Barn to House Project
eBarn, west side - finished
west side - before construction
living area - before construction
living area - new windows, mid-construction
New siding is rough sawn cedar board-on-board (variation of board-and-batten) remilled from salvaged utility poles.
The Elephant Barn (eBarn) is our barn-to-house remodeling project which will provide studio space and a new home for my husband and I.
The farm was once owned by the Lewis Brothers Circus and the elephant barn was built about 1938 to house circus employees and performing animals (see “History”). We bought the farm in 1975 as a horse boarding facility.
Because of the eBarn’s construction, it had limited usefulness as an agricultural barn on a horse farm. The only place for stalls was on the cement slab -not ideal for horses; and floor framing would never support tons of hay storage.  I had always thought it should be returned to human housing (without the elephants).            
My husband, Ken restores antique fire apparatus for museums and private collections and I would like to relaunch my stained glass studio.  We plan to consolidate studio space on the ground floor and live on the second floor, where we can sit on the deck, watch horses, sandhill cranes and sunsets... and have a beer.
The eBarn is a combination of post & beam and balloon framing built with railroad car salvage.  We want have an energy efficient home/studio while maintaining the “barn” character.  A new interior post and beam frame adjoins the original frame;  new timbers and parallams are connected with bolts and steel plates - all of which will remain visible.  Original pine floors will be refinished. Plank stall walls will be reused in interior wall partitions.
Ken & Agnes Soderbeck
Old Circus Farm  |  1895 Fox Road  |  Jackson, MI  49201
(517) 522-4301
I’ll make additions to this site as we make progress.
Cushard Design Associates, Grass Lake, MI is our consulting architect.
With few exceptions, Ken and I are doing the work ourselves -- lots of vision and limited funds.  Ken is a “natural” engineer, artist and craftsman and we’re having fun, especially since we don’t have to live in the construction dust.