Considering how many horse properties there are in Rancho Santa Fe, I thought this was a fun article.
What do you do when you find yourself envying your horses? You go out and get a barn of your own.
That’s not as hard as it sounds, provided you can pay the price.
In 2011, when Lori Bruno and her husband, Leonard, moved out of their modern glass-and-concrete house in Philadelphia after the last of their four children left home, and began living full time on their 45-acre farm in Nockamixon, Pa., they found themselves in exactly that situation.
Ms. Bruno, a 53-year-old interior designer, grew up in an old carriage house in Philadelphia, and she and her sisters used to play in the basement that once served as the building’s stables, so it wasn’t all that strange that she felt more at home in the 1810 barn where the couple kept their five horses than she did in their cramped farmhouse. But even her husband, a 70-year-old neurosurgeon, preferred the barn. As he put it, “I’m a cowboy.”
Fortunately for the Brunos, there are now professionals who specialize in solving this sort of problem. Daniel Castelblanco, the owner of a company that reclaims old barns for residential use — hence its name, Reclaimed — found them an 1860 dairy barn in Lancaster County that was about to be demolished.
“We bought the skeleton, three of the four bays,” Ms. Bruno said, for about $9,000. “Daniel dismantled it, tagged it, moved it, power-washed it, treated it with a preservative and reassembled it exactly as it was.” He also dug a new foundation on their farm, replicated the original wooden pegs that held the wood together and built a hallway connecting the small farmhouse (now used as a guesthouse) to the reclaimed barn.
Altogether, it cost about $850,000. Of course, that figure doesn’t include the interior design. Once that was done, they had spent about $1.5 million. But it helped that Ms. Bruno and her husband own three Ligne Roset showrooms (two in Manhattan and one in Miami), where they got most of the furniture at a discount. For the kitchen cabinetry, she chose Poggenpohl; the bathroom fixtures are Boffi.
The windows in the 5,000-square-foot barn are as large as possible — some of them 12 feet tall — so there is lots of light, along with plenty of views of the horses grazing in the pasture.
“I wanted an uncluttered, broad scale,” Ms. Bruno said of the open-plan space. The only enclosed rooms are the bedroom and pantry on the first floor, both of which have massive, sliding barn doors.
For the interior walls and doors, she used old barn floorboards, leaving them rough. Some have holes from knots in the wood or where poles were inserted for structure, and most of those holes remain, even the ones as big as five inches in diameter. So there’s little need to hang art.
On the second floor is a home office that the couple share and a studio where Ms. Bruno makes abstract paintings. The floors are antique boards sanded and finished in matte polyurethane — a more refined finish than that of the downstairs floors, which are poured concrete (albeit with radiant heat underneath).
And there is one final detail to convince the residents that they are finally living just like the horses: The second-floor balcony is surrounded by the same wood-framed wire fencing that encloses the riding arena and the pastures outside. It’s a multipurpose material, Ms. Bruno explained.
“Horses can’t climb it,” she said, and “the grandchildren can’t fall through.”
-Courtesy of The New York Times