What is it you look for in a barn? For me, there are a number of "must have's" that I cannot live without.
Roomy, light stalls with plenty of ventilation is first on my list. 12' x 12' is standard size for a box stall, though I like 16' x 16' or 12' x 24' for foaling stalls.
I want the grilled stall fronts (all across the front) similar to these:
(Photo credit MD Barns)
(Photo credit Barnmaster Barns)
My preference is also to have grilled stall dividers between each stall. As a rule, however, there may be a reason so have some stalls with solid walls, so a mixture is ideal. Then there are sliding back stall doors which open out into paddocks, with grilled windows that can be "closed". Having a well lit barn is another must, I love the "skylight" panels many barn companies offer these days, and I insist on good lighting for both the stalls and the barn aisles.
Safety is of paramount concern, so the barn needs to be well constructed with no shortcuts taken. Recently I attended a Dressage show at a lovely brand new facility and was appalled to notice they had a beautiful 20 stall barn which was virtually unusable because when the foundation footings were poured, the contractor blew it on the measurements and toward the far end of the barn, the footings were well over a foot off from where the walls were erected. WTF? I can't imagine how or why anyone would have allowed the barn to continue to be put up once they began to notice something was wrong! But I digress.
Stall doors, feed doors and the walls themselves are also of great importance. I prefer sliding doors with a grilled top, and I'm partial (for some horses) to the open yoke doors (pictured below):
I also like these grilled dutch doors, because you can close a horse in and he an still see out the door, but if you want the option of allowing your horses to hang their heads over the door (and don't have blanket bars on your doors):
I have spent countless hours designing and planning the perfect barn. What about you?