Photography Courtesy of Legacy Post & Beam
Spend a few minutes inside Brent and Jen Moody’s Nebraska timber home, and you’ll be unknowingly carried through a tour of Midwestern farm history. Furniture, fixtures, walls, lighting — even the HVAC system — are creative applications of unlikely materials, including barn siding, corn planter boxes, pulley systems, irrigation pipes and window panes.
In an impressive display of Midwestern know-how, these treasures have been repurposed in vastly different roles from their original use. They all come together in a texturally rich yet humble space anchored by the warm, hardy environment only a natural wood home can provide.
The home’s origins began with Brent, who grew up in Nebraska then moved to Seattle where he developed an appreciation for mountain-style timber framing and log homes. While there, he and Jen also cultivated an active outdoor lifestyle. They both love biking through challenging terrain, and Brent runs “ultras” — races that are 50 kilometers or more.
As much as the couple enjoyed Washington, they longed to return to their roots, and they had a very specific vision in mind for their home on the plains. They wanted a medium-sized plot of land near trees, which sounds simple enough to come by — unless you’re in Nebraska. “In Nebraska, there are either 3-acre farming pivot corner plots or 100 acres or more. There’s not much in between,” explains Brent.
So imagine his surprise when a 25-acre parcel near his hometown came up for sale. Complete with cedar trees and in proximity to canyons and a canal system, it was perfect. They snatched up the plot and turned to Nebraska-based Legacy Post & Beam to draft the floor plans. Above all, they were determined to remain authentic to the land’s history with a true prairie design.
“We seemed to be the only ones in the area who wanted to keep the ‘farm look,’” says Brent with a chuckle, referencing the abundance of contemporary-style homes that have cropped up in the farming and ranching community surrounding the Moodys’ homesite.
Now, the monitor-style barn — with a perfect rust patina on its heavy-gauge steel roof and its rough-cut board-and-batten pine siding — instantly recalls days of wagon trains and frontier settlers. The frame is comprised of kiln-dried Douglas fir held together with steel plates and through-bolt joinery.
“You can put any spin you want on a post and beam home,” explains Brian Wiese, a partner at Legacy Post & Beam. In the case of the Moodys’ home, the intention was to create an antique-barn-turned-home vibe through new construction. “Brent had a clear vision, and it worked,” he adds.
The structure is designed as a pair of lean-to sections flanking the raised-center roofline. The east side is a covered porch with a view, and the west serves as the guest wing with a mudroom, two bedrooms and a bath. The combined kitchen, living and dining areas occupy the center section and share a double-sided fireplace with the porch. Perched above the kitchen and dining room is the master suite loft. Heated concrete flooring spans the home’s interior, keeping the whole house toasty in cold-weather months.
Brent’s vintage vision also required a large, open living space. The Legacy team delivered by building the home with no internal supporting walls. All structural integrity is held through a combination of king-post, queen-post and hammerbeam-style truss systems. Even the 576-square-foot loft is a clear span requiring no support posts in the middle of the room — a feature Brian points to as a notable engineering feat.
While the pioneers who inspired the Moodys’ home were inventive out of sheer necessity, Brent didn’t hesitate to channel that same spirit into his home’s decor. Doing much of the work himself, he sought to repurpose a variety of materials for equal parts aesthetics and functionality, creating an interior treatment that’s loaded with surprises.
The HVAC ductwork is made from rare 10-inch irrigation pipes tracked down across the Great Plains. Pendant lights are converted (and inverted) John Deere tractor equipment used to plant corn. A series of original antique paneled windows comprise the master suite wall. Corrugated steel makes an appearance on more than the roof: It defines the kitchen ceiling and is used as the guest bathroom shower door. The chandelier hovering above the kitchen island was crafted from a leftover timber beam. An old hay bale trolley system decorates the ceiling. And don’t miss Brent’s favorite find: the antique bicycle bathroom vanity. Oxen-yolk door handles, barn doors and even the cupola were all found in outbuildings, old barns and back yards.
In an interesting twist, pieces that look deliberately repurposed, like the wagon wheel chandelier and the windmill fans, were purchased new. Kitchen cupboards and the island are also new, but the island’s live-edged maple countertop was sourced from Brent’s childhood property.
Authentic to the core and rife with ingenuity, the home is an expression of the true pioneering spirit. It’s a timber home on the range, where deer and antelope really do play alongside their adventurous new neighbors, and they all have plenty of room to roam.
Square footage: 2,304
Designer/timber provider: Legacy Post & Beam