Category Archives: DIY PROJECT

The lagoon at the Mad River Barn

“Project Season” at the Mad River Barn

Although it would seem that Olde Man Winter decided to go on strike for the majority of last year, we were lucky enough to have a wonderfully busy season what with the many new and repeat guests to our inn rooms, as well as the continued patronage of said inn guests, loyal locals, and every other much appreciated customer who walked through the doors to the Pub and Restaurant.  With that being said, it is hard to deny human nature, and by the umpteenth round of snow shoveling and ice-salting (a.k.a February) one cannot help but to start daydreaming about what equally productive activities one could be accomplishing outside when the ground starts looking a bit more green… and one’s fingers start feeling a bit less frostbitten ; )

This may not be common knowledge to visitors of our lovely Mad River Valley who are accustomed to seeing it marketed as a 4 season resort destination, but year-round residents know the real truth of the matter. Vermont actually has SIX seasons-  Spring, Summer, Fall, Stick Season, Winter, and Mud Season.  This last weather phenomenon could also be referred to by many other pet names- “Dead Season” to Restauranteurs, “Wake up and raid the Birdseed” season to Black Bears, “Sleep/Recovery Season” to Snowmakers, “Hubcap Eating Season” to our dirt road dwellers, etc. And while occasionally a few of these monikers could, theoretically, be prefaced by some rather… ahem “colorful” language, here at the Mad River Barn we are choosing to view our Lawson’s glass as half-full and have decided on a more optimistic nomenclature- “Project Season”!!!

Another bit of lesser known trivia, is that sitting a little ways back on the upper field, hiding beneath the boughs of some lovely and established Pine Trees, there lives a tiny building formerly known as Poolhouse.  Now, lest some people get all oddly excited at the prospect of a swimming pool hiding back there as well- perish the thought.  That particular feature has long been retired and returned to the earth, and everyone knows that summers are for swimming in the Mad River.

The Pool  House

The Pool House

Leave it to the ever present creativity of Joanne Palmisano to conjure up a vision for the next chapter in the life of the building (formerly known as Poolhouse).  Anyone who is familiar with the history of design work at the Mad River Barn (and if you aren’t you should be!) will know that it physically pains Joanne to watch anything that still has use or value be discarded… and that encompasses pretty much everything she sees. With the continued popularity of DIY weddings, and the seemingly endless imagination with which one can create in an Etsy and Pinterest era, the Barn has amassed quite a collection of decorations.  The only logical next step for Joanne’s mind to take was that of COURSE these materials should be given the opportunity to be further enjoyed, and what better use for our little building than to be re-incarnated as a centralized home for all of them?  (Believe it or not, more than one employee had been heavily campaigning to convert it into a summer residence for their horse, and even WE… I mean… THEY have had to begrudgingly admit this was a much better plan)

Dubbing the idea “Rent-a-Shed”- the endgame objective is to have all of our decorations housed and displayed inside and it will become an option available to any prospective client. For a nominal fee they can “Rent” the Shed and have carte blanche to utilize as many objects as they desire in whatever way they feel would make their day most special.

Wedding decorations

Wedding decorations

In the meantime, however, one of the projects tackled so far this year by the Barn team has been a massive cleanOUT of said Shed’s interior, as well as a cleanUP of the exterior and surrounding land.  The phrase “many hands make light work” truly proved itself accurate during this (rather daunting) endeavor and lucky Andy spent the better part of three days with a ragtag crew of Barn employees gittin’er done.  This brings up yet another reason why Project Season has been proving itself to be invaluable this year beyond just the usefulness of the finished products themselves.

Andrew building benches for outdoor seating

Andrew building benches for outdoor seating

One of the ugly truths to living/running a business in a seasonal resort town is the unavoidable oscillation of tourism. During the slower shoulder seasons the pace dwindles tremendously.  At this juncture you are faced with the difficulty of trying to figure out a way to maintain and utilize the employees that are so integral to running the business during the busier seasons when faced with a comparative trickle of revenue.  It is nothing less than fortuitous that our kitchen crew is full of many multi-talented employees who are agreeable enough to work their hours elsewhere once the insanity of ski season dies down (and between the grounds, guest rooms, and multiple buildings on premise there is no dearth of jobs to be done).  We were able to poach both Josh and Taylor and employ their skills in a plethora of tasks.  Painting, touch-ups, landscaping, carpentry, masonry, chainsaw work, tree work, running an excavator, butcher, baker, candlestick maker.. and one can never discount the importance of sheer muscle (and my personal favorite- eye candy!).

