Silo Bed and Breakfast

Dawn Bradford (second from right) talks about her Beckwith Road grain silo B&B off at its grand opening recently. JASON GOOLESBY

A Mt Juliet couple has opened a uniquely shaped bed and breakfast to Wilson County. 

Jim and Dawn Bradford recently celebrated the grand opening of Turner’s Silo — a converted grain silo that is only the second silo in Tennessee listed on Airbnb and one of only 10 in the country listed on the popular rent-by-owner website.

“We built our first B&B last year,” Jim said. “We took an old storage shed and re-vamped it to look like a small cabin. It did so well and I thought we could do another one.”

Turner’s Silo is named in tribute to its previous owner — Jim’s father, Turner Bradford — who passed away two years ago. Turner Bradford worked for 35 years at Rudy’s Farm and was also a hobbyist farmer himself.

“My dad had two grain silos on his property, and I had an idea of bringing it down to this site and building it out,” Jim said. 

It was a daunting task to move the silo “down the holler and through the woods” to the site where it now awaits lodgers on the Bradfords’ Beckwith Road farm.

“I built the floor out of 6x6s 20 feet long. Then I cut the bolts from the concrete pad it was on,” he said. They moved the silo onto the floor he had built, essentially using it as a skid, and pulled it with a tractor. “It took the hills and bumps no problem. It took us less than an hour once we started moving it,” Jim said.

As a cabinet maker and woodworker, Jim is no stranger to making things with his hands. However, building the interior of the silo presented a new challenge to the seasoned craftsman.

“Building round is very difficult,” he said.  “It’s a lot of figuring stuff out prior to doing it. It took me and my brother-in-law four hours to put up three boards. Once we figured it out, we got the rest of it done in like 12 hours. Building round, it’s hard.”

Dawn said there’s one particular reason she has enjoyed the Airbnb business so far.

“It is allowing people to come somewhere that’s personal,” she said. “It's not just a hotel or motel. That was my main thing — to give rest to the weary traveler — and we’ve done that on several occasions (with the first building),” she says. 

She said that some guests have enjoyed seeing the turkey, deer, and squirrels that visit the property.

Dawn said that the interior ceiling is 24 feet high and the silo lodge is 400 square feet of living space split over two levels. That includes one queen-size bed, a large couch, a full bathroom and a kitchenette that includes a refrigerator and microwave oven. She said she also puts chocolate by the bed every night for guests.

Even though they opened at the beginning of the quarantine (Dawn said the first guest arrived March 14 and that most guests stay one or two nights), Dawn said she follows the cleaning standards set by Airbnb.

“I don’t set foot in there to clean until 24 hours after a guest has left,” she said. “I go in there with three sets of gloves and mask — disinfect everything that anyone could have possibly touched. Quite frankly, I'd eat off anything in there when I’m done with it.”

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