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Garage apartments and shed row barns

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  • Garage apartments and shed row barns

    I have been tossed a bit unexpectedly into building a farm. I thought I knew what I wanted. Turns out, not so much

    I'm getting close to knowing what I want, and I'm leaning toward a shed row or "L shaped" barn with a deep overhang, five stalls, feed, wash stall, with attached two-bay garage with overhead apartment that I will be living in for roughly a year. The garage will serve as hay and farm/tractor/etc storage.

    I'm in a warm climate and have a center-aisle barn now that I love, but I feel as though I don't really need it and am craving a more open option for my horses.

    I am looking for feedback on shedrow barns, and what people like or dislike about them, and looking for ideas on garage apartments. Do you have a shed row barn you love that you are willing to share pictures of? Ditto to garage apartments

  • #2
    LOL, don't do it...build a shedrow or upstairs apt. I am in the same predicament...building a place and thinking I know what I want.
    Ok, here is my experience.
    Moved to Aiken, lived in a center aisle barn, with an upstairs apt. for 6 months.
    then moved to my place and built a shed row(realtor told me best way to go), and I hate it! Rain comes in sideways and from every direction, and to close it up kind of loses the appeal of why I built a shedrow. I have 3' overhangs off the back(with doors) and into the aisle, which is 12' and again a 3' overhang, and still the rain blows in

    So, now I am retrofitting the shed roof by adding an overhang off the aisle so that it will become a center aisle, with an obvious off center peak.

    Its really great in nice weather to have a shed row, but in lousy weather it's not so good, plus you lose a lot of storage space since one side of the aisle is open so to speak.

    Now, for upstairs apt. UGH. Do you have any idea what a pita it is to forget something and have to go upstairs to get it, or lug groceries, etc.

    So, if i do an apt over the garage, the kitchen part will be on the first floor with a bathroom.

    I guess I just like center aisles for so very many reasons. I also don't mind going upstairs to sleep, but like my stuff in the lower level...
    I also am a bit older, so that is critical too.

    I rent an apt now with an upstairs apt over the garage, and although once up there, its lovely and I like being on the second floor, its a pita to go up and down those stairs, plus cleaining them, another ugh.
    Oh, because I love the apt I am renting, let me tell you about it.
    its 30x30. stairs are in the center. get to the top and in front of you is a very nice full bath. to your right is the kitchen and living room, to your left is the bedroom. these are all very large rooms.
    on the east side and off the bedroom and living room is a deck door in each room which go out onto a 6' deck, that is under the roof line(no extension or shed roof,etc).

    I love it because I barely use the ac, the doors can stay open even in a rainstorm. On the south is a very large window, that in winter will be nice, but in summer is curtained. On the north is another large window, which has a lovely breeze. on the west side are smaller windows, since it is the kitchen and bath side(the bedroom west side is a closet).
    its nice, but I don't have pics, sorry. But, again, I don't like the stairs, but if your heart was determined on a second floor apt, this one is great.

    I will be curious to hear what everyone else says, since we begin building again this month, and I am still undecided.!!!
    Last edited by fivehorses; Oct. 27, 2012, 09:34 PM.
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld


    • #3
      Shedrows are great barns and budget friendly. However the common complaint is that without an aisle/area attached to all stalls, during wet weather it's a pita to handle/groom/feed horses.

      However a shedrow is a really popular barn even here in CT. The bonus with a shedrow is that you can later add a second shedrow 12-15' away from the first one and facing it, then re-roof to form a center aisle barn with loft space very easily. Many prefabs also build that way...2 shedrows they set up facing each other and then roof both together.

      If you don't need an apartment later on, and won't have/need a caretaker apartment later on then the expense of finishing one to code and getting the CO on it might be a waste. If it's only short term housing you need, it might be more economical to have a rental trailer brought to the site.

      If you do go with a shedrow, consider an overhang. Very useful for blocking excess sun/heat in summer and keeping stalls dry the rest of the time. Gives you a semi-dry place to get to each stall too, and can double as a run-in while keeping stalls clean too.

      There's a few folks on here who've built lovely living space in their barns too. Try a search and also hopefully they'll chime in.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!


      • #4
        Looking at our weather forecast I'm very glad we built a center aisle barn
        I wasn't always a Smurf
        Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


        • #5
          Shedrows are a poor use of covered spaces, because they don't protect enough for the expense you go to put them up.