 When the first big renovation was underway in the central Barn Building one of the main concerns was how to keep the basement dry throughout the year- no mean feat with an older building that is happily situated at the base of a mountain range.  The solution was a series of piping that leads underneath the barn and carries the runoff to the base of our tiered gardens and eventually travels through a culvert into the Millbrook across the street.  While the basement has remained drier than British wit ever since its rehabilitation, the last lingering concern regarding our run-off was the ecological effect said water may have on the health of the Millbrook itself. Even with the filtering effect of the soil from the garden there was always the question of whether or not any temperature variation between the original stream and the water our business contributed would affect the natural order.  It was during a pre-Mud Project Season walk around the grounds that Heather expressed yet again her desire for Peeper Frogs to take up residence on the property and the answer to both conundrums became clear- if we built it, they would come. Enter Project Lagoon.

Josh and his helper trenching the lagoon

Josh and his helper trenching the lagoon

The purpose of the Lagoon is multi-faceted. Besides the most important goal of becoming known as the #1 destination community for Peeper Frogs on TripAdvisor, it solves the ecological question by serving as a holding tank for runoff water from the Inn and allowing all the liquid to reach the same temperature before it continues on its journey under the road and into the MillBrook. The Lagoon will also figure into our longer vision plans of utilizing all the different areas around the MRB grounds and allowing them to play various roles during our Wedding weekends (and, of course, a spot where our non-nuptially motivated Inn residents could enjoy their stay).  We envision hosting a reception or cocktail hour among the raised beds of the garden where guest could grab a libation and wander up and down the terraces, across the water on our bridge and back- just in time for a refill- before moving on to their next location for dinner.

Josh and Taylor building the bridge over the lagoon

Josh and Taylor building the bridge over the lagoon

We feel so very lucky to be a property with options for our Wedding Guests to enjoy over their entire weekend stay- Breakfast in the dining room, a walk or run on the Catamount Trail right outside the front door, maybe a hike up the 9th hole ski trail to explore Mad River Glen, a quick game of afternoon shuffleboard in the Game Room is an excellent way to bond with future family members, afternoon cocktails in the garden, Dinner and Dancing on upper field Landing, S’mores and a Bonfire around the fire pit, back to the Pub for an afterparty… The possibilities are endless!!!

The lagoon at the Mad River Barn

The lagoon at the Mad River Barn

 

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you soon!

Meredith Marble, Assistant Innkeeper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Thanks…Staff, Guests, and Gardens

We can’t believe another holiday is upon us.  The three years we’ve been in Vermont has flown by and we feel that you all have embraced us and made us part of your family. We are so grateful.  There are so many people we are thankful for and we hope that each and every one knows how much we appreciate them.

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As we take a break for Thanksgiving week, we wanted to say a thank you to Gary for building our tiered landscaping in front of the farmhouse and Inn.  The amount of work he has put into building all of these by hand–placing each stick, lifting every rock and moving all the dirt– is unbelievable. For years, Gary been helping us with many jobs and he’s part of the Mad River Barn family. Thank you Gary!

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We look forward to planting the blueberry plants, peas, flower and more, next spring but we wanted to share with you what the space looks like before the plantings went in. As with anything that’s great in our lives, it starts from the ground up and it requires a lot of hard work (okay that’s philosophical as we’ll get today).
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We cannot even begin to say how much we appreciate all the folks that are now part of our lives…regular guests, our staff, vendors and our communities in Waitsfield and Warren. Thank you all.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

From our Home…Mad River Barn, to Yours,

Heather and Andrew

 

 

 

The Longhouse Rooms Design Revealed…

We hope that you guys get just as excited about all the fun and unique design work that goes into our spaces as we do. So we thought it only fitting to give you a detailed “report” of all the fun things that are incorporated into the new Longhouse rooms (formally known as the Annex Rooms).  The recycling, repurposing and reclaimed materials abound… Big huge thank you to Susan Teare for taking some amazing pictures and to Joanne Palmisano, the designer of the project.

Ta Da! The longhouse rooms! In each picture we will reveal a little Salvage Secret about them spaces. Here we'll tell you a little about the side tables. They are made from recycled 2 x4's and plywood. Painted red and then Joanne picked up some scrap pieces of stone at a stone shop and had them cut to fit the tops. The reclaimed wood sliding barn doors separate the bunk areas (this room has 4 bunk beds).

Ta Da! The longhouse rooms! In each picture we will reveal a little Salvage Secret about the spaces. Here we’ll tell you a little about the side tables. They are made from recycled 2 x4′s and plywood. Painted red and then Joanne picked up some scrap pieces of stone at a stone shop and had them cut to fit the tops. The reclaimed wood sliding barn doors separate the bunk areas (this room has 4 bunk beds).

