Some 200 years ago, the original property owners could never have foreseen the changes ahead for their barns, from the horse-drawn post-Colonial farm period to the era of mechanized dairy production farmer. And they never could have anticipated the barns’ careful restoration in the first decade of new millennia which has saved so much family - and American - tradition.

Most recent are the memories of the DiBiagio family started by Anthony, born in Italy, and wife, Christine. These family memories strengthened as the family planned its once-in-a-lifetime reunion in upstate New York. The main barn turned out to be the perfect place to gather the generations and things the family has held dear since taking possession in the 1930’s. Forethought had a lot to do with it.

Once the 3-barn complex had been stabilized and the ancient and unusable foundations, framing and sidings replaced, the owner thought “How will this new version of the old barn be used?”  Looking around at the memories stored inside, like the horse-drawn corn planter and parlor organ, the answer was obvious: it should be a perfect place to gather the generations.

“But what about the floor?”

For that, cork was selected for its complementary colorations, textures, innate moisture and insect repellency, natural resilience underfoot and, of course, its ageless grace, one reason cork is enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

After the new rough-cut barn floors (harvested from trees right on the farm) were sanded, planks of cork were installed over a vapor barrier and protective, cushiony underlayment by local craftsmen of 30-years, Brendan Murphy and Gerard Vaughn of Albany.

To ready for the big family event, the owner called in interior stylist Michelle Shaw, co-owner of a nifty, one-of-a-kind decoratives shop in nearby Chatham, NY called Groovi. Michelle’s job was to bring together the barn’s charm, diverse family heirlooms collected over decades and items that would reflect personal histories, a flair of the region and, of course, fun. It was a tall order, but she did it in just five days. Welcome home everybody! 

For the floor, the owner selected Natural Cork’s Lisbon in a snap-together plank. Easy to install over a vapor barrier and underlayment, the craftsmen had the more than 2,000-square-foot barn floor done in less than a day - ready for guests and all the punishment a big and boisterous party like that could produce.