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.
The third room only has a large entryway between the second and third room. Initially, I think it was an add-on but they were nice enough when they added it on to put three windows in and a heating stove. The only problem with the stove is that I can’t get the dang door open. I envision that actually it was a safe for the people prior to us and that when I do get it open I’ll be rich! This room holds all the bedroom furnishings, wardrobes, clothing, beauty items and children’s toys and clothing. There is a wonderful work bench that I think was made when the barn was built. I don’t think I would move it even if I could because it is useful for display and has huge drawers for storage.
If you go back to the entry room and behind the counter and under the stairs there is a door with a wooden slide latch that someone has written “keep out” in chalk. It leads down a crooked set of stairs into the first floor. Luckily the first floor has four other doors going outside plus a tiny guillotine door which, I think was for chickens. There lived the animals. There are three cow stanchions and horse stalls with mangers and of course the end of the hay chute. The walls in the back are made of stone so during the spring rains the floor gets quite damp. However, it’s dry enough to store my antique wicker furniture of which I have about 100 pieces. Occasionally I get a chance to paint some during the summer. This barn/shop and our house are located on Old Route 104 about a mile from Wolcott, NY, on the seaway trail that runs south along Lake Ontario. There are two other antique places (and another I think is starting) within a mile and within 10 miles there is a co-op and a couple of other antique stores.
Even if you don’t buy anything it certainly is a wonderful drive and I’ll give you a great tour of the barn!-