Vermont Bank Barn Garage

March 18, 2018

An exemplary bank barn in southern Vermont

This project is an example of the interesting possibilities of building on an otherwise difficult slope.  This bank barn situates cars and shop below, while a loft level gets abundant light and big views, while opening onto the upper slope with a french door.  The question arises: Do men really want a “man cave,” or might they enjoy something more literally and figurally elevated?

One of my husband’s dreams was to have his garage one day- a place to keep cars dry in rainstorms, no longer battle with a foot of snow on the roof and in summer not have to sit down and start a journey in an oven for the first few minutes. He also wanted a comfortable work zone in which to engage in whatever men do in their mancaves. I know that he had built up a file over the years with various builders and examples of their craftmanship.

Well, this last fall we chose George Abetti. It is true that when you peruse his work, you are struck with the lovely forms of his buildings: Symmetry, bolt truss system, handsome walls, fresh, simple pine, Douglas fir trim, elegant roof lines, and above all, those precious cupolas-almost signature Abetti. With our decision to engage him we then had the added show in his manner of building with diagonal framing becoming a daily spectacle of clever carpentry.

We were nervous about the timing of this project-hoping to get things started by mid-late fall, the work actually began after Christmas. If there is anything to be said about George it is that this is an honorable man. With some of the horror stories out there about uncaring builders and shoddy work, it’s like your house or car insurance: How good is it until you have to use it?

Our two carpenters, Justin and Morgan, arrived one cold January morning and so began our journey.

I was immediately charmed by their soft-spoken kindness and from then on, they arrived daily between eight and eight fourty five with temperatures hovering between minus five and minus fifteen. I think there was just ONE day that the shell remained empty with a brutal wind and air registering at about minus twenty five, not to mention a foot or so of new snow swirling through.

I know our dog enjoyed them most of all as he realized that upon return from his morning constitution there would be two young, handsome, friendly guys to greet him, rub his back, and best of all, later at lunchtime, allow lunch crumbs to miraculously fall before him.

Every carpenter has his favourite music and we were serenaded with Reggae-somewhat of an anomaly in Vermont’s January.

Day by day, the structure changed until quite quickly, say six weeks later, we had a weather-tight shell to be proud of.

We now have the loveliest little structure (to call it a garage seems cruel) which sits at the top of the driveway as though it has always been there…And every time we hear Reggae music we flash to Justin and Morgan and we hope that life truly treats them and their families well.

Thank you, George, Justin and Morgan.