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Old Granary Building Gets New Life As Cabin
Dale McLaen gave an old granary new life when he turned it into a guest cabin. One of the last buildings standing at an abandoned farmstead, the solid 14 by 28-ft. building was easy to move.
“We jacked it up and backed a gooseneck flatbed trailer under it,” says McLaen. “We hauled it home in the fall and put it up on blocks for the winter.”
The next spring, he built a treated wood foundation under the 3-bin granary with a gravel bottom crawl space for access. He also added an 8-ft. deep porch to one end.
“There was very little I needed to do aside from removing the walls and vacuuming the dust out of the floor board spaces,” says McLaen.
The flooring was tongue and groove Douglas fir with a subflooring of boards on the diagonal. It was still in very good shape, with the only marks being where the bin walls had been.
McLaen left the interior open with the exception of a newly installed 7 by 9-ft. bathroom. There’s a sleeping area with bunk beds next to the bathroom. The remainder is a combination living, dining and cooking area.
“The walls are shiplap, and we put corrugated tin on the ceiling,” says McLaen. “We used a lot of salvaged materials, so the cost wasn’t high, but it took about a year to finish.”
McLaen refers to the project as mostly a labor of love. He uses it as a guest house for friends and relatives.
The granary/cabin turned out so well that McLaen is already looking for something similar, but slightly larger.
“I would like to find a taller, 26 by 26-ft. granary and turn it into a home for myself,” says McLaen.
Moving the cabin simply reinforced a family tradition. He recalls his father moving a 1911 granary to their farm in 1963. It was set on a house foundation after the house was moved and turned into a garage. At the same time, he bought an old schoolhouse and remodeled it into a 2-story, 4-bedroom home with a full basement. Several other buildings were bought and moved over the years.
“The current building count on our farm is 22,” says McLaen. “About half of them have been moved in.”
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Dale McLaen, McLaen’s Service, 13756 Hwy. 11, Rutland, N. Dak. 58067 (ph 701 724-6232; mclaen@drtel.net).


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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1