A Year in Review!

We are coming up on the One year anniversary of our County Board approval- allowing Bluestem Farm to operate. Since then, a lot of planning over the winter and spring lead to a summer and fall of construction. We have been so blessed to follow our dream of opening up a beautiful barn venue in McHenry County. Here is a little Year in Review:

1. January 17th- County Board Approval

We were granted our Conditional use permit at this meeting and pretty quickly afterwards, applied for our building, septic, and stormwater permits. 

2. June 2- Building permits granted!

After several months of designing we were granted the permits to begin the work! This included a new septic system, fire sprinkler system, parking area, and all the building remodeling.

3. July- Booking began!

Starting in July we opened our 2018 calendar for booking. We wanted to be sure we would have enough time to finish our construction. We quickly started to fill our 2018 season!

4. August- Construction Begins!

After looking at several construction companies, we decided on a local company- Lansing Remodeling. Working with Cameron has been a great experience. His carpentry stills are top notch- our unique barnwood walls and small details are noticed by all of our visitors! 

5. September- December

Most of our construction and remodeling was completed in the Fall/Winter, with a few items to go into the Spring. We are finishing up our upper loft floor this winter, completing the installation of the indoor pipes for the sprinkler system, and staining the concrete floor. Once the weather warms back up we will be doing some grading work in the courtyard to prepare for the patio installation in the Spring. Landscaping and seeding work will be completed in April. 

6. January

Today we are humbled to say we have 24 couples booked for 2018. We are so excited to share our space and create the perfect wedding for each of them. As we move closer to our first wedding over Memorial Day weekend we continue to prepare and plan for some of the next phases of construction for our 2019 season.

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Happy New Year!

 

 

Love Grows Here- Styled Wedding Shoot

In the spring of this year we were asked to participate in a styled wedding shoot. Being a new venue, we were very excited to be asked to do something like this! The styled wedding shoot happened in June and it was magical (cheesy, I know but it was!). We worked with so many great vendors to make the entire day a success. The best part was the theme had a southwestern flair- with cactus, macrame, and other really fun touches. This is not always the norm for a barn wedding but truly showcases how versatile this space can be! We are excited to share some of the images for you to see as well...take a look!

PHOTOGRAPHER
Katharyne Dunn Photography

WEDDING PLANNER
Orchid Weddings & Events

VENUE
Bluestem Farm & Events

VIDEOGRAPHY
Carisma Films

RENTALS
Once Upon A Pedestal

BRIDAL GOWN
Alyssa Kristin

MENSWEAR
Skeffington's Formal Wear

INVITATION SUITE
Terlie Design Co.

FLORALS
Blossom & Branches Designs

CAKE
Black Forest Baking Company

HAIR STYLIST
Pins & Lashes

MAKEUP ARTIST
Sonia Roselli Makeup Studio

ENGAGEMENT RING
Little Gems USA

RING BOX
The Mrs. Box

MACRAME
Amy Zwikel Studio

ACOUSTIC MUSICIANS
Brandon & Rachel Dawley

One month in...construction update!

We are just over the one month mark and there have been a whole lot of changes made! We have a new lower level floor with radiant heating, our bathrooms are framed out, and we have two new staircases!

 Laying the radiant heat!

Laying the radiant heat!

Although many find construction stressful, we must admit that this whole process has been exciting for us! Yes, some moments have been a little trying, but I blame that on never having done a project like this before! Ever since we started this process in April of 2016 it's been a roller coaster of emotions. We had successful moments and some major setbacks. Just being at this moment of construction and transforming this wonderful barn into a wedding venue is a huge success for us and we are taking in every day.

 Framing up for the bathrooms

Framing up for the bathrooms

Along with a lot of structural upgrades, there are lot's of other changes that are harder to see. Electrical lines have been run in the lower and upper levels for the new lighting. Rough plumbing is in and we are getting closer to installing fixtures. Water lines have been dug from the barn well and water hooked up to the mechanical room!

 Staircases are up!

Staircases are up!

The next month we should see the wall's go up on the bathrooms and perhaps some of the fixtures being installed (at least they will be picked out!). We are gearing up to start the fire system install as well, with the pipes going in sometime in October. We have also decided to lay a new hardwood floor in the upper level- still deciding on what wood species and stain color!

 View of the upper loft coming up the new stairs.

View of the upper loft coming up the new stairs.

At this moment, we are going into 2018 with 17 booked weddings. We are so blessed to be working with such great couples who have seen our vision and will be the first to have their wedding at Bluestem Farm's De Graslanden Barn!

We will continue to share what updates we are doing via the blog and MUCH more frequently via Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/bluestemfarmandevents/

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for these updates!

Until next time! 

Kelly & Jon

Construction has officially begun!

All the permits are up and contractors are scheduled! We are extremely excited to begin the remodeling process. The first step is the demolition of the lower concrete floor. We will be installing new wooden support beams in the process as well as prepping for all of the plumbing that will be laid down before we pour the new concrete floor. 

