Excited for What’s to Come

Here at Starry Night Barn & Studios we are busy finishing several projects and getting ready for our first wedding season to take off in July.  I’m so thankful for this lovely slice of earth and our historic buildings in beautiful Suttons Bay and we are excited to share them with our guests and community.  With a mind that’s constantly thinking about design and an eye for new ideas or a recycling of old, I’m totally excited to watch the barn receive a new style every week and of course, to meet, greet and host couples and their families (and we’ve got some big ones coming!)  The grounds are lush and green, the silo roof is almost ready to shingle, we’re finishing floors and I’m confident I’ll find the perfect chandelier to hang above the back sliding barn doors, pictured here: I found the perfect one – at an antique store in Georgia nearly 3 years ago and it was sold.  Haven’t found one since that comes close (I’m open to suggestions!) But, we’re almost ready to roll!

A Fitting First Leelanau County Wedding Reception at Starry Night Barn

We feel honored and grateful that Chris and Carlee chose Starry Night Barn for their big reception.  This reception was special for so many reasons – it was our first! – but the guest list made it feel easy and comfortable.  It was a treat to see so many Leelanau and Traverse City area friends and families seated at tables, up and dancing and a healthy number of kids running around.  I love that Carlee made sure there were treats and fun to-dos for the kids with bubbles and pixie sticks and that writing paper, just like on the Kolarik farm, the whole family pitched in to make the day amazing and celebrate Chris and Carlee.  Watching them dance or take note of each other across the barn as they chatted and hugged family and friends, was sweet and affirming that true love and goodness still rings loud and clear!  Professional pics are coming soon!










Leelanau Wedding Barn open for Biz!

It’s official!  Starry Night Barn & Studios is open for business! The sign is up, we passed inspection and our first wedding is this weekend – can’t wait!  We are thankful to so many folks for helping us get this far – from Leelanau, Traverse City, downstate, Chicago and beyond.  We are still waiting and watching grass grow, moving dirt, woodchips and never-ending piles of barnwood and awaiting the finishing touch of a new silo roof, complete with a rooftop lookout!  But, we are grateful and so in love with this free grammar check barn!

First Starry Night Event in the Books!

True to our name and honoring the inspiration and talent of Vincent VanGogh, it was truly a magical, starry night.  The community came out in full force to support our Leelanau Montessori and share in “An Evening of Art.”  The collabortative student renditions of the Starry Night were nothing short of amazing (and I was totally outbid!) It was a humbling and fitting honor to start off our first season celebrating with our community and sharing love and support for this school, our teachers and kids.  The barn was a huge hit and sparkled in the clear (and cold and windy) night sky.  It certainly feels good to have saved this big ole Starry Night Barn and we can’t wait to share it again and again as we host weddings and events and just welcome folks to stop by and tour.  Starry Night is a huge old barn, but she is welcoming, warm, and I think, happy.

First Event of the Season – An Evening of Art! Come out and support the Leelanau Montessori!

We are excited to be hosting a fundraiser for the wonderful Leelanau Montessori Public School Academy on May 6, 2017!  Come enjoy great food, local music and spirits while admiring and shopping for art – by both young Montessori students and professional artists – in support of the Leelanau Montessori’s new school location efforts.  Tickets are $50 and worth every penny!  Dance the night away or sit at the bonfire and connect with community and friends.  For more information and tickets, visit:

June & July 2017 Wedding Weekends still available!

Calling all Traverse City, Leelanau and Nonlocal engaged couples looking for an early summer wedding venue! We are super excited for our first event season!  We have surpassed our goals for the first year of reservations and are well into booking for the 2018 season.  But for those cursing themselves (or for those who are more chill) for waiting too long to plan a 2017 wedding, don’t be discouraged – we have some great weekends available in June and July (and one October weekend left)! Call or e-mail and set-up a tour! PS – I’m loving this snow melt!

