We’re so excited that you found our site! If you’re curious about how Back Forty Buildings came to be, or searching for some inspiration to tackle your own barndominium build, then this blog post is for you!

Once upon a time, not so many years ago, we (Tanner, myself- Liv, and Oakley, now age 9) stumbled upon a perfect little piece of land in our hometown. Prior to that, we’d been living the full time RV-nomad life, but were ready to put some roots down back in Washington state.

And that’s when we bought the property we live on now. We had plans drawn for a big, beautiful home, and began the process of hiring a builder, putting in a well etc. But this old pole barn on our land kept bouncing around in the back of our minds…..

The shop when we bought our property…complete with broken down Bronco in the drive!

As we got to thinking about being tied to a big mortgage (or, any mortgage for that matter haha…the debt free life had really got under our skin), we began to eye the existing shop as a viable option for our home.


Let me add that while we are very hard workers, and fast learners, we are NOT inherently handy people. So the idea of building our own home was a little daunting.

And on top of it, we got turned down for financing, because we wanted to renovate an existing non-residential dwelling (what is called a “change in use” permit). No bank would lend to us, so we had to decide if we wanted to use our life’s savings to fund this slightly crazy idea.

We did.

This was the first time I thought: “ok, I could live here!”

I am sure there will be subsequent blog posts on the “nuts and bolts” of construction, but to make a long story short, about 7 months, and a lot of work, mistakes, and learning, we got our Certificate of Occupancy as a residential dwelling!

Fast forward three years, and after fielding dozens (honestly, probably hundreds) of questions about our “barndominium”, welcoming strangers in to our home to “look around”, and helping a few friends design their own shop houses, we decided: “what if we could do this for other people?”

One of the most frustrating parts of our own building process was a lack of information, resources, and support. Granted, this was pre Fixer Upper “barndominium pandemonium”(Thanks Chip and Joanna!), but still…it seemed like surely there had to be a company or blog or something we could turn to, and there wasn’t really anything!

To us, our barndominium isn’t just a home. It’s a lifestyle. It has allowed us to live simply, affordably, freely. It’s re-connected us to our rural roots. It’s a source of pride (we built it! …and it hasn’t fallen over yet!), and it’s super unique.

We started Back Forty Buildings not just to sell plans and steel buildings, to be able to help others capture the joy that this lifestyle has brought us. Tanner and I are so appreciative of those of you who have trusted Back Forty with one of your most important investments: your home.

We love hearing from you! Drop us a comment, or connect with us on our personal Instagram, the Back Forty Instagram, TikTok or our Facebook!