Posts Tagged ‘horse barn’

Living in a Barn

A year ago today Boot City and I moved back into our newly renovated house. I posted quite a few photos along the way of the renovation on my social media accounts, but I never really gave barn living the credit it is due. When I tell people that we lived in our barn for 6 months, they generally assume that we have a barn apartment of sorts, which we don’t. When I say we lived in our barn, I mean we lived in a 12×14′ room with a cat and 9’ish dogs. The GC for our renovation made sure that we had a working bathroom in the house at all times because there is no bathroom at the barn.

When we had the barn built in 2012, we had the contractor leave the future feed and tack rooms unfinished. I didn’t want the typical drop ceiling room with a hideous shop door, so Boot City was going to fit both rooms out instead. The tack room was completed fairly quickly. To make the room feel larger and look better, the walls went to the ceiling, which was 14′ at the short wall. All 4 walls are constructed of 2×12″ boards. Fast forward 7 short years to the impending house renovation and the feed room was still a work in progress, but not much progress. I came up with the brilliant idea to finish out and live in that room while the house got done. It killed a few birds with one stone; I’d finally have my (future) feed room finished, we would save quite a bit of money not having to rent an RV or something to live in, and we would be on the property and near the animals.

For the 7 years it was unfinished, it had become a storage area of sorts. Mostly of construction supplies and some of Boot City’s tools. I wouldn’t actually keep feed in it long term because there were no doors to keep animals out. This is one of the only photos I found of the room pre-finish. You can see Bunny, our Italian Greyhound helping herself to some alfalfa cubes surrounded by a bunch of junk.

Bunny in the unfinished feed room, helping herself to the horse alfalfa cubes.

 

We finished it out exactly the same as we had the tack room using 2×12 boards for the walls. It’s way over the top in terms of both cost and durability, but there is peace of mind knowing the walls could probably withstand a tornado. I’d really feel safer in my barn than in my house in a bad storm.  Two of the four walls are exterior walls of the barn and were insulated by the barn builder. All we had to do on those walls was put the 2x12s against the insulation. The other two walls were built from scratch and consist of an inside AND and outside of 2x12s and are insulated with spray foam insulation.

The first go at the spray foam insulation didn’t go very well.

There was spray foam insulation left from when we had finished the tack room. We had stored it in the tack room so it was in a temperature controlled environment, but I don’t think it was meant to be stored that long. Needless to say it was messy and Boot City was NOT happy! It looked like a spray foam insulation bomb had bone off. We are STILL scraping insulation off of portions of the concrete floor.

 

Here is a look at the boards going on the walls. The boards are “dropped” into steel U channel. It’s a fairly simple process except that 2×12 boards are really heavy and the last couple boards are a very tight fit so are difficult to install. But it sure looks good!

The infamous 14′ ladder. Who knew it would make TWO appearance on the blog in just a few days!

 

The feed room also has a sink and stainless counter, so we at least had some plumbing in our barn room. The exterior wall where the water heater is will share the hot water with the wash rack that will eventually exist on the barn porch. We put the water heater extra high up because no one wants to look at it and we may as well take advantage of some of that space!

This is a shot of the sink corner when the room was about 92% completed. The water heater is installed and the hole for the air conditioner is prepped. We didn’t actually install the AC until about April because we didn’t need it. The heater is separate and is lower on the wall. You can also see the difference between the old boards that had been installed on the wall quite a long time before the room got completed.

You can see that the ceiling is also 2x12s. Boot City really loves me and I do have the prettiest barn in the whole world.

 

This is the entrance door that goes into the barn aisle. Every horse girl dreams of waking up and walking out the door to see her horses. It really was an amazing experience to get to know the nuances of how they live in the barn for 6 months. I’m pretty certain they were ready for us to move back to the house, though.

Tall, pretty walls. The windows in the door make a big difference in not making the room feel claustrophobic.

 

Last, but not least, this is the view of the outside. More or less from the same perspective as the first photo. I don’t know that we’d do this exact design again with the 2x12s, but I really do love how it looks. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, which I also enjoy. Sometime later I’ll post more photos of the tack room. Boot City fabricated all the saddle and bridle hooks from steel. He also recently fabricated a steel tool holder that now hangs on this beautiful wall.

So. Much. Pine.

