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  • Writer's picturePaula Dalton-Kirby

Development of our reading room in the Hanger Barn

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Well a lot of people would say.....Reading the barn? As I have mentioned in my previous blog, Darren and I have many hobbies, reading being one of mine. I love books, in fact as Darren always said, I had too many books. He bought me a kindle one Xmas with the promise I would down size my collection. Yes I did, however within a year I realised how I missed a good book, the smell, the feel, plus how I missed visiting a good book store. Darren did get his way though when we relocated to France due to the cost of shipping out my collection. Out went all my everyday reading however I did get to keep my fabulous Leather bound collections which are all located pride of place in my oak display unit in my snug.

This is where the Reading room idea came into fruition. Everybody loves a good book, if its a Romance, Science fiction, Horror or just a magazine or newspaper. A great way to relax and transport yourself to another place is by indulging in a good juicy read. The only down side is taking these books with you on holiday. What do you leave behind to accommodate your favourite novels?

Our Hanger barn is big, as you can see from the photos, and required a good imagination. That is where Darren comes in. Sometimes his imagination can run away with him and he can take some pulling back, but he is amazing with his ideas and designs. We found the area we made into the reading room by chance. The previous owners had built a closed in section within the barn for their animals and we think used the area above it to store the hay. This area was perfect. It had a fabulous view plus had a very relaxing feel to it. It was however in an horrific state with rotten flooring, no handrails, and lots of junk to clear. We did however find some fabulous bits for Darren to make into objects.

This didn't shock Darren at all as he had the final vision etched on his brain and we would have our relaxing reading room no matter what.

Initial space

Initial space before work began

The initial Reading Room

Darren had amazing vision but he wanted it to look original and rustic. He decided to use some old wooden ladders we found in the outbuildings plus use all of the animal railings which he had to remove individually. He even went to the extreme of hand carving missing spindles by using tree branches he found. As the area evolved I too could see what we would end up with.....perfection. A rustic reading room with fabulous views. Our only issue was, how do we get to it? There was no steps. We didn't want a ladder as we want all of our guests to experience the dream of reading. Such a beautiful area not to be missed.

We were very lucky to mention this to our neighbour who in turn told us he had a spiral staircase in his barn, however may be missing a few bits plus it was in hundred and one pieces. He wasn't wrong there but it was perfect. We set about building it on Boxing day 2016 which took us a whole week, lots of naughty words and numerous glasses of wine. But we did it.

Just a few of the many bits we found

Some more bits

The start of trying to piece it all together

Looking almost finished

Fabulous view from the top

The final result - despite requiring a few more coats of paint

Well, despite working all over Xmas to try and get the staircase finished before I returned once again to the UK, it looked amazing and fitted in perfect due to its rustic design. What would an outdoor reading room also require........ a fabulous table made by Darren from a few tree stumps and a fallen tree. Put this alongside our old leather sofa, an old log burner we saved from an old barn and throw in a fabulous view, perfection at its best. Go on take a look for yourself.

The rustic reading room

Fabulous view looking up to the reading room

Our fabulous finds

Darren's rustic hand made table

Our end result

The most exciting part of completion is the thought now of book shopping. Our dream is to have a library of books suitable for any reader. I am hoping for every guest to leave their books behind so we can build our library sooner plus add a vast selection.

In my next blog I will update you on Shady Rest which you will have seen in one of my photos next to the spiral staircase. This is still in the making but I will let you in on a few secrets as to how we got to where we are now.

Thank you for staying with me and I look forward to talking to you again soon.



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