Barn From A Dream.
Written by Bridget Williams / Photography by Shelby Bourne
When Cara and Tom Fox of The Fox Group decided to remodel the generic shed on their property into a 3,000-square-foot horse barn to house their family's beloved thoroughbred horses, they pulled inspiration from Cara's travels abroad. Trips to England's Blenheim Palace – the birthplace of Winston Churchill – and The National Gallery informed many aesthetic decisions that differentiate The Fox's unique, luxurious barn from more traditional barns throughout their home state of Utah. By thoughtfully repurposing the existing structure and incorporating details such as checkered flooring, chandeliers, and European stalls, The Fox Group created an elegant, airy, one-of-a-kind horse barn that doubles as a prominent design highlight on the property.
The structure, which was built in the 1940s, required The Fox Group to reframe the interior completely and level the floors. Its size is approximately half a standard barn, yet the clever design provides ample room for each horse and their accompanying equipment. Tearing out the existing 12-foot ceilings exposed a dramatic vault, which enhances a feeling of spaciousness. White planking installed throughout further amplifies openness and verticality. The Fox Group inlaid a gray and black checkerboard pattern floor in place of the generic black rubber flooring predominant in most stables.
Essential to the barn's design are custom horse stalls, inspired by those at Blenheim Palace and not found elsewhere in the state. Tom and Cara maximized the small floor plan through bespoke stalls, creating individual spaces for each horse (including one sized explicitly for their miniature horse), and outfitted each with an automatic water system. Beyond the remarkable functionality, powder-coated white wood and brass detailing in each stall reflect the airy, European aesthetic within the rest of the barn.
Several unique decorative elements artfully implemented throughout the space enhance the barn's elevated style. Bridles hang on brass horseshoes adorning the walls while delicate glass-free chandeliers from Visual Comfort balance beauty with practicality. Bringing the project full circle in terms of its European inspiration, George Stubbs' Whistlejacket painting hangs at one end of the barn, a meaningful memento Cara discovered at The National Gallery during a high school trip to Europe. Through attention to detail and clever use of materials, The Fox Group transformed a small shed into a highly functional and elegant barn that's a delight for both horses and their owners.