Two Words: Barndominium & Scullery

Barndominium and Skullery

We had the opportunity to tour a new, and almost unique, structure right down the road from our home.  The building represents a new trend for homeowners of all ages and is a return to practical rather than showy housing.  This trend in construction of reasonably priced housing is taking hold outside of metropolitan areas.  With its roots in utility buildings, owners have realized that there are different and more practical ways to create affordable housing.  A secondary benefit is that these structures often offer massive internal areas that can be finished as needed or left unfinished for storage as needed.

With this shift comes a new noun that has yet to be recognized by Websters, but we believe it will make it.  The noun “Barndominium” instantly supplies recognition as the combination of “Barn” and “Condominium.” 

Labor is still a major part of any construction project, and this is where the barndominium shines.  The exterior walls and roof can be erected and insulated in just days, not months or years.  This slashes the cost of shell construction and focuses the owner on the interior finishes and landscaping.  The one we toured offered more than 5,000 square feet of dry space and was constructed for less than $60 per square foot.  Another observation was the owner could choose to add a second floor and increase the usable square footage to 10,000 square feet with little effort.

What most of us have been conditioned to believe that our homes need to be showplaces of specific architecture.  While this is nice, it often leaves people in unaffordable debt and with rising interest rates: it is not sustainable as an option.  Our real goal should be flexible, livable, cost-effective, and secure space.  This is where the barndominium fits, so look for one near you and take a tour.  As interest rates climb and housing is still needed, look for more practical housing to evolve.

“Barndominium” does not make Webster’s yet, but it is coming to a dictionary near you soon.

Separator Black Fancy

“Scullery” is most often seen in books before the twentieth century and refers to an area off the main kitchen where the dirty work is done, but also where large quantities of dishes, platters, and serving pieces were stored.  Obviously, this was from an era when entertaining and formal dining were more the rage than today.

The word first conjures up “skull” not “scull” and might be confusing for some who do not watch old movies or read old books.  But the derivation of the word is from Latin as are many that are in common use today.  The Latin word, “scutella” which means tray or platter is the origin of scullery.

The scullery might also be the area where washing in general was done and items like dishes, poots and pans, and even underwear were cleaned.  Scullery maids were essentially “maids to the maids” and the lowest rung on the hierarchy within the staff.

It would be correct to say that most modern houses do not have a scullery and that the word has passed out of common usage and understanding.

As an example of the word usage, one might say one of the following:

“Sculleries went out of fashion with the introduction of modern conveniences such as dishwashers and garbage disposals.”

“He went to town with the scullery maid to get some fresh fish.”

“He is marrying the scullery maid in December.”

Today’s homes are more likely to refer to pantries, laundries, or storerooms since these still have recognizable functions and are tailored to specific chores.  Sculleries passed from usage as did butler’s pantries when labor was replaced by modern technology.