Back to Leelanau / Traverse City Cold & Snow

It looks like our January thaw is over for the time being and we’re headed back to snow and normal winter tempertaures here in the Leelanau / Traverse City area. Although I’ve tried to honestly share in my kids’ irritation with the lack of snow for skiing and sledding and all things winter-fun, I’ve been thankful for a mild winter and dripping roofs, anxious to move into spring and get the property finished and ready for our first wedding season here at Starry Night Barn. There’s no option but patience here in our seasonal lives and businesses, and it’s a good rule of thumb to  live by (but so not my forte).  So, we’re back to celebrating the here and now, enjoying the snow, and I’m waiting patiently for the next and final thaw. 

Traverse City Natives are the First to Take the Leap

Starry Night Barn is filling up with wedding and event reservations for our first event season, beginning in the spring of 2017.  The final barn restoration and renovation efforts are wrapping up and it’s more amazing and gorgeous than we could have imagined.  We arelindsayandshanev1 excited to see Starry Night transform and dazzle in so many different iterations in the seasons to come and share this excitement with wonderful couples and their friends and families.  In the spirit of firsts and the excitement of new beginnings, we would like to give a special thanks to the first couple to take a chance on Starry Night Barn, Lindsay and Shane.  Lindsay and Shane, two high school sweethearts attending different Traverse City high schools, were the first potential clients to visit Starry Night Barn.  Their wedding planner, Nikki Klienrichert – one of my oldest, best friends and an original member of our O/M gangster life that triggered a fascination with Van Gogh’s Starry Night, had to convince me to let Shane alindsayandshanev2nd Lindsay come and look at the barn when it was in the early days of being torn apart.  Even in its roughest stage (with some serious imagination-staging from Nikki), Lindsay and Shane could see the vision.  As two Traverse City natives, Lindsay and Shane knew they wanted a wedding in the Traverse City / Leelanau area that reflected the beauty and simplicity of our landscapes.   They knew
Starry Night Barn & Studios was it from the start.

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So, a big THANK YOU and Congrats shout-out to Lindsay and Shane for being the first to take the leap here at Starry Night Barn!

Before, During & After

We still have a bit to go before the restorations are finished here at Starry Night Barn & Studios but the changes are so dramatic that I wanted to share our progress so far.  This barn project has been 15 years in the waiting and making.  When we moved here 15 years ago, we first patched the giant hole in roof that sat open for years and cabled the the sides together to keep it upright until we could do more.  If you could hug a barn, pat its back and tell it everything was gonna be OK someday, that’s essentially what we did for years.

Most of the structural timbers had to be replaced in Starry Night and the south stone foundation had crumbled.  She suffered from so many years of neglect causing rot and time detioration.  Our plans for restoration included a new commercial use as an events space, and that’s where things get more compliacted.  We worked with architects, engineers, local governements officials, barn experts from all over, local builders, excavation teams, and surveyers to get this done and done right.  I’m not sure if we would have embarked on this journey if we had known then what a rough process this was, although knowing my stubborness and sheer will to make things happen, we still would’ve plowed forward. Our 5 year old son coined the famous saying this summer “this barn is killing my life!” Thankfully, we’re on the mend as a family now, with a rejueventaed barn at the center where are young boys now love to run and dance.

More “afters” to come as the deck is finished, finished floors are installed, new doors hung, the lights go in and the roof is replaced!

Starry Night Barn Construction
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A last view from the Tree-top

Thanks to Sunset Tree Service for the last (and only) tree-top perspective of the big ole barn from the tops of the dying maple before it was cut down.  Sunset Tree Service is a a team of climbers and it was amazing to watch tIMG_0579hem work with care, efficiency and little impact on the land.  I’m always sad when trees must come down – for the loss of shade and cover, the changes that are made to the landscape, and the loss of literal roots and history.  We are working hard to protect and maintain the natural habitat here and nestle our events spaces seamlessly into the landscape.

The stacked-stone foundation is being rebuilt with Michigan granite from right here and we’re committed to reusing any of our old barn materials to rebuild doors, patch siding and build new structures.  The giant trunk of the maple we had to cut down will be milled and become table tops on the barn deck and maybe the lounge bar and the bran crew discovered a beautiful cedar subfloor under the main barn bay that will become the deck flooring.  Now if I only had a magic wand to make it all happen today!  Patience is not my strong suit….