Earlier this spring, I was privileged to attend the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park with my colleague/brother-in-law, John Sease. This horse show is one of the most prestigious international equestrian events in the sport of three-day eventing. Eventing is akin to an equestrian triathlon where horses and riders compete as a team in three phases: dressage tests suppleness and harmony, cross country tests endurance and strength, and show jumping tests agility… and determination. It is a grueling sport, and the horses (and riders) are extraordinary examples of grace, power and personality. I was enthralled to watch the best in the world practice their craft with elegance and intense focus. As a lifelong horse person, I can think of no better way to spend a weekend than watching horses, and I left with a renewed commitment to better riding, better horse care and more attention to detail.
As a designer, the inspiration that I found in Kentucky translates easily into ideas of construction and material. We saw many beautiful examples of working barns, rock walls and miles of board fences on our trip. Horses are intuitive, sensitive and beautiful, BUT they are also flighty and powerful. The houses that we build for them must be as strong and graceful as they – horses are safer when their barns and fences are stronger. This is an invitation for solid materials such as timber, brick and stone. For me, this is a language of love – a material language of authenticity and commitment to the future.
As I stood in my barn aisle this morning enjoying morning light and the sound of the ponies munching hay, I was reminded of my inspiration in Kentucky. My barn and house are one in the same with front door opening to barn aisle. Bobby McAlpine speaks of barns as churches, and for me, they are a combination of church and home – places of both reverence and comfort. The horses that competed on the international stage in Kentucky are surely used to cathedrals while others might find themselves housed in small chapels. Either way, in these barn-churches, the spaces and materials build a graceful language tempered by the ruggedness and strength required.
We hope you enjoy the following images of some of our barns, completed and on paper, and a few shots of my own barn and house.
A multi-purpose barn in Nashville, Tennessee.
A classically-inspired barn and implement shed outside Memphis, Tennessee.
Our design for a multi-purpose barn, stable, farm storage building accommodating entertaining areas and guest and staff quarters above.
Interior rendering of the building.
Lida and her ponies.
Lida’s house-barn combination in rural Alabama.
Equestrian accoutrement in the breezeway.
Taking a rest in the shade outside the horse stalls.
Horses need windows too.
The equine theme continues inside.
John and Lida. See us for all your barn, farm and stable needs.
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