From Historic Stable to Honeymooners’ Cabin
A century-old horse barn transformed in Crested Butte, Colorado
Photos by James Ray Spahn
Tucked into Colorado’s West Elk Mountains, the former coal-mining mecca of Crested Butte looks like a scene from a Western film—with a quaint downtown district lined by rows of century-old buildings with high-fronted, weathered facades. The town’s Board of Architectural Zoning and Review (BOZAR) enforces strict design guidelines in an effort to preserve historic buildings, even if it’s the crumbling shed in your backyard.
So when Megan and CJay Clark—owners of the popular fried chicken restaurant Slogar—decided to transform the dilapidated horse barn behind their restaurant into a rental cabin, they had to carefully navigate BOZAR’s constraints. The Clarks enlisted a couple of familiar faces to help with the remodel: architect Jim Barney, Megan’s brother and owner of Freestyle Architects, and interior designer Heidi Sherratt, Megan’s best friend and owner of Interior Visions. Along with general contractor Deuce Wynes of Blueline Builders, Inc., the design team turned the 504-square-foot shed into a functional honeymooners’ suite with rustic charm.
To maintain the barn’s architectural integrity, the team kept the exterior shell intact and stabilized the structure. Then they added a new roof and doors, plus interior walls that create distinct bedroom, bathroom and kitchen/living spaces. New window openings were strategically placed. “Wherever the horses would hang their heads out, that’s where we’d put a window,” says Barney. “We consciously made decisions on where architectural elements would go based upon the already-built features in the building.”
Inspired by coal-mining cabins and New England cottages, Sherratt incorporated a mix of reclaimed materials, clean white walls and pops of color in the interiors. Furnishings with built-in storage keep clutter at bay, while sliding barn doors and a multi-purpose kitchen island maximize the small space’s square footage. The finished cabin (referred to as “Chicken Little”) is a cozy getaway that captures both the heart and history of Crested Butte.
Formerly housing a horse-drawn sleigh-ride company, this century-old accessory barn in Crested Butte’s historic downtown district had been out of commission since the ’80s. A pitched roof was designed to withstand Crested Butte’s snow-heavy winters.
The kitchen and living spaces seamlessly flow together, providing ample space to entertain. “People are always blown away when they open the door and walk in,” Sherratt says. “It’s very open and comfortable, and it’s amazing how that small of a space can feel so inviting.” Hanging above the pantry door, a portrait of a horse gives a nod to the cabin’s equestrian roots.
In the kitchen, rustic window trim, ceiling beams and a range hood all fashioned out of the shed’s original fir and spruce siding keep the building’s history intact. Interior designer Heidi Sherratt paired gray Artigiano backsplash tile with sleek white countertops from Arizona Tile. Kalahou pendants hang above an island adorned with robin’s-egg-blue ceiling tin. Industrial barstools offer mobile seating. Vaulted ceilings add clearance to the tiny space.
A midcentury-inspired leather sofa from West Elm is the perfect spot to curl up in after a day on the slopes.
A queen-sized Pottery Barn bed with built-in storage space anchors the cabin’s only bedroom. Schoolhouse Electric sconces provide ambient reading light. Sliding barn doors create privacy without taking up precious square footage.
A vanity light from Troy Lighting, metallic mirror from Pier One and curved basin-style Kohler sink add elegance to the bathroom.
An overview of Crested Butte’s BOZAR design guidelines for maintaining historic properties age matters All buildings over 50 years old within the historic district are considered “contributing structures.” BOZAR’s goal is to preserve these buildings in their original state.
- Lay of the Land: Historic structures must remain on their original lots, in their original orientation.
- Material Gains: Wall and siding materials should be preserved in their original condition when possible. Vinyl and aluminum siding are not permitted. If exterior materials are deteriorated, they should be repaired rather than replaced.
- Character Study: Respect the building’s historic design character by keeping the size and shape of window and door openings intact, and preserving architectural elements such as porches, columns and ornamental detailing.
ARCHITECTURE Freestyle Architects INTERIOR DESIGN Interior Visions CONSTRUCTION Deuce Wynes, Blueline Builders, Inc. CABINETRY style: Milan, wood species: Maple, color: Marshmellow Cream, Starmark Cabinetry, Crested Butte, CO TOP KNOBS Dakota Cup Pull Antique Pewter, Cabinet Hardware APPLIANCES GE Artistry PLUMBING FIXTURES Kitchen and bath: Kohler Artifacts Vibrant Stainless | Bathroom sink: Kohler Iron Plains Wading Pool LIGHTING Exterior Sconces: Rejuvenation Carson Wall Sconce | Interior, Currey & Company Inc., Eastleigh Wall Sconce | Vanity Light: Troy Lighting | Bedside Sconces: Schoolhouse Electric | Kitchen Pendants: Kalahou TILE Kitchen Backsplash: Artigiano, color: Venice Statue PRESSED TIN The Tin Man, color: Ocean Mist WOOD FLOORS Renick Wood Floors, reclaimed oak FURNITURE Hamilton sofa: West Elm | Bed: Stratton | Storage Bed: Pottery Barn