          You can build an enclosed, center aisle barn for less material and labor than a shedrow and have a place to work in all kinds of weather, which is the idea of having any covered structure, right?
          You can make a center aisle as open as any shedrow or ver tight or any combination of those as you want.

          There are some that like the looks of shedrow barns and that no one can dispute, if you like that better than a traditional barn, then why not build what you like to look at, even if it is not as efficient as it could be?

          We used to have a shedrow barn, a complete box type and it was a very stupid idea, very labor intensive, you had to carry the manure out to a wagon by hand, was a fire trap and it rained and snowed in there.
          We had to use canvas curtains so it would stay dry in there and we are in the SW, where we don't get much moisture.
          It was very neat and had many compliments by the owners of the race horses we trained out of that barn, but it was not really a sensible design at all, compared with what you get with a center aisle barn:


          Thankfully the termites ate it quickly and it is gone now.

          On the idea of living quarters above a garage or barn, just remember to have some option at the ground floor also, because being around horses, you may have a broken leg or some other at times that make handling stairs extremely hard or impossible.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks for the feedback ya'll!
            Everybody I've spoken with about Shedrows say that it MUST be oriented for the land (and weather) and must have a deep enough overhang.
            The overhang we'll do is likely 12 to 14', so essentially the barn will be 2/3rds of the size of a center aisle.

            Going over cost for the center aisle, we were waaaaay blown on budget (like, by 100K! ack!)


            • #7
              Oh wow, Im in CA and have an L shaped Shedrow/Garage just like you are describing. Our weather mainly comes at the back of the short L peice which is the garage---stalls are tidy, warm and dry with no rain coming in. The Aileway/Overhang is more than adequate space for tacking grooming ext and is deep enough to keep the weather from splashing in. I love it. If I had a do over I would add an additional partial overhang over the runs prevent them from getting too mucky in the deep of winter---as it is they are sloped enough that they drain easily. Our horses live out 24/7 in summer and only come in during the worst winter storms and to give time for things to dry afterwards.
              Redbud Ranch
              Check us out on FB


              • #8
                I spent a lot of time standing in my driveway holding a damp finger up to the wind, in both summer and winter, deciding how to orient the Taj MaRunin shedrow, but we still love it.



                • #9
                  I hate a shedrow barn for all the previous reasons given. And it is NOT considered the most cost effective construction...ask a builder!! The upstairs living quarters were fine when I was younger...not so much appeal now at an older time in my life. EVERY grocery/shopping bag needs to go up those stairs. Everything you forget to take with you first thing in the day has to be retrieved UP THOSE STAIRS!! Trips to the bathroom...up the stairs. Get the drift. Been there, done that, not wanting it again!! If you like the shedrow design...consider a center aisle barn with doors to the outside with a GENEROUS overhang. Every rain storm is going to blow in your stalls!! I lived in Southern Pines for 20 years and you'd be amazed at how hard it is to climb those stairs after an ice storm!!! And it DOES snow there sometimes!!Another thing...10 stalls in a shedrow is 120 feet plus feed and tack room. A center aisle barn will cut down on your footsteps to get things done. JMO!!
                  Breeders of Painted Thoroughbreds and Uniquely Painted Irish Sport Horses in Northeast Oklahoma


                  • #10
                    I rented a little shedrow-esque+ attached living quarters place once...it was U-shaped with the "L" part of it being the house (one-level) and the last leg of the "U" was 3 stalls. Aisle was under cover, but did not have doors at either end, so it felt like a shed row. Inside the "U" was a cute brick courtyard. It was a nice design! This was in Northern VA, though, so it REALLY needed doors on the ends of that aisleway for some nasty winter storms...but the stalls faced the courtyard and were protected by most of the weather by the house and courtyard. This was a pretty basic place--no wash stall, etc. But, I think that type of design would be really flexible to add onto, edit, etc.


                    • Original Poster

                      Yeah, the stairs thing is going to suck, but we once lived in a condo where you had to go up three flights of stairs just to get to the first floor. Yuck! Hated!
                      But, we will be building a house within the year, and the footprint of having the amenities we want would be pretty big if we didn't build over the barn/garage.


                      • #12
                        So a modification of Badger's gorgeous place wouldn't work? Because I like that a lot, with the tack room as a buffer between barn grunge and house. Does the garage/storage need to be attached?


                        • Original Poster

                          Saje, We are looking at it and it's a possibility, but we're back to Center-Aisle with that design. We need to get quotes from a few more builders, but we were quoted close to 300K for criminy sakes. Um, no. My horses are going to crap in this building.


