Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chapter 10 ~ Barn-do-minium

Calling Don, Emily and Joy to give them the news was so difficult. Every single one of us cried over the loss of this beloved family member. Even more difficult was the fact that Emily had already returned to college and was not with us to grieve.

The next days and weeks were quiet around our family, but as time does, it stared to fly by. The progress on the ‘Barn-do-minium’, as the contractor liked to call it, was on schedule. That word made me cringe. “Barndominium.” It conjured up images of dirty people living in a fly infested, stinky, run-down trailer. What we were building was so far from that. I was proud that I played such a huge part in its design. The barn was going to be a show palace equipped with 13 foot high ceilings draped with wrought iron fixtures, 6 12x12 foot stalls, 1 12x18 foaling stall with a turn out pen, a 12x12 wash stall a 12x12 and 12x6 storage areas along with 2 12x12 climate controlled rooms. One for laundry and a half bath, the other a feed and tack room. The center isle was a roomy 13 feet wide so if in the case of a storm; we could easily drive our vehicles inside to protect them. At either end of the isles were 2 pairs of huge sliding wooden doors that could be secured with rods down into the concrete foundation. Above the west facing set was an arched window that every evening allowed streams of sunlight to reach far into the structure. When the doors were fully opened a breeze blew making if feel cool even if the temperature was over 100. Each stall was going to be built in, nothing prefabricated! I designed electrical outlets to be placed in the ceiling above each stall for fans and winter lamps, keeping any stray cords away from curious horses. The custom cut stall bars were 2 inches thick and I was adamant that they be no more than 3 inches apart. Every day, with our dog Chrissy in tow, I inspected the work done in the barn and would quickly halt anything that was being done outside of what we had agreed upon. At the same time, the above living quarters was being built. When I toured it, the contractor would walk with me pointing out details in the kitchen or the bathroom and asking me questions. My usual response was, “What do you think?” One day he stopped dead in his tracks and said,

“Don’t take this the wrong way, but you are by far the strangest client I have ever worked with!”

I smiled and raised my eye brows as he continued. “I have built homes for people with extremely tight budgets to those who seem to have endless funds. They usually come out 2 to 3 times per week to see the progress of their homes and obviously have input as to what their preferences are. You, on the other hand, are down stairs where your horses are going to live, with a tape measure every single day monitoring every single thing being done. Up here though, where YOU will be living, other than the basic layout that we put together, you just allow me to make all the choices! I don’t understand.” He said as he removed his baseball hat and scratched his head.

It was obvious there was no malice in his questions and I liked that he felt comfortable enough with me to approach the subject.

“Well..” a chuckle came from deep within me. “All my life I have dreamt of owning, showing and breeding Saddlebred horses. Creating this barn is a huge part of that dream. I just don’t want any mistakes made that I feel like I could have prevented. As for the home, I feel like you know best. When you are done building it, I will decorate it specific to my plans, but you are the expert on the bones of its construction.”

From that moment on, he understood me and we worked in sync until the barns completion.


Maria said...

Hi, Julie! Thank you for visiting my blog today and leaving such nice comments! Your blog is my first encounter with an equine blog. I'll be sure and stop by now and then! Take care.

Renee Finberg said...

i am excited for you to have you barn.
it sound great.
and you seem to have givven this a great deal of thought.
it would be my dream to have my own barn with my baby in it.


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Christine said...

Sounds very exciting! How wonderful to have the barn finished in the future :)

Anonymous said...

Having just finished a two year building project I am sympathetic about the exchanges between contractor and owner. "You don't want that". I am so sick of hearing that phrase. What it really meant was he didn't want to depart from his familiarity. But when I write the checks it pretty much goes my way. Woman have an uphill battle with builders who discount females. Now the builder is gone but I have to live with whatever happened on the job.

Good luck to you on your house. Ann