back… Scary pictures, recycling and repurposing here

All the remodeling posts are here


  1. It looks like warmth insurance to me. I love the old paint (reddish) on that scraps. In New England, we would consider them art and if you don’t want them, just box them up and send them to me. And don’t burn anything with any paint or stain on it. But you know that.

    I’d “panel” the new space with scraps of beam, even of different depths. It would create interesting light and shadows. You could overpaint a mural on it, too. A mural of what the place looked like when you bought it!

    Ok, ok, my ideas are always out in left field somewhere…so am I! If you lived here, you’d be burning those scraps right now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Fran! I keep thinking of architectural dentil moulding when I look at those red beam ends – I think that could easily make a cool border up around the ceiling in a huge room – but in this small room I am not sure… Maybe shelf corbels?
      We’ve got some corrugated roof tin that we saved from the barn; that’s likely going to go on the ceiling. It’s all complicated by the fact that we want to make certain areas easy to remove in case we need to access the wiring or the plumbing in the future.


      • Absolutely. Arrange and mount the scraps on panels, attach the panels to the walls. That’s what I would do anyway, being the nomad that I am. If you get tired of the design, you can turn it upside down.

        The red is really lovely, as is your photo. It will be a hit on Pinterest, guaranteed!

        Liked by 1 person

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