OTTAWA — Tucked away on a gravel drive, behind a line of trees, is an old barn encased in a new home. Julia’s Barn, a new venue for private dinner parties, is owned, operated and lived in by Julia Siefker, of Ottawa.
“This is what I like about this life,” Siefker said, kicking off her shoes and taking a seat on the front patio of Julia’s Barn, taking a break from cooking for her grand opening event held Thursday. “You have a dinner party; people are inside, they’re taken care of. They’re fed and content, drinks are in hand. You just come out; see you in a little bit.”
Julia’s Barn was set back from the road in a very quiet location. Siefker said a lot of animals walk around the property, and the pond behind the house/barn is full of frogs.
She began cooking and planning events years ago when the wife of a good friend wanted to throw a surprise party after after he finished college, she said. They wanted a change from the usual venues in Lima and asked her to host the party at her home and cook for them. After thinking about it for awhile she agreed.
It took off from there, Siefker said. It started with the holiday season, grew to include Valentine’s Day, Easter, then birthday parties and grew from there. She cooks most everything but dessert. She’s not big on baking. A few chickens produce eggs, herbs growing around the property and a small patch is home to pumpkins.
“Northwest Ohio is a great place for fresh farm to table food,” she said.
The renovations of Julia’s Barn began in October 2016. Brent Leopold, of Leopold Construction LLC in Ottawa, said Siefker approached him about building a barn/home combination she could use for the business. He remembered the barn from her old property, where her venue business originally began, and suggested she get it from her brother, who owned the property, and move it.
“I knew it would be a prime candidate to turn into a house,” Leopold said.
After contacting a moving company to make certain it was possible, he and Siefker began the design process. The barn is actually intact but new walls were built around the barn walls and insulation was added between them. The interior was modernized into a home while keeping the original facade of the barn, Leopold said. It took about 15 months to move and complete the renovations, he said.
The main dining area and kitchen are all one open carpeted space with many large windows letting in natural light. The barn beams are intact and there are some old barn ladders propped against the walls as decoration. During the grand opening, the upstairs was blocked off but there is a bedroom up there and more on the first floor.
For the future, Siefker would like to have more landscaping and gardens on the property to produce more food on site. She’s also interested in adding an apartment above the garage so she can live there and open Julia’s Barn up to people interested in staying overnight, she said.
Julia’s Barn is located at 11165 state Route 15 and the phone number is 419-233-0064.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362