Middleburg Life for December 2013

Page 35


December 2013

M i d d l e b u r g

L i f e



All’s Well Farm: A Study in Equine Design ing capabilities, tack room and office with guest space above the tack room. Exterior Dutch doors and a continuous vented ridge skylight, along with vented eaves and a 10:12 roof slope, would allow the barn to breathe by pulling air coming in low and venting out high. Sited perpendicular to the prevailing southwest summer breeze, the barn also was constructed parallel to the entry road. In this respect, when driving onto the property, the arena is purposely not visible, dropping several feet down the hill behind the barn and per–John Blackburn pendicular to it. This helped conceal the arena because of its length. This arrangement works In creating All’s Well Farm for Jackie and perfectly for a dressage arena where the obserEric Stromquist and their young daughter in vation area is typically located along its narrow the Middleburg area, among the objectives was end—the first judge’s position in competition. to incorporate design elements of their New On the main road, to ensure additional privacy, England roots along with their new home in the barn itself isn’t even visible, with passersby aware only of a slight rise and fall of the land. Virginia. Located on 88 acres amid gently rolling In meeting the client’s desire to meld hills and charming country roads, the project something of the wife’s deep New England roots took shape on a largely empty parcel of land. with Virginia horse country vernacular, the Interestingly, things came full circle when Keith connecting link between barn and arena is done LeBlanc Landscape Architecture of Boston con- in wood cedar shingles. The rest of the barn and nected Blackburn Architects with the client. arena are designed with horizontal Hardiplank I had worked with LeBlanc in the early 1980s siding. Actually, the decision to use both styles on Heronwood Farm in Upperville—our very worked well aesthetically; using one or the first project—when he was part of Morgan other all the way through would have resulted Wheelock’s firm. For All’s Well Farm, LeBlanc in a monotonous exterior. focused on the residence and gardens and our In the arena, control-operated roll-up doors facilitate the indoor/outdoor space easily work was on siting and barn design. Except for an older residence whose reno- transitioning from winter to summer and framvation fell largely to a Boston-area interior ing the countryside view in milder months. A design firm, Cebula Design, the site represented 5-foot rail allows the rider to see out but keeps a clean canvas. Designed for a dressage-focused the horse’s proverbial nose to the grindstone. At owner, the eight-stall barn was to include two All’s Well Farm, there is also an arena skylight larger foaling stalls, an approximately 65-by- for maximum light during colder seasons when 200-foot indoor/outdoor arena plus a separate the structure doors are closed, though doors are Septarena, Middleburg Life Ad_Layout 1 8/28/13 10:44made PM Page 1 to catch year-round natural light. of glass open observation room with entertain-

“The health of the horse can be affected by every aspect of the farm from the layout of the roads and paddocks down to the selection and placement of the buckets in the stall.”

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A 2 0 1 3 L O U D O U N D E S T I N AT I O N R E S TA U R A N T

To cultivate and further develop Eric Stromquist’s interest in astronomy, an observatory was built on the property for a highly sophisticated telescope that had been presented as a retirement gift. The mandate was for a specially designed foundation to help eliminate vibrations Photo courtesy of Blackburn Architects

Working with Cebula Design, which selected the interior finishes, the double-height observation room was done in reclaimed river-dredged yellow pine with Douglas fir posts. The roof was designed to utilize solar panels for selfsufficient energy and to collect rainwater for recycling when the client is ready for additional installation. Large dormers appear at the cross-aisle and the connecting link, the latter providing a view into the loft. Another dormer channels light into the observation area. Though Jackie and her and daughter did most of the riding, Eric also was learning to ride. To help cultivate and further develop his interest in astronomy, we also were asked

to build an observatory on the property for a highly sophisticated telescope that had been presented as a retirement gift. Our mandate was for a specially designed foundation to help eliminate vibrations. Located out in the country, the telescope and its housing provided an unobstructed view of the night sky free of light pollution. The barn at All’s Well Farm is the ideal structure for Jackie Stromquist and her daughter who love to ride and also for Eric Stromquist, a determined student. It evokes elements of their former New England environs and their adopted Virginia home. This article is an excerpt from the book, ”Healthy Stables By Design,” by John Blackburn with Beth Herman.