See Inside: Niles woman turns old barn into a beautiful home


A local home is being featured nationally. The Niles house has been in This Old House, The Wall Street Journal and Chicago Home and Garden Magazine. It's because the house, was built before the civil war, as a barn.


Art lines the walls of her Niles home -- There is even a Lichtenstein and a Frank Stella, two well-known artists.

But Judith Racht's home is, in itself, a work of art.

"Well it is not the typical house I guess," says Racht.

That is because her house is a barn.

"All the beam work is original in this barn and this barn was moved from another location. It is pre civil war," says Racht.

Racht has lived on this property since the 80s but only committed to living in the barn about 7 years ago. That is when the project started -- And boy, was it a project.

"Terrible shape. Falling down shape almost," says Racht.

It looked like what a lot of old barns look like: Dilapidated, dismal, and just plain old.

The rood needed to be fixed. A new foundation needed to be poured. Everything in the barn needed to be cleaned and treated. The giant beams, the framework and most of the floorboards are original. The walls are lined with reclaimed barn wood. And Judith, who helped design it, says she wanted to keep the feel of an old barn which is why she kept the large openings on each side.

"I think that I always envisioned this kind of space and it flowed along as we worked on it," says Racht.

Racht doesn't call herself an artist, but she definitely has an eye for art.

"These are boxes in boxes and we hung them so the shadows are part of the piece," says Racht as she takes us on a tour through her art gallery in Harbert, MI. It is an old two room school house that she renovated.

"I look for things that are not necessarily beautiful, but things that are interesting that peak some curiosity," says Racht.

And her home definitely does that.

See her house in The Wall Street Journal:

See her house in This Old House:,,20829940_30179434,00.html

And if you would like to talk with Racht yourself, her art gallery is holding a big art show Labor Day weekend. "Outsider" Artists, artists with no formal training, will be featured: