Selling Antiques in an 1880’s Barn


Hi, I’m Debbie Yancey Miller and I own a small antique/vintage store that is located in my barn built in the 1880’s.  Most people who stop in for the first time are as much impressed by the barn as what’s inside it.  Since I don’t want to change the aesthetics of the barn I haven’t put insulation on the inside or changed the windows or doors.  It’s weather tight but it sure is cold in the winter and I tell visitors to make sure and wear their coats and gloves when they come.  During the summer it is wonderful.  Barns seem to keep cooler than most other places for some reason.  Someday, I do want to put in new stairs to the upstairs.  I understand that the kids that lived here previously used to have their basketball practice up there in the winters.  However, for this old lady they are WAY to steep to keep anything up there and get it down again without sending it down the hay chute or chunking it out the door that leads to nowhere except my front lawn.  There are about 14 stairs that are about 12″ wide (I suppose the builders decided that a foot would fit on a foot?) and the steps are about 16″ tall.  I can do it with my hands and feet and then back down turned around but certainly can’t carry anything.  So, I use the top floor as my box depository.  I can bring up empty boxes one at a time and throw them out the window when I need them.

The main floor has three rooms, two huge front sliding doors and a back sliding door that overlooks a portion of the back yard.  I’ve screened that one and put a safety rail on it so no one falls out.  The entry room is where I have my counter and register and all my glassware with three cabinets full of miniatures.  Most of my artwork is hung on these walls.  There are only two small six-paned windows in there (one missing a pane of glass) so it, like the rest of the barn is dim.  My husband was nice enough to hang flourescent lighting everywhere.

There is a huge sliding door into the center portion that I leave open.  During the summer I keep the sliding doors to the outside open for light.  This is where my kitchy kitchen ware resides along with most furniture and my zillions of salt and pepper shakers.  Books are also in there so it’s cozy to sit on the sofa’s and check out the books.

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