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Where to begin! Let’s start with the vanity. Joanne picked up some reclaimed 2 x 4′s at the Rebuild Center on Pine Street in Burlington. They are from an older building because they are actually true 2×4′s :). Then she designed the look she wanted and asked Brett Bundock, a friend, neighbor and carpenter, to build them (he did all our farmhouse tables at the Inn). Then Joanne did a fun painting technique on them and we polyed the top like crazy. Dropped in a sink and voila — very fun and unique vanity made from recycled materials. Then Joanne had Conant Metal and Light turn the turkey feeders she picked up in Nashville at the Country Living Fair into pendant lights! The subway tile, birch log shower curtain, oversized mirror from Portland Glass, and ceramic wood looking floors, round out the space. The reclaimed wood hooks, reflected in the mirror come in handy and we can never seem to put enough of them up :) And of course, the vintage maple bucket, Joanne picked up at Champlain Valley Antiques, is like the exclamation point on this fun bathroom!

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So here is L2! Each room is slightly different in configuration and number of beds but the look and feel is the same in all the them. Let’s start on the bottom and work our way up. The carpet tiles are made by a company called FLOR. They are made from recycled carpet fibers! We love the pattern and look and the eco friendliness about it. The platform beds are made from plywood (painted red) and reclaimed beams from our first major renovation project.The spread across the bottom of the bed are called Kantha Throws–which is a type of embroidery popular in East South Asia were old saris are stacked on each other and hand stitched to make a thin piece of cushion. Not only are we thrilled about the recycling part but the more important part of the story of these throws, from ShopDignify, are made by women who once were previously living on the street, or working in sex work (often these go hand in hand), or in a vulnerable situation at risk of such. The four throws in these rooms account for one month’s worth of work for these women. (Together we can make small steps to big changes).

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Two of the four renovated rooms have four (4) bunk beds. So those traveling with six people — these two rooms are perfect for you guys! The curtain rod is made from old piping.

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More about the rooms. As you can see, there are TV’s in them! But even cooler than that are the reclaimed barn wood walls that serve as the headboards. Sanded and sealed, they gorgeous pieces of wood! And on each of the side tables are table lamps made from old pieces of floor lamps and other scrap metal parts.

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More hooks on reclaimed wood…

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Two of the rooms come with one set of bunk beds. These rooms are perfect for 4 people. Not to mention the custom made barn door sliders made from the reclaimed wood from the old barn. These doors give everyone a little privacy. Also — the rooms have mini-refrigerators as well.

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Giving the televisions a little more character with some reclaimed barn wood.

 

There's more??!!!??? Yes. The artwork on the walls, Joanne made from scraps of wood from the project and black and white pictures.

There’s more??!!!??? Yes. The artwork on the walls, Joanne made from scraps of wood from the project and black and white pictures. And the small tables have custom made tops from the old barn wood that used to be on the exterior of the Inn. They are wrapped in metal from Metal Works and then we gave them a two-part epoxy.

You can't miss which room is your's when you entrance the Longhouse...We also have shelving made from reclaimed wood for your ski boots and the ceiling is decorated with vintage Douglas fir flooring. Joanne made the sign...just a little reminder :)

You can’t miss which room is your’s when you entrance the Longhouse…We also have shelving made from reclaimed wood for your ski boots and the ceiling is decorated with vintage Douglas fir flooring. Joanne made the sign…just a little reminder :)

Enjoy our newly renovated rooms!

Our best, Heather and  Andrew

 

 

 

I cut the white edges off the paper and then using a safecoat decoupage mixture I layered under the print and then across the top of it (that is why you don't want to use a real photo).

Vintage Sign DIY Mad River Barn Guest Rooms

We are thrilled to say today’s blog post will be a guest post from our very own designer, Joanne Palmisano. If you’ve been to Mad River Barn and stayed in our rooms or even eaten at the pub or restaurant, you know that Joanne has some very fun DIY projects throughout the building. We have her picture and her books (Salvage Secrets and Salvage Secrets Design & Décor) on the front desk counter because frankly, we are so tired of answering questions about the designer of our project (no offense Joanne).  Here’s one of her DIY’s that we thought you’d enjoy making yourself!  So take it away Joanne…

Hi EVERYONE!  How much fun do I have getting to design for Heather and Andrew Lynds. Not only do they let me go crazy with the rustic industrial theme that they wanted for the barn, but they are so great to be around. (Of course, it took a little while to understand Andy’s dry sense of humor, but once I got it… :)  And Heather’s laugh is contagious!) 

