Dungeness barn built in 1934 getting a makeover

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In 2008, Charles Steel of Huntington Beach, Calif., was jogging down Clark Road in Dungeness when something caught his eye.

On the right-hand side of the road was the old Cline family farm with a charming 100-year-old farmhouse and a giant red barn built in 1934.

He was on vacation with his wife visiting friends but the trip quickly turned from personal to business an hour later when they met up with a real estate agent at the farm.

"I said, 'I've gotta have it,'" Steel recalled.

Steel, a semi-retired owner of a manufacturing company that produces interior parts for executive airplanes, moved into the farmhouse with his wife over the Fourth of July weekend that year and this year they are moving forward with big plans to renovate the barn.

The 76-year-old barn was built for dairy purposes for William Henry and Laura Irene Evans Cline but mostly was used as a gymnasium, dance hall and event center after they passed the farm

on to their daughter Margaret, who was married to Ernest Bigelow.

"My goal is, when we get done, it will look like the original barn," Steel said while walking through the field between the farmhouse and the barn.

Next summer it will be reroofed with wood shakes to replace the three layers of roofing that have accumulated over the years, he said.

The original plans for the renovation were jotted down on a napkin in Victoria, British Columbia, when his wife had the idea to build a glass structure inside the barn to provide protected views of the inside wooden framing, he said.

A model shows how the second story of the barn will look. As it is now, the upper floor is quiet and open with exposed wood framing and light seeping in between the cracks of the wood siding.

Steel said he wants to keep the cracks and the view of the gothic arches inside the ceiling of the barn.

To protect what will be a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room, a glass structure will be assembled inside the barn and around the living quarters, he said.

The wooden supports in place every few feet upstairs will be replaced by steel, and five windows will be installed on each side of the barn to let in more sunlight, he said.

Downstairs, where the cows were brought in to be milked, he will have a garage, shop, laundry room and a craft room for his wife, he said.

"I have to admit, my wife and I are going on our 48th wedding anniversary and when we were first married we'd drive around the countryside and I'd say, 'Wouldn't it be great to renovate a barn someday?'" he recalled.

Despite that, he never thought he actually would, he said.

Steel expects the project to take three years.

Amanda Winters can be reached at

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