Pole Barn Becomes "Pig Pen" Play Area for Kids

Brittany Paris
Written by Brittany Paris
Updated January 25, 2022
remodeled pole barn
The remodeled pole barn features recycled rubber flooring, LED lights, new windows, and plenty of recreation. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

Angie's List senior editor details how she and her husband turned an old pig pole barn into the ultimate play room.

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We moved to our dream house in Lebanon, Indiana, three years ago. It offered more square footage than our starter home, with the property situated on 9 acres with a pond. My husband, Jeremy, was excited to have a pole barn workshop to escape a house full of girls.

Despite the perks, the place reeked of the pigs the previous homeowners kept in the barn and we quickly realized our daughters needed a dedicated play area.

Caydence, 4, and Jayden, 2, inherited the monkey gene. Jeremy and I grew up doing gymnastics and loving sports. My dad installed a trapezee in our house when I was a kid. Caydence started scaling our door frames — climbing all the way to the ceiling — by age 3, and now the toddler is chasing close behind on every dangerous stunt.

We also wanted a place to host family holidays and hang out with our friends to watch football and play ping pong tournaments. So, in January, we began transforming half of our grimy barn into a 1,600-square-foot recreation room my family will enjoy for years.

curly slide inside pole barn
This curly slide came from an old, dilapidated swing set. It’s the kids’ favorite part of the barn remodel so far. (Photo by Brittany Paris)

Family, Friends Pitch In

My father-in-law, Vernon Paris, teamed up with Pyramid Custom Homes in Crawfordsville, Indiana, to fortify the uninsulated metal structure, while also adding some creative touches like a curly slide. The crew framed and insulated the walls, installed a metal ceiling, modified the hayloft into a sitting area with storage rooms, installed six windows and an entry door, built a loft railing and staircase, and hung wood siding and drywall.

Vernon gifted us windows he found at an auction, and decided to leave the four metal exterior sliding doors so we can protect them during bad weather. We chose T1-11 plywood siding, typically used on sheds, for the lower half of the interior walls and loft ceiling because of its durability and distinct look. The crew repurposed a metal pig pen grate for a portion of the loft railing.

This remodel involved many DIY projects and the help of family and friends. Jeremy demolished the disgusting space. We then spent months cleaning, painting, and applying other finishing touches, with crucial help from a drywall contractor, Travis Lawson of Lawson Construction, who’s a close friend and neighbor. Jeremy rewired the room, installing electrical conduit and LED lights. His sister and her boyfriend helped paint. Vernon brought our vision to life, accepting grandkid cuddles as payment.

family playing in pole barn recreation room
The Paris family enjoys playing in their new space when it's cold or rainy outside. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

Phase One Complete, But More to Come

In May, we finished phase one of construction and celebrated by hosting 40 people for Caydence’s birthday party. We completed it for $9,800 — $200 under budget. We started the second phase of construction this fall, adding heating and other improvements to prepare for winter.

Beyond that, we have many more plans for the space: recycled rubber flooring, a projector screen and TVs, and a pool table. Our treadmill and weight machine will finally find a home, and as fans of the show American Ninja Warrior, we hope to add many fun fitness obstacles. There’s even talk of a ball pit for the slide landing area.

My only regret is we didn’t put gutters on the barn right away. We shelled out $800 to install gutters and downspouts after a historically wet summer, and had to replace a small portion of water-damaged insulation and interior siding.

"Pig Pen" to Provide Years of Entertainment

It’s our responsibility to regularly maintain the barn so it remains functional. It will need a new roof in a couple of years. It’s another place to clean and spray for pests. But it’s also another place for my children to run wild, sprinkle glitter and paint, and kick soccer balls. When their older cousins visit, they no longer fill my house with chaos. It’s a beautiful thing for this work-at-home mom. I can already envision the girls as teenagers, entertaining friends in their pole barn rec room.

Paris family painting
The barn serves as a place to store tons of toys and do messy crafts, so the house stays less cluttered. (Photo by Eldon Lindsay)

While the remodeling project is ongoing, the barn we’ve lovingly dubbed the “Pig Pen” is already a fun, safe place we regularly play with our children and friends. We just need to finish the upstairs in time for a Super Bowl party. I’ve been practicing my ping pong.

Have you transformed an unfinished space into an exciting addition for your home? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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