Saguenay man has barn walls stolen. Are design trends to blame?

When Claude Villeneuve discovered that someone had stolen the walls of his barn, he couldn't help but laugh. But reclaimed wood is in high demand thanks to recent interior design trends.

Barn wood has become a hot commodity in the Saguenay

Claude Villeneuve had barn two barn walls stolen earlier this week. (Radio-Canada)

Like many in the Saguenay region, Claude Villeneuve emerged after Wednesday's hail storm to see what damage had been wreaked. 

Golf-ball sized chunks of ice dented cars and broke windows throughout the area. But Villeneuve was hoping his farm had escaped serious damage.

As he and his wife approached their wooden barn, they realized, though, that they were the victims of something else entirely.

Someone had stolen two of the barn's walls. 

"I started to, like, laugh," Villeneuve told Radio-Canada. "But my wife, she said 'We've had two walls stolen. That can't be.'" 

Barn-wood shortage

This undated image released by R & R Designworks shows how designer Sarah Reiss sources reclaimed wood to make custom wall art. (AP Photo/R & R Designworks )

The planks of wooden barns have become a hot commodity in the antique and craft markets. Design magazines and websites are replete with suggestions about how to put reclaimed wood to good use, from headboards to tables to backsplash.

Barn wood can sell for as much as $11 per square foot in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area. 

"Barn wood is really trendy," said Caroline Leclerc, owner of Rose Bon Bon, an interior design store in the Saguenay. 

"It really adds life to decorations. But it's very difficult to find barn wood."

Villeneuve estimates the thieves made off with about $2,000 worth of wood. 

He said he's been approached several times by prospective buyers interested in the planks that compose the sides his barn.

He had always rebuffed them, given that his farm still makes used of the barn to store hay. But now Villeneuve is considering taking down what remains of the barn to salvage the wood.

"At least they left me one wall," he said, laughing.