Monday, January 14, 2013


The Big Red Barn?

This is The Big Red Barn. It’s not red. It’s not a barn. And it’s not particularly big. But it’s mine. Inside is my home and my work; a place made for children, and for me.

The Big Red Barn in downtown Ponchatoula
Okay, a little background...

Once upon a time, I lived in a wonderful old farmhouse out in the country. We had a red barn on the property, as well as a converted detached garage- a cottage, I liked to call it. Whenever I gave people directions to our house, I always said "Drive 2 miles down Weinberger Road, and when you see the big red barn, you're there." So when I started my business in the cottage next door, the name The Big Red Barn just fit. I began offering children's art classes, mom's day out, birthday parties and summer camps at The Big Red Barn, and quickly gained positive feedback from many parents and their children. With my 2 year old daughter, Lily Grace, I ran the business from this location for about a year and a half.

Due to personal circumstances, I had to leave the old farmhouse on Weinberger Road. I was happy with my little business and I had established a good reputation for The Big Red Barn. Many people were sad that I may have to close completely. However, the future was uncertain, and I wasn't sure how or where I could continue running The Big Red Barn if I had to support both a home and a freestanding business. The only way it would work financially would be to find a place that could house both home and work.

The original "Big Red Barn" with an actual barn!

I had sketches in my journal of floor plans and brainstormed ideas of how to combine my home with the barn. Most of my ideas take shape in my journal. It is a drawing board, so to speak, that allows for sketching, listing, free-writing, and general daydreaming. It is fun to see how many of the ideas originally expressed in volumes of my journals achieve fruition in one way or another.

Planting seeds of hope in the fertile pages of my journal... I still have trouble spelling the word separate. :-/

Planning and brainstorming and thinking... Nothing like ink to get ideas flowing!

All I needed was the right place, and the right landlord. I knew that few people would be that thrilled at the prospect of renting out a home to someone who was going to entertain dozens of children at a time- with paint, no less! I searched classified ads and Craigslist looking for a place to land. I drove around looking for "For Rent" signs. There was one house in downtown Ponchatoula with a small sign on the porch. I called it once, but got no answer. I kept looking. About a week later, I drove by it again. I called again. The landlord answered. It would be $975 a month. Higher than what I budgeted. Nevermind. But wait...  I may as well take a look at it.

In less than 10 minutes the landlord was there to show me the house. Lily was asleep in the backseat. I left her in the car (doors locked) while I quickly looked through the rooms. This was it. It was perfect. It would work! My landlord was totally on board with me using the house for home and business. By the time that Lily woke up, I had already signed a lease and gotten the keys.

And so begins the story of my life living in a playhouse.

Ready for children- Fall 2010

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