As you can see by the Inn’s décor, we use a lot of salvaged and recycled material. I’m thrilled that the builders and artisans were willing (and even excited) to work with the material. Many of the items we had built by local artisans and companies (keep it local!) and many I made myself. Most of the signs, artwork and pillows, you see at the inn, I made — truly a hands on designer.

This vintage-inspired sign, I’m about to show you — is not only easy — but really budget friendly.  I picked up the old kitchen cabinet doors at the ReSource Center, Pine Street, Burlington, for $5.00 each.

These are the cabinet doors I picked up. Usually you can get them for about $5-10 doors. I like to use the flat panel ones. I make sure to leave any hardware with the Rebuild center so they can resell them.

These are the cabinet doors I picked up. Usually you can get them for about $5-10 a door. I like to use the flat panel ones.  Make sure to leave any hardware with the Rebuild center so they can resell them.

I happen to know that the top coat of paint on these doors do not contain lead, but if they did, I would follow the lead guidelines when sanding. I wanted them to have a vintage look so I sanded them slightly to let the other colors and original wood peek through.

 I wanted them to have a vintage look so I sanded them slightly to let the other colors and original wood peek through. I knew this paint did not contain lead, but if they did I would follow the lead law guidelines when sanding and finishing — you can find them online.

 

I took this picture while walking through Shelburne Farms. Then I changed the color setting to give it more of a vintage look. Cut and paste it into a word document and printed it on regular recycled white paper.

I took this picture while walking through Shelburne Farms. Then I changed the color setting to give it more of a vintage look. Just cut and paste it into a word document and printed it on regular recycled white paper.

I cut the white edges off the paper and then using a safecoat decoupage mixture I layered under the print and then across the top of it (that is why you don't want to use a real photo).

I cut the white edges off the paper and then using Safecoat AcriGlaze matte finish, I layered under the print and then across the top of it (that is why you don’t want to use a real photo).

Make sure to get all the bubbles out from underneath the picture and cover the whole thing, especially the edges with the Safecoat.

Make sure to get all the bubbles out from underneath the picture and cover the whole thing, especially the edges with the Safecoat. (You can also use regular decoupage glue.)

Once the print was dry, I then laid out my letter stencils (and if you know me, I didn't measure a thing). I wanted them to have a random look to them. Just make sure they are pretty well spaced from side to side and don't leave too much space between the letters or it won't look like a word.

Once the print was dry, I then laid out my letter stencils (and if you know me, I didn’t measure a thing). I wanted them to have a random look to them. Just make sure they are pretty well spaced from side to side and don’t leave too much space between the letters or it won’t look like a word.

Using my friend, Cari Cucksey's, paint line, Repurpose Chroma*Color Paint, in the Cast Iron Metal Black finish...Thanks Cari!

For paint color, I used my friend, Cari Cucksey’s, paint line, Repurpose Chroma*Color Paint, in the Cast Iron Metal Black finish…Thanks Cari!

You can use painters tape to hold the letters still, but I've done this so many times, I just use my fingers to hold it down while I dab some paint onto the stencil. Don't go too heavy with the paint or it will bleed under the stencil.

You can use painters tape to hold the letters still, but I’ve done this so many times, I just use my fingers to hold it down while I dab some paint onto the stencil. Don’t go too heavy with the paint or it will bleed under the stencil.

 

Okay...no just let the paint dry. La, la, la....Okay...now, fast forward...

Now just let the paint dry. La, la, la….Okay…now, fast forward…

Now bring the whole thing outside and spray or paint with a shellac or poly. I usually use shellac but was out of it, so I used a polyurethane. Either works great. I always seal my work, it keeps dust down and makes it easier to clean and if there was lead paint concerns, it is a must.

Now bring the whole thing outside and spray or paint with a shellac or poly. I usually use shellac but was out of it, so I used a polyurethane. Either works great. I always seal my work, it keeps dust down and makes it easier to clean and if there was lead paint concerns, it is a must. If I’m spraying or painting sealer on, I’ll do three light coats.  Let dry completely between coats.

The signs are done. Now they just need to be hung up in the Longhouse entrance way.  Of course, if any of you know me, I usually make my trips up to Mad River Barn around breakfast time or dinner time. Coincidence...maybe...

The signs are done. Now they just need to be hung up in the Longhouse entrance way. Of course,  I usually make my trips up to Mad River Barn around breakfast time or dinner time. Coincidence…maybe…

 

Thanks Joanne for doing the guest blog post.  Hey…maybe this winter we’ll do a Make Your Own Sign event. Anyone interested? Email us madriverbarn@madriver.com. :)  I’m sure there will be cocktails involved as well.

Signing…off… (again…couldn’t help ourselves)

Our Best, Heather and Andrew