For an architect, there’s nothing like watching a project grow from its infancy as just an idea to a concept design to an actual building. Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of overseeing the construction of a project in Marshall, Virginia that, just over a year ago, was an idea that only existed in its owner’s head.

The project, which consists of an 8-stall barn with a lounge, an attached indoor arena with an observation area, and renovations to the existing residence, is located in the middle of Northern Virginia’s hunt country. The style reflects traditional shingle style architecture with a New England twist, to honor the owner’s origins. The owner hopes to eventually install solar panels to provide self-sufficient energy to the family’s equestrian estate. Additionally, all of the farm structures will include greywater collection and storage.

There’s also a separate structure on the farm to house a professional telescope that, admittedly, is something for which I’ve never previously designed. It’s a dome structure located in a secluded area of the farm where there is little light to interfere with viewing. The telescope, which was a retirement gift from the owner’s former employer, allows the owner to indulge in his longtime fantasy of gazing at the planets and stars.

The owner, who first looked at properties in New England (where he resided for several years), decided to settle in the Northern Virginian area after finding it difficult to circumvent the zoning and historic restrictions that often accompany New England properties. Hunt country in Northern Virginia is the perfect setting for this horse enthusiast to custom design an equestrian facility that complements their lifestyle and needs perfectly.

I am including some photos of its progress. It might seem like it’s got a long way to go—but it should be ready to house horses around September.


I recently visited the project site where construction is wrapping up and thought I’d share some photos. While the landscaping won’t be complete for a few more months, things with the barn and arena are really shaping up.

Just a few months ago it looked like this...