Charlotte Valley Farm

$998k with house, garage, 2 barns and 10 acres. $1.75M for entire property with 464 acres.

Michael R. Franklin
Licensed Real Estate Broker
(o) 315.876.2262





Barns designed by John Blackburn, ( the nation’s premier designer of equestrian structures. Situated in a picturesque valley in upstate New York, the nine-stall barn complex rises dramatically in the landscape of the 464-acre farm. Arranged around the ruins of abandoned grain silos, the buildings take advantage of prevailing summer breezes and shelter the interior spaces from harsh winter conditions. The buildings are clad in galvanized corrugated metal with translucent sections for natural light.

The design process of the Charlotte Valley Farm barns by John Blackburn:

The program for the 464 acre farm was based on the owners’ desire to create a Paso Fino breeding/training operation. Their current residence had been constructed in 1992, but there was no horse barn or horse operation existing. The residence was located on the north side of Route 40 that bisects the property. The major portion for the horse operation was located on the relative level crop lands between Route 40 on the north and Charlotte Creek to the south.

There were two existing silos on the property from a former dairy barn. The old dairy barn had burned and all that remained were the silos and a long corrugated metal milking shed with an attached equipment shed. The owner was interested in keeping as much of the original character of the property as possible so we decided to reuse the existing milking shed in some way. The original program included a barn with 12 stalls, space for a tack room, tool room, feed room and wash stalls. Also included was an office and lounge space. The master plan was to also include a large 100 x 200 indoor riding arena with an observation area so they could use and train horses year round. Also included in the program was a heated round pen and two service storage structures for hay, bedding and farm equipment.

A special request of the owners was that they wanted an indoor arena but did not want to look out at a huge "box" blocking their view of the farm and the surrounding hills. They also felt strongly that the silos were iconic and important memories of the former dairy barn and its contribution to the heritage of the farm and the local community and felt they should be salvaged. The owners also expressed concern with the winter snows and how best to design the new farm to work for all seasons especially the snow coverage that can appear in late fall and last until early spring. I agreed and his request became the mainstay of our design approach. Good environmentally responsible site design is critical to the success of any horse farm and is a primary goal in John Blackburn's equine design philosophy.

An existing low slope metal shed that had been a later addition to the west side of the existing metal milking shed had to be removed as it was not well constructed and could not effectively be reused.
The existing milking shed was extended to include office, restrooms, tack room and wash and groom stalls. The interior was gutted and converted into a series of stalls. A series of roll up doors were located along the entire east side so the building could be opened in the late spring, summer and early fall to provide adequate natural ventilation as the summer wind would blow up the valley from the southwest and over the sloping barn roof.

The location of the existing shed in the valley and its orientation perpendicular to the prevailing summer breeze enabled us to use the Bernoulli Principle (a scientific principle John Blackburn tries to incorporate into all my barn designs) to pull air in, through and up out of the barn. A series of Dutch doors were located along the west wall to provide additional sources of natural ventilation and natural light as well as access for the horses from their stalls to turn outs attached to the south side of the barn. Larger turnout paddocks were located to the south. The layout worked well for the environmental needs as well as the operational needs of the farm and provided a healthy and safe facility for the horses.

Skylights were incorporated into the sloped roof over the stalls to add additional light during winter when the roll up doors were closed. The office/lounge was located at the north end of the shed row of stables for ease of access from the entry road and for security. The indoor arena was located on the east side of the barn shed row with a covered connecter to the barn so horses could be led from the barn to the arena during winter with protection from the elements.. Placement of the arena provided additional protection from winter winds that might blow down the valley from the north and east.

The arena was developed in an unusual shape that was designed specifically to address the owner's concern for a large "box" in view of his residence and the accumulation of snow that could hinder the operation of the farm during winter. The arena was designed with largely a single slope roof across the length of the riding surface so any snow that did accumulate on the roof would slide off to the north and pile up along the north end of the arena. Furthermore, by sloping the roof to the east it would reduce the scale of the structure as viewed from the residence in summer months.

The ground surface along that north side of the arena was designed with an oversized French drain field that would allow the snow bank to gradually melt and drain underground to the Charlotte Valley Creek that cross the property along the south side in close proximity to the arena, Furthermore, the long north facing slope of the arena was to include a large skylight built into the roof that would warm up from interior heat. It aids in visually reducing the scale and size of the arena as it was viewed from the residence. All roof slopes were designed to direct snow to a location that would not hinder the winter operation of the farm and in fact provide areas where snow could be pile up or be plowed and allowed to melt naturally as the spring thaws came without adversely affecting the operation of the farm. The arena included a large observation area along the north end that was visible as one entered the barn/arena area from the north and located directly opposite the farm office. It provides some additional human scale to that end of the arena.



For the round pen we continued with the corrugated metal concept and adapted a Butler grain elevator framing system with a series of high windows for natural light and ventilation. Access to the round pen was provided by a covered connecting link from the barn that was in fact an extension of the barn aisle.

I believe the design intent of the entire horse farm complex was achieved at a very reasonable cost. The design in my opinion has held its own over time and remains a distinctive and unique structure today as the day it was completed. Its shape, simple forms and exterior materials respect typical agricultural context of the Charlotte Valley as well as those of the original farm. The silos have remained as iconic forms in the valley seen by anyone who drives along Route 40.

Blackburn and Associates designed a functional barn that has been very successful for the owner. The barn remains one of Blackburn and Associates most unique barn designs and is a representative example of their design creativity, attention to the existing and historic context, attention to the functionality of the farm operation and aesthetic needs of the owner.

Concept design for an arena were never constructed. The arena would have make an impressive impact on the farm that would complement the scale of the silos without overshadowing them. The location of the indoor arena would sit where outdoor arena is situated today. See concept drawings here.

John Blackburn, AIA
Senior Principal


Heated office space with stall shower bathroom and laundry room.


This view demonstrates the proximity of the house to the barns.


Broker: Franklin Ruttan 1406 North State Street Syracuse, NY 13208
(O) 315.876.2262 E-Mail:

This property marketing is in cooperation with Christy Dahms, Broker/Owner Charlotteville Realty
638 Charlotte Valley Rd Charlotteville, NY 12036 607.397.9027 Office 607.397.9025 Fax 607.434.5993 Cell

Broker fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act.