fbpx

Celebrating 50 Years

SHARE OUR CELEBRATION

2021 marks 50 years of Houses & Barns by John Libby! We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has contributed to this milestone achievement over the past five decades. Thank you.

Here we look back on some defining moments from our past, while also looking ahead to our future. On our social media pages you can share with us some of our most iconic projects, witness our funniest moments, meet our current crew and hear from many who are connected to HBJL. Please like, share, and comment.
Follow us on Facebook
Latest Instagram posts

We are very excited to celebrate 50 years with you!

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE HIGHLIGHTS OF 50 YEARS

1971

John Libby advertised in The Notes
John began looking for work doing handyman odd jobs in carpentry and household improvement by advertising in the Yarmouth Shopping Notes. He likes to say he nearly starved during the winter of 1971-72.
Mortise & tenon joint
John’s first barn project was an attempted repair of a dilapidated barn in Yarmouth, which the owner eventually decided to have JAL take down. In doing so, John realized for the first time how this agricultural museum had been constructed a couple centuries prior, with the timbers joined by mortise and tenons; solely joinery.

1974

Houses & Barns by John Libby logo
John Libby original logoIn 1974, Richard Leeman created the HBJL logo we continue to use today; except at that time it was only Barns by John Libby. The logo was eventually upgraded to add ‘Houses’ at the expert suggestion of marketing genius, Mike deLesseps in 1986/87. We were now Houses & Barns by John Libby.

1975

John Libby's VW bug

John Libby’s VW bug, 1975

The Yentsch barn 1976

The Yentsch barn 1976

The Simpson barn, Freeport 1977

The Simpson barn, Freeport 1977

The first three: JAL’s first timber frame barn was constructed in North Pownal in 1975. It was a small frame attached to the client’s home. JAL’s second timber frame barn was constructed in Boothbay Harbor in 1976 for Charles & Clarice Yentsch. JAL’s third timber frame barn was constructed in 1977 for the Simpsons of Freeport.

1979

Gillespie Farm under construction 1979

Gillespie Farm completed

One of our first commercial projects was the restoration of Gillespie Farms’ barn in North Yarmouth in 1979, which presented quite a learning curve for us.

1982

Adding space to the original shop, 1982

Adding space to the original shop, 1982

Kim Libby in new office space, 1982

Kim Libby in new office space, 1982

John Libby shop with new space

John Libby shop with new space, 1985

As our business grew, so did the size of our original shop at 19 Post Road in Freeport. In 1982, we added an office where the business happenings could take place. A few years later in 1985, we added another wing. It consisted of a 16’x24’ space, which greatly expanded our shop floor.

Inside the Taylor pool barn, 1983Taylor pool barnAs well as adding commercial projects to our resume, we began to expand into certain specialty endeavors during the early 80s. One of our first of this kind was the Taylor Pool Barn in Pretty Marsh, Mt Desert Island in 1983.

1984

Brooks house 1984
We finally made the leap to timber frame houses in 1982/83 (Jim Barker). Although it wasn’t our first, the Brooks House (pictured) gives a good indication of how these early timber frame homes were constructed. This one was built in 1984 in West Simsbury, Connecticut.

1996

Island building, 1999Island building was our next big adventure, which was ignited by our work on a small summer home on Sheep Island in 1999. John found he thrived at putting together the logistical puzzle of island construction, even recognizing that it reenergized the business in a way.
Oscar de la Renta barn

Oscar de la Renta barn

de la Renta client & crew

de la Renta client & crew

In 1996, HBJL was tapped to build a barn for fashion designer, Oscar de la Renta, in Kent, Connecticut. This project was fast-tracked and successfully went up in a matter of weeks, all while the weather fought hard to cause delays. HBJL has gone on to build for many celebrity figures, including one of the New Kids On The Block.

1997

The new HBJL shop

The new HBJL shop

Peter Truslow working on timbers

Peter Truslow working on timbers

By 1997, HBJL had outgrown its first home. In fact, we were creating work spaces anywhere possible even if it meant setting up a desk atop a pile of timbers. For this reason, excavation of our new (and current) shop began right next door in January ’97. The new shop even incorporated recycled timber frame trusses from the original Children’s Museum of Maine, which John had acquired several years before and held onto for this purpose. We moved in by June ’97.

Angus King touring the Portland Public Market under construction

Angus King touring the Portland Public Market under construction

John Libby meeting with Governor Angus King

John Libby meeting with Governor Angus King

Portland Public Market

Portland Public Market

The Portland Public Market was another commercial project that garnered a lot of press. At the time, it was the largest post and beam structure in northern New England and its progress was often profiled on local news stations. We even received a visit from then-Governor Angus King, who helped us fly one of the 3000 lb. timber members into place.

2012

Broadview Farm outside

Broadview Farm inside

In more recent years, the Broadview Farm Equestrian Riding Center that we constructed in 2012 stands out as a “once in a lifetime” project. This expansive horse barn and arena in Hope, Maine was constructed of many curved glulam beams; a first for HBJL.

NOW

A new take on a classic barn

A new take on a classic barn

Beautiful seaside home under construction

Beautiful seaside home under construction

Two current HBJL projects that are on the cusp of completion and continue our tradition of excellence in building are: a gorgeous, not-so-traditional red barn in Naples, Maine. And a beautiful seaside house with barn-like qualities in New Harbor, Maine.