Barn of Dreams Michigan Couple Wins “Barn of the Year” Award

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In 2015, there were more than 50,000 U.S. businesses providing commercial roofing repair, siding, and sheet metal installation. Mostly, those companies will perform routine roof repair and install siding for homes and businesses. But one Michigan family committed themselves to a truly original project that’s the envy of Michigan roofers everywhere, and now they’re being rewarded for their efforts.

Kim and Carl Schumaker recently won the Michigan Barn of the Year award for 2015. The Schumaker’s purchased the historic Chestnut Family Farm decades ago, but the gigantic 1925 dairy barn on the property was falling down. Over the years, the couple removed 30 dumpsters worth of trash from the decrepit building, which was full of rotted wood, rusted metal, and even dead animals.

After years of work, the restored barn now features a massive 4,500 square foot loft space with ceilings 36 feet high. In the 1920s the barn could hold more than 40,000 bales of hay, but now it holds trampolines, a home-made basketball court, plus a stage and dance floor. The space is even big enough for the couple to throw weddings for friends and family.

“My son is a musician, and we had a ‘barn fest’ with a stage,” Kim Schumaker said. “[The loft] would be full of people dancing. The kids also used to do massive haunted houses.”

The historic Chestnut barn is one of many in Michigan that has fallen into disrepair over the decades. For the couple’s tireless work, the Michigan Barn Preservation Network is honoring the empty-nesters with its most prestigious award. Many commercial roofing and siding contractors would be thrilled to help restore historic Michigan dairy barns, but unfortunately few homeowners want to make the investment.

“Barns fall down because no one wants to take care of them or they don’t want to spend the money,” Mrs. Schumaker said. “Every time we do something, it’s $10,000.” Great references here.




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