If you have visited our barn or have seen the many pictures of the inside, you will notice that the existing concrete is at different levels. We will be eliminating this, pouring a new floor all at one same level. We will also be staining and polishing the concrete floor a darker brown color! This will help limit the stains over the years and add the same warmth the barnwood already brings to the space!

 The old concrete floor and metal posts.

The old concrete floor and metal posts.

 Similar look to our new concrete floor!

Similar look to our new concrete floor!

We have also started the demolition of the parking area outside the barn and taken down the original milk house. We plan on rebuilding this little room and house all of the fire sprinkler equipment inside.

 Eastern side of the barn, parking area.

Eastern side of the barn, parking area.

This is just week one! So many changes already, its exciting to see the transformation begin. We will keep the updates coming on the blog and more often on Instagram. Follow us @bluestemfarmandevents

Have a great Friday!

Kelly & Jon H

One permit down, one to go!

We recently received our septic permit from McHenry County and hope to start the construction of a new septic field this month. This new septic field will only cover the restroom facilities for De Graslanden Barn.

In about two weeks, we should get word back on our building permit! Our fire plans are now in the hands of a third party review team, so we have been waiting on that to come back approved! Although the process for getting the appropriate building permits has been long, we can't be more appreciate and excited for this adventure! We are so blessed to be here today on the heals of creating a beautiful space many couples and families will create lasting memories in.

On a completely different note, we plan on having a fire pit for events. Here is one I have recently come across, what does everything think of this rustic fire pit?

De Graslanden Barn...what does that name mean?

The property has a rich history, much of which we are still trying to piece together. What we do know is that the property was first settled in the early to mid 1800's. The original farm house was used as a stage coach stop for travelers between Chicago and Rockford. The farm house burned down but the barns were spared. During the years, a few different families owned the property, including some who used De Graslanden Barn for Dairy farming. One family, in the early 1900's planted many of the trees on the property- dating them to over 100 years old!

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De Graslanden was placed on the barn by one of the property owners. It's meaning (in dutch):

The Grasslands

A very appropriate name as the property around Bluestem Farm is all restored prairie. Bringing the land back to it's original glory many of the early families enjoyed. 

We have come across many news stories about the area and will continue to gather as much historical information as we can. One of our favorite news stories we have come across involves the sighting of a lochness-type beast living in Goose Lake (the lake that sits next to Bluestem Farm)!

Until next time!

Kelly & Jon

The Bridal Quarters

The Bridal Quarters

We are so excited to start our upgrades in the next few weeks but one of the areas I am most excited about is the bridal quarters! Located in the loft, this room will be used by the Bride and her ladies to complete those finishing touches before she walks down the aisle. I have a grand vision for this space, with a theme of rustic meets Victorian glam. Think chandelier lighting with faux candelabra style accent lights. Barnwood table with tufted accent bench. Worn, oval floral rug atop warm, wood plank flooring. I can't wait to complete this room. To help you see my vision, here are some of my inspiration pieces:

 Floral rug over barnwood plank flooring

Floral rug over barnwood plank flooring

 Tufted bench

Tufted bench

 Vintage inspired chandielier

Vintage inspired chandielier

 Industrial-cart accent table

Industrial-cart accent table

 Victorian styled full length mirror

Victorian styled full length mirror

 

The bridal party will have a glamorous space to relax and get ready right inside the Barn. But this room is also very practical. The location- in the Loft of the Barn- will allow the bridal party access to the room during the reception as well- for those possible wardrobe changes, make-up touches and to safely store their personal items.

Being a wedding photographer, I understand the need for a beautiful, bright, and clean space for getting ready pictures. Our brides are going to feel amazing in this room! I certainly know they are going to appreciate the gorgeous space when they get their wedding pictures back.

Have any thoughts on The Bridal Quarters? Feel free to contact me!

Until next time!

Kelly

 

*all of the pictures were taken from jossandmain.com

Permit Granted!

On Tuesday, Jan 17th McHenry County granted Bluestem Farm the permits needed to operate!

After a year of hard work, Bluestem Farm was approved during the January 17th McHenry county board meeting. That means we have been approved to hold events on our property! The next phase is construction, which will commence in just a few short weeks. 

Throughout these next months, we will continue to update our clients and the community about our progress. Our next exciting announcement will be our new logo! That will be completed soon and unveiled next week.

Until next time!

 

Learn about what we are up to in early 2017!

As we begin the new year, Bluestem Farm is gearing up to make some major changes! Follow us on our journey over the next few months as we add the following:

  • Paved Parking
  • Flooring upgrades
  • Indoor Bathrooms
  • Bridal Quarters
  • Catering space
  • Outdoor Patio
  • Lighting Upgrades

Whether you are interested in having your event at Bluestem Farm or your just curious about our construction upgrades, we welcome you to follow our journey! We will be blogging through the entire process, keeping everyone informed!