Boot City gets his Weld on

Most husbands are somewhat handy at wood working. Mine is decidedly not very handy at wood working; his speciality is working with metal. Therefore many structures that would be made of wood at a wood worker’s home are made of metal at our home. This makes for some VERY heavy duty bridle racks and saddle racks that you could hang a sofa from. Most recently Boot City stepped up to make a stall run for the “bed-ridden” Coco Chanel during her 6 week layup.

We had planned to have stall runs on all four stalls on the “new” barn from the get-go, but time and funding are not always readily available so nothing happened until there was an express NEED for a stall run. We did a great deal of internet research about design; how far apart should the pipes be, how far off the ground should the lowest rung measure, how heavy duty do the pipes need to be and all kinds of safety and convenience research.

Human nature is to repeat what we know worked in the past. My parents had runs off the stalls on their barn in Montana so that was the basis for our design. We altered it slightly by putting fewer pipes and having the bottom rung further off the ground to prevent trapping legs. We beefed up the size of the frame pipes and opted for 1 1/2″ sucker rod for the bottom 3 rows. This is the finished product plus horse.

Coco outside in her run on the first night it was open for business.

Coco outside in her run on the first night it was open for business.

Boot City is all about building things to be very sturdy. This time around he put posts in the ground at least every 8 feet and in the case of invasive tree roots he put them even closer so as to not have to harm the roots.The closer the poles in the ground are to one another the sturdier they are because there is less room between bracing for the horizontal pipes.

Poles in the ground. I promise that all of them are nearly perfectly straight. Boot City doesn't mess around.

Poles in the ground. I promise that all of them are nearly perfectly straight. Boot City doesn’t mess around.

The whole project took about three weeks from start to finish. I really and truly thought it could be done in a couple days, but that was unrealistic wishful thinking. The concrete had to set for the poles in the ground to be sturdy enough to weld on and the measuring and levelling is extremely tedious work. Boot City finished the fencing late on a Wednesday night and Coco will be forever grateful.  The plan is to complete her neighbor’s stall run in the coming months, but emphasis is now on putting in a property gate, updating fencing by the house and finished the “nursery” AKA the paddock fencing for Coco and her new foal come March.

Late night welding

Late night welding

Horse Blanket Storage

The main reason I initially joined Pinterest was to save links to photos of horse barns and layout ideas for the feed room and tack room. I’ve gotten some good ideas from my Pinterest stalking, but never any that met my needs for horse blanket storage. So I came up with my very own idea and am posting it on my blog so OTHER people can be inspired by my blanket organization idea. As with any organization project it is of course a work in progress.

A few months ago I went through all of my horse blankets and made a list of them in my horse planner (yes, I keep paper planners still) by size. This is similar to my horse planner. Mine is the next larger size, but isn’t currently available on the website. I listed what I have and what I need to add to my collection.

The horse planner blanket inventory pages

The horse planner blanket inventory pages

I had already put the different sizes in these large, clear trunks that some friends gave us. I love them because they are see through so I can at least get an idea of what is in each trunk.

The blanket trunks before the re-org.

The blanket trunks before the re-org.

Most things I read about organizing horse blankets had them sorted by season, which I get, but doesn’t really work for me. I only have three horses and to me it made more sense to sort by size. I have a pretty good idea what I have for each season, I have more trouble figuring out the right size for each horse. I prefer to be able to quickly find the right size and determine if I have what I need. The sizes I have the most blankets in are 75, 76, 78 and 80 so each trunk got a poster that indicates which size is in the trunk and what blankets and sheets I have in that size. And since the trunks are see-through I can easily read the outside and know if I have what I need. If I don’t have what I need, I have an excuse to go horse shopping. Yay!

All of the blankets are thoroughly washed and inspected for tears before storing. If my collection gets much bigger I’ll buy the vacuum bags from Container Store to save space. I added the lovely clip art to the posters to add ambience to my tack room.

Labeled horse blanket trunks.

Labeled horse blanket trunks.

I’m pretty excited how neat and tidy my tack room is now. I also took the time to move my Gladiator armoire from our old dilapidated barn into the new tack room to use for additional storage. The more stuff I can get off the ground and into it’s place the happier I am.

South side view of the tack room.

South side view of the tack room.

You’ll probably notice that I also have a Snap-on tool chest, too. When married to a mechanic you take what you can get and I don’t think it’s that terrible to have a $2,600 tool chest to store leg wraps and horse brushes!

At some point I’ll do a retro post and put up the pics of when we built the barn. I LOVE my barn. LOVE IT. Having the right space to store horses and their paraphernalia has made my time so much more efficient and enjoyable at the barn.