As the owner of Old World Antieks, Amy Kleinwachter spends a lot of time scouring the globe for heirloom-worthy pieces and unusual architectural salvage. But her best find to date–a 14-foot-round grain silo—came from a ranch just down the road from her La Grange, Texas, home. Having already built an entire farmhouse out of salvaged materials, she immediately envisioned the silo as a quirky guesthouse perfect for her 10 acres.
Once the silo was hauled over, Amy enlisted local contractor Judy Kurtz to help sift and pick from Amy’s vast inventory of weathered beadboard, sheet metal, and window frames. “It took a surprising amount of geometry to make things work in a circle, but Judy nailed it!” says Amy. The completed 1,000-square-foot structure now includes a front porch and a bed/bath extension, making it right-sized for family, friends, and visiting pickers alike. Says Amy: “We joke that it’s given new meaning to ‘gather ’round.’”
An old Champagne crate is now a footrest, thanks to a grain sack-cushion topper. A pair of mismatched leather chairs and an antique bleached oak table make for an eclectic sitting area.
Amy transformed an old floral-stand sign into a floating desk and hung additional signage throughout. When buying old signs, she advises, “Ask questions. A good dealer will know a backstory and have a clear grasp on the materials. If they’re fuzzy on that, it’s probably a fake.”
Old wood salvaged from a nearby historic Texas home was treated and sealed with a Varathane polyurethane sealant so guests don’t breathe in lead paint (check with your health department or contractor for information on using this technique in your area). The textured wall pairs with a wrought-iron queen-sized bed (miltonsfurniture.com) dressed in new, crisp linens (gypsyville.com). (Amy says finding a comfortable antique queen has proven next to impossible.) She found the oil still life on a European antiquing trip.
“This is the one thing a picker can never have too much of. When placing planks, I pay attention to paint weathering. I’m careful to do it in a way that looks organic—nothing too perfect, but nothing too random either,” she says.
An old phone nook gets a second life as flush-mount bathroom shelving.
Amy bartered with an Etsy vendor for this liquidation sign.
“It’s essentially a tin can and inherently dark,” Amy says of the silo. “I waded through my stash for window options with ample height and modest width to maximize natural light and still work within the constraints of the circular design.” She had convinced a friend to buy an old set from a dentist’s office years before and was able to buy them back for the bedroom.
"Old windows are one of my favorite things to hunt for, but metal awnings are right behind. I love how they bring depth to a design with a rugged fussiness."
"Intricately carved window and door headers are my go-to when I want to define a space or embellish without having to hang artwork," says Amy.
Amy Kleinwachter and a hen, an on-site alarm clock.
If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving is not for you.