Our hard-farming forebears would be amused. We've moved our livestock into factories and ourselves into the barn. Never mind the drafty siding, gaping doors, sky-high haylofts, and wide-open spaces that make barns so hard to heat. For those who are smitten by hunky old beams or maybe just a gambrel roof, nothing but a barn will do—even if it does mean developing an eye for untapped potential and a network of subcontractors with unusual skills. The payoff is a chance to save a piece of history, to own and occupy a rare antique—bragging rights in an era of tree farms and MDF. Read on for the stories of four living barns, brought back from the brink by their visionary owners.