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He Finds New Homes For Timber Frame Barns
Curt Richter won’t buy your old barn, but if it fits the right criteria, he will try to find a buyer for you and tear it down carefully to preserve its historical character. Likewise, if you are interested in buying and preserving an old barn – or cabins and other log buildings – Richter wants to hear from you.
  The mechanical engineer emphasizes he isn’t interested in barns for materials. His niche is turn-of-the-century timber frame buildings (assembled with wooden pegs) in good condition, which can be reassembled. He is primarily interested in buildings in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Buyers can be from anywhere in the U.S. Thanks to his website, Rustic Innovations, Richter has relocated Midwest barns to states such as Texas, California and Washington.
  “I won’t take a barn down until I have an end user,” he says. “We are looking for those individuals with a similar drive to live in something that is unique and full of character.”
  Richter discovered his passion for preserving old buildings when he built a timber frame home in 1998. He joined the Friends of Minnesota Barns and the Timber Framers Guild.
  He explains that the ideal preservation is to restore the barn on site with traditional materials and design. The next best thing is to update it with modern materials.
  But for many people those options are too expensive and the building doesn’t meet their needs. Richter feels his service – relocating the building – is the next best way to go. Though he would prefer to relocate them in the woods and near the lakes of Minnesota and Wisconsin, he’s discovered most interested buyers live in other states, such as Montana where old barns are in demand.
  He sets up a yearlong marketing agreement with building owners to try to find a buyer. Sellers don’t usually make much on the sale, he emphasizes, but they prefer to preserve the building and not have to pay demolition costs to have their old building end up in a landfill.
  Richter adds that half his business is doing barn repair in his area, and that he sometimes reassembles buildings on new sites for his customers. Most out-of-state customers hire someone locally to put up the timbers or logs, which Richter meticulously tags when he takes buildings down.
  The Rustic Innovations’ website includes photos of barns and log cabins Richter is trying to find buyers for. There is an urgent need to preserve, he says, and he hopes his marketing services help.
  “I think people need to be cautious about getting rid of their barns. Some give up too early. No one I’ve talked to regretted putting money into it, but many have regrets for losing their barn,” he says. “The older barns are going down so quickly. I think in 20 years an old vintage barn will be considered an asset and valuable on property. Like those old baseball cards we threw out.”
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Curt Richter, Rustic Innovations, 21755 Parrish Rd. N., P.O. Box 34, Scandia, Minn. 55073 (ph 651 491-6430; curt@rusticinnovation.com; www.rusticinnovation.com).

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2014 - Volume #38, Issue #5