                          • #14
                            I guess it is center aisle, isn't it? I guess I think of it as a shedrow with an extra large roof LOL! 300k?!? Yeow. Yeah I'd be rethinking that too.


                            • #15

                              I don't have experience in your area, but maybe my experience up here could help you. I found an older chap up here that had built a lot of not fancy, but solid and serviceable barns, by asking around. He is retired, so worked half days; he also favors a local mill, where we bought all of the lumber. It took him two months, but that was a good thing, as I could budget over time.

                              End result was a 24X30, four stall center aisle, with a generous hay loft (12' knee wall, allowing 600 square bales). The building cost $12,000; the electric $3,500.

                              He's now building our new three bay garage (24X30 - it will be a bit of a squeeze, but the landscape didn't help), with a 20X26 apartment above - there's a 4' wrap around deck on two sides. This building, with the new drive, labor and materials, should be around $14,000, not including electric, plumbing, insulation or interior finishing.

                              It takes him a while, but again, his schedule works with our finances and it's solid work.

                              If you have a rural area around, you might want to ask a few old farmers who built their barns.
                              Last edited by Tommy's Girl; Oct. 28, 2012, 11:25 AM. Reason: clarity


                              • #16
                                shed row barn and upstairs apartment

                                I am building a shed row barn with an extended overhang (as in ten feet) so that the overhang can serve as a run in shed even when the stalls are shut. The ends will have a sliding door which when closed will turn the overhang area into a three sided run in shed.

                                We built a center aisle barn with 15 feet wide aisle, horses and wash rack on one side and the apartment and tack and feed rooms on the other side. Being in our 50's we did not want a future of climbing steps to get things or to go into the apartment. And a door into the apartment from the center aisle and also from the outside. And again, make the overhangs as deep as you can afford because you always can find a use for the space. In my mind's eye, I see future stalls, or a little hay storage or shavings storage, or just racks to hang tools.


                                • Original Poster

                                  Thanks much
                                  We currently have an absolutely beautiful (IMHO) 4 stall center aisle, 36x48 with overhangs barn that we did a bit 'on the cheap', using an unlicensed contractor. Doing so meant we had to self-finance (could not use bank financing). The licensed contractors were definitely much more, and after seeing the work they've done, it is with good reason. I love my barn--it's a great barn, easy to work out of, protected by the elements, but because of the materials we used (wood) it will require regular maintenance. The hardware is middle of the road, same with lighting.
                                  We're looking at a bit of a 'step up' from the current setup, higher-quality hardware/stalls/doors/windows/gates, as well as doing block and stucco. Add on the apartment and you have all kinds of fire code and safety stuff, and the costs start to become a bit non-negotiable :/ But, not 300K non-negotiable!


                                  • #18
                                    Why on earth are you getting quoted that high for a barn like mine? Are you going all granite and marble in the apartment or something? Or is the apartment way bigger? Even with granite and marble mine wouldn't have touched that price. Something is seriously wrong in the quotes, Southern Pines shouldn't be way more expensive to build than Aiken. And there are economies that would have saved some $$$ for us if we'd had too, like stock cabinets in the apartment, leaving of the cupola, leaving off gutters, different aisle floor, something plainer than Classic Equine for the stalls, etc..

                                    I love my barn every day of the year. Am glad it's not a shedrow. It's versatile, ventilated, well-laid out, and horses and people all love it. I love that the apartment is on the ground floor, that I can open the barn up for breeze or close it up plenty if it gets cold.

                                    I can get you into a new garage apartment for a tour, and a couple shedrows with attached living spaces, if you come visit. Or, over some vino, we could seriously crunch numbers and details on my barn plan and figure out where your bids are going wrong and where some money could be trimmed. Because there is no way you are getting good quotes.
                                    Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                                    • #19
                                      Just caught this in your last post: Block and stucco vs cement board may be a chunk of the price difference, I don't know how much that would account for, but it is definitely more expensive. We did price brick at one point and it was way more $$$ for the barn because it requires different construction than the cement board. (In our area, price is about the same for brick vs cement board for houses because of construction requirements, but there is a big difference for barns.) The cement board is pretty good stuff. We had it on our old house and are very happy with it on the barn.
                                      Last edited by Badger; Oct. 29, 2012, 08:49 AM.
                                      Hindsight bad, foresight good.


                                      • #20
                                        I don't know the details of your design and quotes, but have you explored poured walls instead of laid block?