By Hannah Warne
Long gone are the days of bright red barns with rustic, dark, wooden interiors. Today’s designs are instead reimagining both barn interiors and architecture to create something totally new. Two of Douglas Elliman’s premiere equestrian property agents based in Wellington, Florida—an epicenter of the international equestrian community—weigh in on emerging barn architecture trends.
OPEN, AIRY SPACES
Unlike traditional barns that usually feature dark wood and low ceilings, new barn design instead prioritizes natural light. Fewer haylofts, taller ceilings, and the addition of impact windows and skylights are now the preferred design style, said Maria Mendelsohn. “It’s all about light, bright, and airy spaces with good airflow and ventilation,” she said. “A lot of people are even starting to use clear exterior shutters, so there’s light even when they’re closed.”
Martha Jolicoeur has noticed similar trends. “Arched and peaked ceilings are becoming more popular because they allow for more light. This creates a bright and airy space that’s more visually appealing—but also practical.”
This openness also extends to the stalls. When you enter a modern barn, the stalls are often so open that you can see every horse from the entry. Stalls that allow the horses to look out in both directions are also becoming increasingly popular. That way, both horses and humans can enjoy a more open, airy barn.
AN EMPHASIS ON ORGANIZATION
Historically, equipment in barns has been stored in the aisleways and wherever there was room, which led to a messy and cluttered space. Today’s barns, however, are thinking through more practical storage options that allow for added organization and efficiency.
Instead of multipurpose storage rooms, each room now has a specific function. Laundry rooms, feed rooms, office spaces, and tack rooms are becoming separate areas—instead of all rolled into one. “Dedicated client locker rooms or cabinets also help to elevate the entire experience for everyone,” Mendelsohn added.
“Above all, you want a barn to be horse-friendly,” said Jolicoeur. Many of the emerging trends aren’t just aesthetic decisions, but practical ones to increase the horses’ comfort. Extra-wide aisles allow the horses to more easily pass, and added details like a non-slip finish help ensure the horses’ safety.
While the open stalls help create an airy feel in the barn, they also allow the horses to be more social. “With larger, open stalls, the horses can see each other and interact. It makes their lives better,” said Mendelsohn.