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A Little Girl’s Dream Comes True


2012/12/04









By Nancy Brannon

Connie Lester has “been planning my own barn for 47 years,” she said, and in the fall of 2012 that dream came true. Thanks to builder Jesse Freyaldenhoven, Rustic Construction, Brighton, TN and designer Carson Looney of Looney, Ricks, Kiss, Nashville, TN also the architect for her home, Connie has her dream barn, home, and horses all on the same property, on south Collierville-Arlington Road near Collierville, Tennessee. Connie had the ideas and Jesse helped bring them to reality. “I wanted a barn builder who had horses,” Connie said. Jesse has horses and his wife does barrel racing

As with many building projects, going through the political hoops is part of the process. Because of the terrain, it was more practicable to put the barn closer to the road and in front of the house, which sits farther back off the road. Code “requires” that the house be in front of the barn, so Lester had to obtain a variance to put the barn in front of the house. To most horse people, putting the barn in front of the house would be a “no brainer.”

The barn is 40’ X 48’ including a lean-to, with a 16 foot aisle. Flooring in the barn aisle is washed black limestone. Cross-ties in the barn aisle are Clinton Anderson style tie rings, for safety.

The barn has high ceilings for cooling in the hot weather and is open at the eaves for air flow without a draft. A working cupola on the top the barn assists in dispersing the heat, as do commercial grade ceiling fans. The fans are tethered, so if there is a break, which rarely happens, they won’t fall into the stalls. There are triple windows on front and back of the barn to allow in plenty of light. Windows on the front and sides of the barn look as good open as they do closed; Jesse designed them that way.

The stalls are Prefiert pre-fab stall fronts (see www.priefert.com) with 6” tongue and groove pine. Jesse built the stalls walls double-wide and installed the boards with screws for durability. The barn wood is 1 ½” thick poplar, milled in Paris, TN.

The roomy stalls are 12’ X 12’ and doors on both the front and back of each stall allow for cross ventilation, and access to both the barn aisle and paddocks behind the barn. With the main barn doors on front and back open, there is plenty of cross ventilation to make horses comfortable in the hot summers.

The barn includes some interesting recycled elements. A red door that opens into the tack room was the front door at a house in the University of Memphis area. The 598 on the door reveals its former address: 598 Brister. The metal siding in the wash rack is from an old barn that was already on the property (now torn down). There are several places in the interior of the barn that are lined with reclaimed wood from Green Family Materials on Macon Road in Cordova, TN (see www.reclaimingthepast.com/).

Fencing for the paddocks and pasture is Electrobraid fencing (see www.electrobraid.com), which is flexible, safe, and keeps horses in the field and off the fence. With about 10,000 volts on the top and bottom strands, the middle strand is the ground, horses stay off the fence! There are 8-foot grounding rods interspersed along the fence line. The wiring for the fence and barn lights are connected to the horse, so they can be turned off or on from the house without going all the way to the barn.

Connie is so thrilled to finally have her home and her horses’ home in the same place. And there are plenty of places for trail riding nearby, as the Wolf River greenway and trail system is just next door! She waited a long time to realize her childhood dream, and now she can look out the windows of her house and enjoy the view of her horses happily grazing on her land.

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