New Monticello Barn Home Provides Beautiful Space for Lake Lifestyle

October 19, 2023

Mike Westbrook is a Kokomo firefighter by profession, but with help from the Internet, including some YouTube videos, he was able to do all the interior construction for a new barn home recently completed in Monticello, Indiana.

Mike and his wife, Renee, previously resided in Kokomo, Indiana, where he continues to serve with the local fire department. The couple had a trailer home at Lake Freeman for weekend getaways, which was demolished to make room for the new home where they now live year-round.

Morton Buildings designed and constructed the 1,100-square-foot, two-story steel-exterior home, which has a black and gray exterior in the shape of a typical barn and tri-fold doors that open to the front deck. The couple describes the interior design as modern industrial, with a striking open floor plan, black and white décor, and 14-foot-high walls.

“Morton understood our vision,” said Mike. “We wanted an open concept. Our friends can’t believe we did it ourselves. With the help of YouTube videos and putting a plan together, we were able to customize our home.”

The first level features a spacious great room, kitchen, modern free-standing fireplace, bathroom and polished concrete floor. A second-floor loft overlooks the entire living space and includes a luxury vinyl plank floor, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. One of the home’s most striking features is a center steel beam along the top of the vaulted ceiling.

The Westbrooks also recently finished the interior of the attached two-car garage and shop on the property. The garage walls are 10 feet high — 4 feet shorter than the main house, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing sloped roof line.

Jason Clesle, a sales, design and project management consultant for Morton Buildings, noted that although the home is shaped like a barn, the color palette and window placement were designed to support the modern industrial look the couple wanted. “Our clear span home design provides a wide-open interior, offering flexibility for homeowners to design their interior space or work with an interior design contractor,” he added.

He noted that the post-frame construction method used by Morton also allows for thick walls containing plenty of insulation compared to traditional stick-frame residential buildings. In addition, radiant heat is provided through thermal pipes under the concrete floor. “They barely need to run their furnace or air conditioner,” Clesle said.

Mike commutes about an hour for his shifts with the Kokomo Fire Department. Renee recently quit her corporate job with a health care company and started her own all natural, no chemicals cleaning business, which she operates from an office in the home.

The Westbrooks said working with Morton was a very positive experience. “We knew what we wanted and had great communications with their crew,” said Renee. “We loved watching it be built.”

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