Yellow Barn is the home and stable for Claire Reid and her small herd of Welsh Ponies. Some could consider it a ‘hunt box.’ But it is much, much more.

The term ‘hunt box’ originated in England and refers to a home used during hunting season, be it fox or other game. In the southern U.S., it often means living quarters built above a stable. So, yes, Yellow Barn, located in Southern Pines (NC) Horse Country is a hunt box.

Before there was a Yellow Barn, Claire Reid lived in the Little Grey Cottage. Built in 1924, Claire purchased the cottage in 1994 while still living in Pennsylvania. It had a small garage that did double duty as hay and carriage storage with enough space for a couple of horses.

While living in the Grey Cottage, Claire visited her friend Dana Pigford who had recently built a barn in Southern Pines. Upon discovering that Dana’s husband was an architect, Claire asked him to design something similar for her.

What she really liked about Dana’s barn were the stalls – they were ‘southern’ stalls, open with bars, doors on front and large windows on the back - great ventilation for the hot summers. The walls were stucco, because few structures in the south are wood. Claire also liked the open courtyard concept.

Yellow Barn was built in 2001. The barn is a U shape – perfect for putting to and driving off in a carriage. It is a very European type of structure, with a wide gravel approach in the front, and the stamped cobblestone courtyard and no shrubbery close by. The colors - mustard yellow for the walls and grey for the metal roofing – are very typical of colors seen in southern France or Ireland.

Although Claire, with her background as an engineer, has designed her own homes in the past, she chose to use an architect for this project. “The key decision in any project,” said Claire, “is where to site the building. Dick [Pigford] was wonderful in determining where on this piece of open land to put the building.” The building sits in the center of 13 acres, with open space in front and in back. Proportion is the other important element in the design process – rooflines, windows, and doorways. What may seem comfortable on the inside may not be in proportion on the outside. The windows in the living quarters above the stable are particularly large, as are the glass doors. They are in proportion to the massive space below.

The living area above the barn is approximately 2000 square feet, with an open concept living, dining and kitchen area, a hallway/office area, and one bedroom and bathroom. A covered deck over the breezeway entrance to the courtyard is a lovely spot to relax outside sheltered from the elements.

The property, including Yellow Barn and the Gray Cottage, sits on almost 18 acres. Two paddocks contain Claire’s nine grey Welsh Ponies.

The barn has nine stalls and one wash stalls – five in one wing, four plus the wash stall in the other wing. Under the living space on one side of the breezeway is a tack room, and on the other side is a room for storage, tools, and stuff needed around the farm along with some of the carriages used on a daily basis. .

Landscaping is minimal. A few forsythia, azaleas and crape myrtle fill the circle inside the driveway. A few raised planters provide space for summer vegetables and cut flowers. Claire is very environmentally conscious, leaving the nearby stream alone; the brambles, small and large trees and surrounding growth prevent the stream from flooding and also provide habitat for birds and small animals.

Claire drives her ponies mostly as pairs or in a four-in-hand. She competed briefly at the Advanced level in combined driving, but now drives strictly for pleasure, although that includes competing occasionally at pleasure driving shows such as Devon or the Carriage Classic in the Pines. She hosts meets of the Four-in-Hand Club at her adjacent Big Sky Farm, and participates in four-in-hand and coaching drives up and down the east coast. The social aspect of carriage driving is what Claire enjoys most. She is one of the main organizers of the Southern Pines CDE and Pine Tree CDE, and was the first to host a camp for young drivers that she continued for 10 years.

In 2004 Claire built the carriage house following the sale of her farm in Pennsylvania. She again contacted Dick Pigford and said, “I need a room.” The result was much more than a room! When he asked her what she needed the room for, she replied “I want a place to put my carriages and I want to have big parties in it.” As often happens, the space was soon filled with even more carriages; all fit her 12.2 hand ponies. A guest loft is suspended over the carriages. A small bathroom and bar area complete the carriage house.

The large windows and massive glass doors allow for plenty of light. The use of brick around the doors and windows was carried over from the brick detail in the Gray Cottage, tying all three structures together.

The carriage house opens onto a covered patio, complete with massive fireplace for cozy cool weather gatherings and a swimming pool and spa for relaxing during the hot summer months. With a little rearranging of the carriages inside, the area is the perfect place to entertain year round.

A few years ago, a 25-acre property across the road from the Yellow Barn became available, along with a house and five-stall barn. Situated on what once was half of a mile long racetrack, Claire added an open barn in the infield for shelter. A few years later, she built 30 stalls around the racetrack to be used for driving activities, including Pine Tree CDE, Moore County Driving Club activities, Four-in-Hand Club meets as well as clinics. “It was impossible to rent less than 90 stalls at a time,” explained Claire. Over the years, the stalls have more than paid for themselves from the stall fees collected from Pine Tree CDE and other activities. Big Sky was the site for a Carriage Association of America conference and will be the site for an American Driving Society Annual Meeting in 2016.

Contact Details

Driving Digest Magazine
PO Box 120
Southern Pines, NC 28387

(910) 691-7735


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