I'm building a barn on my land in Wyoming. This page details my progress.

The Move

In the middle of April 2007, my lease in San Francisco expired. J was headed out of the country to study Spanish in South America, and I was feeling a little escapist. I decided that I would move to Wyoming for the summer and construct some sort of building on the land I own there.

I spent a few days tossing around impractical designs like

before deciding that what I really needed was a warehouse-type building, with a loft apartment in one end and a shop in the other. Then I hopped in my Jeep and drove to Laramie. I checked into a Hamptons Inn on Monday and I had a crappy little apartment in town with a 3-month lease Wednesday. None of the contents of my SF apartment arrived for a month so I slept on the floor. Such is life.


I began the planning process for the construction shortly after the purchase of the land about a year ago. The first step was a meeting with the Albany County Planning Director, Doug Bryant. Doug and I had a great meeting and I came out of the meeting with a clear view of how the Albany County process works and what I would have to do in order to get a Construction Permit, which would include a Zoning Permit and a Rural Address permit. Once I had these documents, it would be legal for me to build a primary building and a secondary building over the course of two years. Getting the permits meant doing a good deal of simple paperwork, creating a few maps and diagrams of the project, and waiting for a biweekly meeting of the county commissioners. Once this was out of the way, I received a permit in the mail, along with a metal sign inscribed with my street address, for posting on the fence in front of the property.

As I was working on and waiting for the permit, I continued to research the building itself. Initially, I was interested mostly in metal buildings, but unfortunately there are a lot of people in China and India who are also trying to buy things made out of steel, so I was priced out of the market. Aesthetically similar but much cheaper is a locally popular design called a metal skin pole barn. This type of construction is not allowed within city limits, but in the county lands, pole barns are quite common. Because of the everpresent concern around energy efficiency, we planned for three main efficiency features:

After much fiddling and tweaking, we settled on a design adapted from one provided by UBC, where we bought the bulk of the material for the skeleton.

When the permit arrived, we were ready to begin construction immediately.