willowbrook farm

historic yellow springs

Fall Barn Sale Inspiration and Preparation

 The months that fall in between our Seasonal Barn Sales are some of our busiest.  Those months are chock full of all the things that bring us to the photo above from the photo below.

If you can believe it, this is a photo of the same space but shot in a reverse perspective. This is what we call the “underbelly” of a Barn Sale. As we get closer to our Fall Barn Sale, we wanted to show you what happens in the months between our sales that get us to the place that you see when you walk into the barn during one of our Seasonal Sales. In a past blog post, I highlighted one of our biggest vintage picking trips of the year, our Brimfield trip. In this blog post, I would like to outline what happens with all of those goodies that we find on the Brimfield trip and other such picking trips that we have gone on. The center table of the barn is where we gather all of the small vintage goodness that we find on these trips. All of it it is unpacked, processed and priced here.

The large pieces get loaded into the barn.  If some of those pieces need some TLC or some loving on it, to make it shine again, we move it to the horse stables. It is here, where each stall that used to house animals, now houses either “projects to be” or pieces that we are saving to use in one of our Design Projects elsewhere.

Once the pieces have been either moved to the “project or design project to be” area or unpacked, cleaned and priced in the barn, the next step is to put what we like to call the Bones of the sale into place. The bones are the larger pieces that will be the back drop for the smaller pieces and vignettes, thus creating visual interest and guiding the design aspect of each particular area.

Once the Bones are put into place, we begin to layer all of the smaller Bones into place. These are the items that fill in the blank spaces and help to bring the design aspect forward into what we ultimately want the area to look like.

After all of this is complete, we begin to layer in the smaller accessory items that really bring the whole vision to life. It is our intent, when we host a barn sale, for our guests to be able to see how the pieces we source and find might work in their own homes.

Many of these pieces have been relegated to the dark and hidden away or given away over the years.  We like to first find them and then vignette them in ways that our visitors might not have thought of. We like to think of it as giving them relevance in todays world.

The process is an arduous one for while we are sourcing, picking, hauling the treasures back and then putting them all into place, we are also fielding inquiries into Special events here at the Farm and bringing the ones that book here to fruition.

Springing forth from the events that we hold here at the Farm, the Farm itself and the age old objects that we find, there is enough inspiration to guide us in the design of putting it all together.


I typically create notes to break apart the separate areas that we are working towards creating. We don’t always follow this verbatim, but at least it creates a little structure. There are so many items to process that if there is not something in place to organize my thoughts in how the set up is going to unfurl, it is that much more time consuming to make it happen.

The written out plans spring forth from inspiration boards that I create in my office that are filled with current inspiration from a variety of sources. Little tidbits of visual beauty that inspire me that when paired with the vintage merchandise that we have found and the new merchandise that we order, help me to create the vignettes that you will find here at a Barn Sale.

 In each sale that you will attend here at Willowbook, as you walk into the upper barn, there will be a cohesive design and color scheme that will greet you. These scenes are fueled by either a vintage piece that we have found or an idea that I have seen in a magazine or print source somewhere, but typically a combination of the two.  This is just a little hint of an element that you might find when you join us in the Fall in the Barn… the intaglio. You might even find it in a cookie form!

 The days preparing and getting ready for a sale are long ones, but ones that we relish. There is no air in the upper barn so unfortunately the other part of our set up team for this sale, Suzy and Julie begged out of this photo with Jackson and Christopher. Understandably so, for we were all truly soaked to the bone working in the over 100 degree temps in the barn that resulted from the crazy heat waves that we have had this summer.  There is never a dull moment nor a day that is repetitive working in the barn. In all reality, we might welcome a dull moment here or there and some repetition and I know that my team would agree. But then again, it is the variability in our day to day that truly makes this an exciting place to work, keeps us on our toes and strengthens our learning and problem solving skills. It is a place to create in which we bring to life an experiential shopping experience for all of our visitors. It is a place that we cannot wait to share with you during our upcoming Fall Barn Sale which will open with our Preview Party Day on:

Tuesday, September 21st with a rain date of Wednesday, September 22nd 2021

Tickets for the preview party will go one sale next Sunday, August 22nd and there will be three different time slots to purchase a ticket for. More information will be available when the tickets go live. This sale will benefit a local non profit as all of ours have done in the past. 

The Sale will then be open free to the public on Friday, September 24th 

 through Sunday, September 26th

  • Disclaimer that the sale was pushed back a week due to the same issues that every other retailer and small business owner is unfortunately experiencing during this Covid era. The supply chains have been severely impacted by the many challenges of Covid and some of our important shipments have been delayed. Pushing the sale back a week will give us more time to process all of this new merchandise and get it out on the floor for all of you to enjoy! We hope that this does not impact your attendance!

May we all appreciate the beauty that surrounds us in the everyday and may we all gather together again in the Barn this Fall. WE cannot express how much we have appreciated your support in the past and we cannot wait to open our doors and have you visit us and experience all that is Life’s Patina!



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  1. Kiki Ade says:

    Thank You for the update
    Looking forward to what is always an Adventure.

  2. Sue Alderfer says:

    I have been gathering/ collecting antiques / quilts / old white cotton bed clothes / underslips for 40 years. I am getting ready to move from my old farmhouse . Time to downsize😢 I thought you might be interested in coming to see what I have for your spring sale.

    • Meg Veno says:

      Hi Sue! Thanks for thinking for thinking of us and reaching out.
      We handle all inquiries to purchase items through our website or email to Julieniness@lifespatina.com
      In your email if you can include a few photos as well as pricing that you want for the items that would be great for we get so many requests to come see collections etc that we just don’t have enough time to do so. If they are items that we might be able to work into our vignettes then we will let you know about coming to purchase.
      I hope that might work for you!

  3. Nancy Mullen says:

    My daughter and I can’t wait to come. My best friend in elementary school, (1959) Ginny Orr lived at this farm and I visited every weekend. Breezy taught me to care for and ride a horse.

    • Meg Veno says:

      That is so exciting Nancy! It is sure to be a blast from the past! Beezy has been here a couple of times and it was wonderful to hear all of her stories of when she lived here… fascinating for sure. Please introduce yourself when you visit!

  4. Larry Reed says:

    looks like a fascinating place!
    Eager for the Barn Sale and what it might provide for my home!