Advantages & Disadvantages of Combined Barn & Residential Space

For many families who love their horses and want to be near them, there is nothing more practical than having a combined horse barn and residence. And, while it may sound unusual to many non-horse people, it is actually an arrangement that has been around since ancient times when people discovered that the heat of animals helped to warm the space for humans.

Later on in an 1839 edition of An Encyclopedia of Cottage, Farm, and Villa Architecture and Furniture, historians show that house barns were further developed in western Europe, Scandinavia and the British Isles.  However, when people began immigrating to America, they typically built separate buildings for living and livestock. Albeit, the house barn was still seen in some regions of New England, and today there are a number of house barns on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, many horse lovers and trainers are opting for homes that combine space for the family with space for their horses. And, while it may seem unusual to non-horse people, it is truly a viable design with both advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Combined Barn and Residential Space

The Advantages

  • Being close to your horses gives you peace of mind. You are able to care for them much easier, whether it is the daily care of them or being closer to your horses when they are sick or near the time of delivery.
  • The “commute” to going riding is non-existent.
  • By building a house and barn together, you can save money. Having just one building is labor efficient as you can build both at once rather than having 2 different structures designed and constructed.
  • There is just something special about knowing your animals are close by.
  • If you are looking for a way to stand out from the other horse trainers/owners in your area then a combined barn and residential space is the perfect solution.
  • You can set up a variety of monitoring devices – two way mirrors, recording devices, etc. and watch the horses without being in the barn.
  • Makes management much easier when planning training, cleaning, etc.

The Disadvantages

  • They have a limited resale value as not everyone is interested in the housing arrangement.
  • It can be harder to get a loan for a house barn building plan.
  • Banks are less likely to accept a house barn as collateral.
  • They are more expensive to insure because they are typically treated more like a barn rather than a house. When the insurance is obtained, it often comes with specific restrictions and requirements.
  • The house portion has the potential to get unwanted pests that are common to barn areas. However, by keeping good management practices this is overcome and you are no more at risk than someone with a home and barn on a small amount of acreage.

Should you decide to have a combined house and barn arrangement, it is important that you be well-prepared. Take time to check on local zoning rules, talk to your area fire department, spend some time talking to your insurance agent to learn what is covered, and be sure to do extensive planning.

At Stein Equestrian, we would love to help you realize your dream of a horse barn and house combined space. We can answer your questions and help you determine what type of house barn design will work for your property. To get started on your new living space, give us a call today.