A Rustic-Glam Hobby Barn Oasis in Brentwood – Hidden Acres’s New Property Barn was a Pandemic-born Project from RSU Contractors Owner Mark Williams
Article by Delia Jo Ramsey
Photography by Solomon Davis
Originally published in Brentwood Lifestyle
A lot of people took on new hobbies during their long months of sheltering at home. For Mark Williams, owner of RSU Contractors, his pandemic-born project went a little further than banana bread, gardening, and exercise, however. This new hobby barn on their 9-acre farm “Hidden Acres” is a rustic-glam sight to behold, and it also welcomed the reception following Mark and Theresa’s daughter’s wedding this summer.
When I first met the incredible husband-and-wife duo for a tour of this epic hobby barn, I was quick to ask about the animals I spotted in the field beside the barn. One was a pig delighting in rolling in the mud amid the blazing summer sun. We deviated so I could go and meet them. Two friendly family pet pigs stumbled over to bask in the attention: Weasie and Iggy-Pig, while Willie-Goat was also eager for an ear scratch. An older sheep, Clarise plus Daisy-May and Elsie-May also help set the scene and induce smiles at Hidden Acres. “Happy as a pig in mud”. Indeed.
Making it feel comfortable is no surprise, as this isn’t their first time doing something like this. Mark’s RSU team has been handling big projects since 1982, including room additions, basements, attics and whole-house remodels. But obviously, this project was much closer to home. He said he drew inspiration for the new barn from past projects like Mint Spring Farms and other outdoor projects using rough lumber that motivated the overall look and feel of the space.
Mark shared that both his grandfather and his uncle were farmers and he spent a lot of childhood summers at his Uncle Ed’s farm.
Mark also added that there is still an old barn on the property that was built in the 1890’s, but that time has taken its toll on this barn.
In the space where the new barn stands, a previous barn had burned down.
“The first barn was similar in layout and it was about 85% complete when it was struck by lightning. It was a total loss except for some of the utility work. I did learn a lot and made some incremental improvements that made this barn even better,” explains Mark.
“One thing I learned from the first barn that burned was how to make the sliding barn doors better. With this barn, I made these large custom doors that allow us to open up the space for ventilation and I can easily bring in an RV.”
There’s also room for a tractor — namely, a small toy tractor I had to ask about. “Someone told me ‘Every barn should have a tractor’ so I put that right there,” laughs Mark.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to undertake a similar space? “I made the footprint bigger than what I currently need so I have options. I could add horse stalls, have room to park an RV or a tractor and room to play or work on a project. So the best advice is to make sure you have enough space.”
What’s the secret to having a successful business for 40 years? What advice would you give to someone just beginning their career? “I had a simple philosophy “Quality work is the key to Success” with a service business you have to deliver consistent quality and then you will get the R & R which is repeated business and referrals. In business, there are really two ways in which you can compete and set yourself apart. Either do things better than the competition or do things different like finding your niche. If you can do both then you have an opportunity for a really successful business,” explains Mark.