After retirement, Zack Workman wanted to focus on his art. First, he needed a workshop. He found the perfect spot in an old Sears and Roebuck barn in need of restoration. These before-and-after photos of The Barn at Greystone will amaze you.

Interview by Glory Fagan

Many of the specialized art pieces that Zack Workman produces inside the workshop in his restored, 100-year-old, Sears and Roebuck kit dairy barn at St. Joseph—The Barn at Greystone—pay homage to an earlier generation. Here, Zack created life-size silhouettes of service men and women for installation at a veterans’ home. With walls filled with memorabilia, the barn’s interior reflects a similar appreciation for family history. 

A farm boy at heart, Zack incorporated several features from the Workman homestead into the barn’s remodel. Tin used for the ceiling came from his family’s farm. A pig oiler and a kettle used to render lard and boil cracklings serve as unique decor for the century-old barn that now houses the most up-to-date manufacturing equipment. 

Following a lengthy career in a lawn-care business he founded, the former teacher, coach, and Missouri Western State University Hall of Fame football player spends his days creating computer-aided art with wood, steel, marble, and glass in a barn he restored himself.



Q | What is the history of The Barn at Greystone? 

A | The barn is a Sears and Roebuck structure built in the early ’20s along with the grain silo that sits adjacent. Those barns, like many houses, were ordered in the catalog, shipped by rail to the depot and picked up by the owner by horse or whatever the owner might have to haul such a structure. This barn, when purchased, cost $1,178 all-included except concrete. 

Q | Did you participate in the work to restore the barn? 

A | I like to be hands-on as much as possible. The overall condition was probably a 6 on a 10 scale. I did everything except the new metal roof. I used a power lift and spray gun to paint the barn. There was only one cord for powering lights, and that actually came off the neighbor’s shed. We did a 100-percent upgrade to handle all lighting, power the woodshop equipment, and to expand if needed. The challenge was to get a roof on it as soon as possible; there were a minimum of 50 buckets in the loft catching water after a major rain. The new roof was installed in November 2020. 

Q | What kind of art do you make in your workshop? 

A | I make items using a 100-watt APLaser. In addition to the laser, I have a computer-operated router that has the ability to create letters, numbers, shapes, 3D projects, and so much more. With both of those machines and other woodworking equipment on hand, anything is possible, and saying no to a personal project for a client is hard to do. 

Q | Do you welcome visitors at The Barn at Greystone? 

A | ‘The barn doors are always open.’ That seems to be what I use at the end of every Facebook post. I want it to be a place for others to come and enjoy and see the history the barn has to offer. It’s a passion to save barns for what they have given to a community over the many years. It is heartbreaking to see barns all over the countryside go into disrepair and be given no chance of being brought back to their original beauty or for the wood to be salvaged and repurposed into another life.

Explore the dazzling restoration of the Blosser House and Barn near Malta Bend.

Article originally published in the June 2023 issue of Missouri Life.