In mid-May of last year, I posted a blog about how I was preparing to sell my beloved Barndominium. I built it before my awesome husband Alan was in my life. It was my oasis in a terrible storm that began when I filed for divorce. Honestly, the storm was brewing before I filed, but that’s another story…
After nearly 4 decades of marriage, I was launching on my own with 2 horses and 4 dogs. It was imperative to me that I not be separated from my animals. I would not consider placing my dogs elsewhere as I sought a place to land until I figured things out.
The Carriage House
Two months before my divorce was final, I moved out of the home I had shared with my ex. My destination was a “carriage house”… an apartment above a barn. It was quite a distance from the area where I worshipped and shopped and had all of my needs met. But it was only going to be for a few months, right? Not right…
The dogs were with me in the carriage house, and the horses were on the property as well. But my landlords turned out to be lunatics. Before I moved in, they started to renege on their commitment. I had no other options for me and all of my animals, so I moved in anyway, in mid-September.
Within a couple of months, I knew I couldn’t stay much longer. As much as it killed me, I had to move my horses to a 10-acre pasture about 10 minutes from where I ended up living with the dogs… in my LQ trailer! The horses had no shelter. They had plenty to eat, and a hollow where they could get out of the wind, but no shelter. We had a very mild winter that year, but it still devastated me that my horses couldn’t get out of precipitation.
Life in the LQ
I was extremely fortunate that Kansas experienced a mild winter that year, as my LQ is not really a “four seasons” trailer. I found a spot to spend the winter that was close to my “stomping grounds” as well as the horses. Four dogs lived with me in that no-slideout LQ. Clooney, the Pyrenees/Akita mix (100 pounds), and Moose, the black Lab (90 pounds) took up more than their fair share of space. Reilly and Leah, my two Border collies, were a more manageable size. Clooney occupied the entire bathroom floor, and Moose and Leah lived in the gooseneck whenever we were in the trailer. Reilly, in theory, had half of the 6-foot couch, but her assessment of “half” differed from mine…
It was a good start to the day if I awoke to running water. I didn’t have hot water, but if I turned off the electric heat I could use the microwave to heat water to prepare dog food. Most of my needs were addressed in the adjacent shower house.
Starting the Barndominium
My assessment of when the building would commence (or be completed!) turned out to be way, way off. The mild winter made camping more pleasant but interfered with starting the house. It was too wet to get started. Furthermore, Spring in Kansas is notoriously rainy.
Finally, digging started in April of 2016. Although ultimately my General Contractor and I parted ways, he did have some great suggestions in the beginning. It was his idea to create a fully concrete pantry that doubled as my storm shelter.
I had paid an architect to draw up my ideas for the interior of the home. In the large home I occupied before my divorce, I found I lived in a fraction of the space. I needed a bedroom, kitchen/great room, and sewing room/office. My plans included a second bedroom, although there were also extra beds in the loft office/sewing area.
Easy animal management
Years of building homes and barns with my ex had taught me a lot about what I needed to manage my animals. Both horses and dogs had automatic waterers. I had a dog shower, dog room, and indoor/outdoor dog run. The flooring is LVT, or Luxury Vinyl Tile. LVT is very dog-friendly. The laundry room is huge and has tons of storage.
I had only two stalls, as I only intend to keep two horses. The dry lot is large and has 5-6 inches of lime shavings to keep it from becoming a swamp when it rains. The fencing is a high-tension wire that can easily be tightened. It acts like a boomerang if a horse crashes into it. I spent an incredible amount of money in fencing almost 10 acres.
So hard to sell!
The previously linked blog as well Beautiful Bardominium for Sale, Living in a Barn(dominium), and Barndominium Life Part Two will give you many more details about my made-for-me home. Suffice it to say, the thought of selling it was super hard. Alan had grown to love it as well. Ironically, we found that the thought of selling it and moving out was harder than actually leaving it. After all, we had a beautiful home in Colorado waiting on us…
My biggest concern was getting a realistic appraisal. There are no comps for my place! I knew how much I had in it! Radiant heat flooring, tons of concrete, a significant investment in horse facilities, authentic Western lighting, a camera system, and a slew of other amenities that might not be appreciated by an appraiser.
Our real estate agent is a horse gal. She appreciated the value of the place. However, several other real estate agents loudly vocalized their opinion that it would never sell for anything close to what we were asking. There is no question that it is a unique property and not for everyone.
Nevertheless, it did sell for a fair price! Furthermore, it appraised for the selling price. The gentleman who bought it had been researching barndos for a while and already had an understanding of their value and construction. Although he doesn’t have horses, his daughter hopes to fill the stalls someday. They do have dogs, so the dog facilities are valued. I was personally surprised at how much it meant to me to learn how excited the buyer was to buy my beloved home. I really believe he values it as much as Alan and I did.
Four properties down to two
It is an incredible relief to have it sold. When Alan and I married, we merged two lives that had acquired some assets. We are now down to the two homes we occupy… one in Arizona and one in Colorado. Alan’s lakehouse sold in February. We drove 3000 miles in 9 days a few weeks ago when we returned to Kansas to finish emptying out the barndominium. Arizona to Kansas to Colorado and back to Arizona is a long haul!
We leave Arizona in another month and head north to our log cabin in the mountains. Shortly after that, we will return to Kansas to take marriage vows for the 3rd time… redoing what Covid robbed us of last May. We got married on a beach in Aruba in 2019 but didn’t register the marriage in the US. Our official vows were last May, and our friends-and-family hoopla is this May. Life is totally amazing and we are very blessed. We are also vaccinated!!!
Last week we rode in the beautiful Chiricahua mountains. Stay tuned for a blog about that coming soon.
I hope you enjoy this gallery of photos from my Barndo build!