I feel I need to start this story with...
Once upon a time there was a man and his father in law taking a drive in the country. They have taken this drive many times from Lindenhurst, IL to Monroe, WI, but this trip was different. This time they made an unscheduled stop that would eventually lead to the birth of Lake County Barnwood.
On this particular trip, the two men were discussing the amount of dilapidated barns that they pass on the way up north and how they might be able to use the wood for a household project. Frank Kersey and his father in law Paul Quinn decided to stop at an old barn to see if they could have some wood. As fate would have it, on this day 9 years ago the farmer said yes, the barn wood trend was born and they all lived happily ever after...
If we back up the story a few years... Frank was originally an electrician who decided to start his own remodeling company. Then 2010 happened. As a new business in the remodeling industry, the company didn't last during the economic downturn. Something I am all too familiar with. Those years were hard! Although things seemed dismal, the barnwood was a blessing in disguise. Frank started creating masterpieces out of the barnwood. The quality and attention to detail in his work is quite amazing. People started talking (as they always do) and they started selling furniture at different fairs and markets. This was wonderful, and they were making a bit of money but the economy was getting better and it made much more sense for him to get back into electrical.
During this time, Paul was still in Wisconsin taking down barns and helping the farmers create a safer environment on their farms. They discovered the need to remove these barns wasn't being met and continued to help the farmers with the demolition in exchange for the wood. Once Lake County Barnwood commissions a Barn, they will take it down to the foundation so the owner can rebuild if desired. Not only are they able to take the wood but all sorts of treasures left inside the barn as well. You can purchase anything from mason jars to square head nails to old farm equipment in the store as well as barnwood and metal roofing by the foot.
Fast forward to 2017.. they got word that a building is going to become available that seems perfect for a barnwood store. With 9 years worth of barnwood, it seemed like the next logical step. They decide to jump on it. Frank does all the custom work while Shannon handles the retail. Paul is still scouting barns and removing them with a team. This is truly a family run business! Even the dog, Jerry Lee, helps with the retail aspect. He was the inspiration for their line of pet products. One of their biggest sellers is their custom dog bowls.
As Shannon and I sip our Vodka and Soda, her go to drink, I can't help but think about the Steve Jobs Quote: "If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time" They had 9 years go into there overnight success. A reminder to us all to keep moving forward towards our dreams.
After our lunch, I was able to stop at the store for a minute to take some pictures and grab some barn cards. I love the idea of the barn cards. Each barn that they have taken down has a story. The barn cards give you a glimpse of that story. So not only are you getting a fabulous piece of furniture or some wood for your own project, you are getting a piece of history. To this day, all of the barns that Lake County Barnwood has removed are over 100 years old. I would say I would like to be a fly on that wall, but cows lived there, and who knows where else that fly has been...
The barns they have removed so far:
Montfort Wisconsin Barn | Built in 1901
Ridgeway Wisconsin Barn | Built in 1915
Dodgeville Wisconsin Barn | Built in 1905
Monroe Wisconsin Barn | Built in 1904
Blanchardville Wisconsin Barn | Built in 1914
In addition to offering wood by the foot, they also have a wide range of antiques and of course Frank's masterpieces. If you have not visited the store, I highly suggest you do. It is a museum of sorts that offers the creative person a range of opportunity. Bring your ideas and the Kersey family will help you bring them to life. This is a pinterest lover's heaven.
Lake County Barnwood
36961 N Rt 83
Lake Villa, IL 60046
Tues - Sat: 10am - 4pm
Sun: 10am - 1pm