Byfield Boat Barn

February 15, 2018

This unusual project was designed to store and maintain commercial boats on the North Shore of Massachusetts

Built to house a large commercial boat, and associated gear and workspace, Geobarns helped the client to conceive the barn-and-bumpout form to accommodate the unusual program requirements with a less massive structure than was originally conceived. The adjusted form of the building makes it more suitable to its residential site, but also saved substantially over the previous longer-span design.  During the construction, our project manager Ryan lived with the client’s family in order to solve an impossible commute.  Despite the unusual arrangement, Ryan was, by the end of the job, considered a member of the family, and he remains friends with the owners today.

Back in 1986 I built my own house. The original plan called for an attached two-car garage. I was young and money was tight, so I built just the house and the garage would come later. Shortly after moving in the next fall, I trucked one of my boat projects home to the back yard and promptly built a ‘temporary’ plastic shed for boat projects. For years the plastic neighborhood eyesore stood the test of time. I always looked at different buildings to make a more permanent shop. I looked at barns, steel buildings and almost built a few times, but they always lacked something that I was looking for. I was always torn between a boat shop and the two-car garage I’d always talked about. The battle waged on for 22 years.

Then last fall, just a few miles from my house, I saw a Geobarn being built. I stopped by many times and watched the framing and the design. This Geobarn was a really classic looking barn style building. I never thought I could combine two building types into one structure until I met with George. He talked about his engineering style post and beam buildings and George said he could give me what I wanted in a building: a two-car garage with a stepped up higher larger bay on one end. All with full room above for workshop, studio, etc. No other plan or design I had considered before could do this. Boat shop bay, two-car garage and studio above: this was a three in one. George gave me some ideas on how to keep the cost down and stay within budget, because now I’m old and money is still tight. George drew up a plan and it met all my criteria. And then we were off.

Placement on the property became an issue: Attach the barn to the house with a connecting breezeway more in tune to the original house plan, or build a detached building away from the house. George sided with my wife and placed the barn angled away from the house and set slightly into the hill. George and my wife agreed that it would be more aesthetically pleasing that way (they were right!). We made a few changes regarding window layout, but the whole time I relied on George to make sure we kept the classic barn look. Working with George and his crew was great. He gave me a price and stuck to it and he met my schedule. I could trust what George told me. Whatever he said he would do, he did. As soon as he told me he was going to do it, I could trust that he would and just move forward. He finished the job on Tuesday at 8pm and the following Saturday at 10am two boats rolled in for winter work.

Every house in the neighborhood has a two-car garage, but I have a Geobarn. Come visit.