The Birth of the Barn Sales

Once there was a barn full to the rafters with a lifetime of “stuff”. After a team of girlfriends, some bolt cutters, and a bottle of wine one night, the first version of Rustic Romance at Bayer Farm was born. Today, it’s evolved into a unique vintage shopping experience with a flair for romantic farmhouse style.

Cindy Bayer came into possession of a barn full of mysterious stuff by chance. She didn’t know what was in it before she broke the lock, but before setting eyes on the barn’s contents, she was sure of one thing: the barn was now hers, and she would have to deal with whatever she found inside. “I never set out to conduct barn sales; my intention was to cleanup my farm and return to Chicago to care for my parents after my bitter divorce.”

When she and her best friend cut the lock off the barn one night, they discovered it was so full that things came tumbling out as soon as the doors opened! “They had no idea how to clean up everything left behind, so they opened a bottle of wine and had a good cry! It quickly became apparent that the only way to tackle the behemoth pile of who-knew-what was to “eat the elephant one bite at a time”.

Cindy started to notice that whatever she piled on the curb each morning would get picked up quickly. And then she started seeing pickers selling her barn items on Facebook! After a practice run helping a friend clean out her mother’s home and sell the contents, Cindy felt like she was ready to make that same strategy work for her. And thus, the Barn Sales were born.

The History of the Barn

The land that Bayer Farm now sits on was originally established in 1850 as a dairy farm. Before purchasing the farm in 1997, Cindy and her family rented a house up the street. “I needed more space for my three growing boys who love to hunt, fish, ride horses, and play in the woods.” While Cindy herself is not a exactly a farmer (unless you count the cultivation of a romantic farmhouse aesthetic), she has two tenant farmers on the property. One raises goats and the other organic veggies.


Bayer Farm now sprouts design ideas and inspiration


The Fun of New Inventory

New pieces arrive at Bayer Farm all the time from many sources. Most of Cindy’s inventory comes from other antique dealers, markets, wholesalers, barn picks, estate sales, and word-of-mouth referrals. Wherever the item originated, you can bet that it’s a stylish and unique piece true to Cindy’s vision.

But wherever an item might be, whether she’s going picking with her husband or making a house call, Cindy heads into every pick excited. She’s no stranger to the games of wheeling and dealing in the business of vintage decor: “I’ve learned enough to know when I should walk away, and when I should make the deal.” But when she makes a good deal, she always passes it on to her customers.

She’s also a master of suspense. While all of the Barn Sales are advertised on Facebook, once she starts listing items in a barn sale event post–nothing is available until the barn doors open. This not only adds a sense of excitement and drama to the barn sales, but it ensures that no one can buy that special treasure until the barn doors open. All is fair in love and barn sales, except selling out of something before the doors open to all.

Rentals & Custom Work

Cindy has a small collection of truly gorgeous, large architectural salvage pieces that are simply too perfect to let go. For these she offers limited rentals exclusively for weddings. Fancy a delightful vintage doorway for your wedding? Cindy’s got it.

Cindy also offers custom work specifically for wedding decor. To put these together, she collaborates with the client to get a sense of their style, the theme and layout of the event, and what their vision is. She can also provide salvage and decor items at scale where possible. See something that fits your vision for your special day? Maybe it’s a match!

Interested in Cindy’s style for your next project?