When a Building Steels the Scene On a hot July day earlier this summer, the big moment had arrived. It was show time. After pouring much of their creative energy into making it all as captivating as possible, which included choosing colors and textures and placement that spoke to their vision, Montie and Jayna Powell were ready for people to start arriving. They were proud of the results and believed that the days and nights that they and others devoted to this venture were well worth it, and it was their hope that the people living in their hometown of Dumas, TX agreed. They did, but there was one thing that captivated the audience above all else. “It was by far the star of the show,” says Montie. “Several folks wanted to know all about it. We must have explained how it came to be 30 times.” The Powell’s project was not a film (although they do that as well) or a play or anything that is usually associated with star power—it was their back yard, which includes a recently constructed steel Quonset hut that they have dubbed their ‘barn’. So how did the Powell’s end up with a yard full of people ogling their flora and foliage and foray into construction? It began with a neighbor, a woman whom the Powell’s hired to make the couple’s landscaping vision a reality by infusing a natural ‘wild’ motif into the settings of both the front and backyards. During one of her trips to the local greenhouse and plant nursery, the Powell’s neighbor became aware of an annual event benefiting Dumas, designed to encourage those living in the community to become more engaged and proud of their yards. Excited by her latest landscaping efforts, she submitted the Powell’s for entry in the 2011 Back Yards in Bloom Tour. They were up for the challenge. “We hustled to complete a few tasks that had been lingering on the barn,” says Montie. “We cleaned up the back yard, chalked up the grill, filled the ice chest with refreshments,
and made ready for a herd of strangers traipsing thru our yard. It went great. Lots of ‘OOOOooos and AAAahhhhs’ over the yard, but, mostly ‘WOWWWwwws’ when they saw the barn. Turns out, the Back Yards Tour was not a competition per say, but just a fun way to meet other people from our community who shared a love of interesting back yards. Though the people at the newspaper did not pick a winner, they chose only one picture to post, and it was our yard. Still, I feel as if, yes, we are the winners. And we are very happy we choose SteelMaster [for our barn].” The genesis of their backyard building originated in 2006 when Montie and Jayna bought their home. They say they knew then that they wanted a building like the one they now have, but it wasn’t until 2009 when they set to task looking for one. “We searched and shopped online for various types of buildings, but originally we wanted a wood frame structure,” says Montie. “We called several building companies and general contractors to request quotes for turn-key construction. The cost was way more than we expected. Then we found SteelMaster, and we liked what we read on the website. In late summer of 2009, after we called to speak to a SteelMaster representative, we were convinced that SteelMaster was the best choice. Initially it was the price, but we became more pleased as we were made aware of the benefits of the using steel, such as the strength and ease of installation and assembly.” For more than 29 years, SteelMaster Buildings, which is located in Virginia Beach, VA has manufactured, designed, and supplied pre-fabricated arched steel structures to 40,000 customers located in every state of the United States, in 40 countries, and on seven continents around the world. According to Michelle Wickum, who is SteelMaster Buildings’ director of marketing, strength and ease of installation and assembly work along with affordability, sustainability, and versatility to make the company’s buildings wildly popular with homeowners, entrepreneurs, architects, farmers, the U.S. military and government, NASA, and corporations. “Whether it is a unique application for our standard metal buildings or a design that requires additional support from our design team, SteelMaster has decades of steel building experience in solving building and design challenges,” says Wickum. “Our strong yet versatile clear span building design allows us to meet the needs for a wide range of custom steel building applications. This uniquely qualifies SteelMaster to competently address all questions and concerns, and then create a custom steel building solution that will work structurally, functionally, and aesthetically.” Although the outside of the Powell’s SteelMaster building is largely complete with tongue and groove timbers, Clinker bricks, and a broad array of items that they had collected, including various rocks brought to them by friends, the inside is a work in progress. The upstairs will ultimately contain an office area, guest bedroom, and storage space. The downstairs will be a garage, storage for their camper, truck, and motorcycles, and a small bathroom. Additionally, the barn will serve as a photo/video/music studio for the couple’s side business, PunkinMusher Productions, LLC.
Along with the help of friends, the Powell’s hired a carpenter and master brick layer to tackle building portions of their barn—but they both have spent many hours working on it as well, just the two of them. “It was a lot of work for the two of us, but doing this together was super duper awesome,” says Jayna. “We looked forward to the late evenings of arch building. I was on the rope ladder (which we purchased online and is a definite must) on the top of our SteelMaster during construction, and Montie was underneath on the scissor lift that we rented as we needed it. There was many a night when I would be laying on top of our barn holding my wrench in place waiting on Montie to get in position. The ‘beep, beep, beep’ of the scissor lift could be heard as Montie aimlessly swirled around beneath me. I would tap on the roof and ask what he was doing. It was an awesome time. Our SteelMaster is definitely a work of art. Special thanks goes out to all of our friends that did come out to lend us a hand and to our neighbors that didn’t report us for the loud ‘beep, beep, beep’ nights.” In addition to steel buildings like the Powell’s, SteelMaster’s steel and metal preengineered buildings are designed for a broad range of residential and commercial applications including homes, farm buildings, garages, workshops, agricultural storage, Quonsets, airplane hangars, RV storage, roofing systems, carports, military buildings, commercial warehousing, and industrial storage as well as a wide variety of custom building applications including athletic facilities, retail stores, churches, bus stops, smoke shacks, doggie dorms, and correctional facilities.