Custom Horse Barn with Living Quarters and Arena in Illinois Horse Country

It’s not an overstatement to say that a horse can change a person’s life, because that’s exactly what happened to Vicky Campbell. Her healing experience with horses inspired her to become an equine coach, horse owner – and more.

Come spring, Lester Buildings will help Vicky literally begin building her life around horses on a generous piece of land in Oswego, Illinois. That means breaking ground on a private facility for family and friends that includes a combo stall barn and riding arena, and private residence for Vicky and her family. The specs: 84-foot wide by 224-foot long arena that shares an end wall with a 40-foot wide by 120-foot long 14-stall barn, and Vicky’s home (size is being finalized) attached to the arena’s other end wall. When completed, the complex will resemble a “U” shape.

“I want my facility to be a real place of healing and be big enough that it’s comfortable for people,” said Vicky, who purchased her first horse, “Jetty,” last June. Since then, she has added another horse and donkey. Her barn will also house her brother’s two horses and five that belong to her trainer.

Taking Time to Design

Ivan Hovden, Lester’s local rep. who covers central Illinois, has spent the last year leading Vicky through a thorough and collaborative design process. When Vicky contacted Ivan, she had a budget in mind but no set design beyond suggestions from her horse trainer.

Ivan explained that Lester’s design process typically goes much faster, but they never rush a customer when so many decisions are involved. “From the start, Vicky has relied on Lester for design and direction, which I’m happy to provide. My role was, and remains, keeping everyone informed and moving forward.” For Ivan, that has included watching weather reports. The severe Illinois winter has pushed the project’s original start date of January to March, with completion of the barn and arena by early summer. The attached residence will follow shortly thereafter, once its interior design is finalized.

Finalizing the Layout

It’s common for building design to shift, especially with larger projects. Initially, Vicky only knew she wanted an 80-foot by 150-foot arena large enough to turn her horse. She envisioned two barns with 20 to 40 stalls for commercial boarding, and an unattached traditional home. That plan changed when she learned her facility’s size and purpose would require a sprinkler system and be cost prohibitive. The final design gave Vicky want she wanted, including natural ventilation (another cost savings).

“I hate details, and I’ve changed my mind a lot, but Ivan has worked extremely hard to make this work. I can’t say enough good things about him,” Vicky added.

Design Highlights

Ivan’s role has included guiding Vicky through Lester’s nearly endless list of aesthetic and functional options.

These include door, window and roof styles, and some of Vicky’s personal touches — cupolas, wainscot, dormers, a metal ceiling liner to hide trusses in the arena, and an angled arena guard for horse and rider safety.

In keeping with her vision for “clean and crisp,” the buildings will feature white walls and roof, with black trim and wainscoting.

“She is going to have a very nice complex when we’re done,” Ivan added. “And if she ever decides to move, resale shouldn’t be a problem. She’s in a great horse community. There’s even a polo field across the road.”

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Watch for Photos!

You can see photos of Vicky’s completed building later this summer on Lester’s website, lesterbuildings.com. Until then, visit Lester’s site to see its library of other equestrian buildings, including those in your area.