The Place to Be


From mod­est be­gin­nings, a barn-style tim­ber re­treat evolved into the neigh­bor­hood gath­er­ing place.

From mod­est be­gin­nings, a barn-style tim­ber re­treat evolved into the neigh­bor­hood gath­er­ing place.

On any given day, Jack and Natalie Peetz are never sure who will walk through the front door of the week­end re­treat they fondly re­fer to as “The Bunkhouse.”

“It’s be­come a sort of neigh­bor­hood gath­er­ing place,” laughs Natalie. “We joke that at 5 o’clock on Fri­day, Jack’s Bar and Pub is where ev­ery­one comes to have a cock­tail and kick off the week­end.” And the cou­ple wouldn’t have it any other way.

It seems nat­u­ral now — the en­er­getic hum of good mu­sic and lively con­ver­sa­tion punc­tu­ated with laugh­ter fill­ing the barn-style, tim­ber home. But hav­ing the space serve as a “party barn,” as Natalie calls it, wasn’t al­ways in the plans. The whole thing started as a stor­age fa­cil­ity, “a drive-through barn for keeping ve­hi­cles and things,” Jack says. Natalie ex­plains: “The orig­i­nal idea was to have a stor­age space with an up­stairs apart­ment we would live in un­til we built a house on a dif­fer­ent lot.”

Ex­cept that once the cou­ple en­listed lo­cal barn-kit man­u­fac­turer Sand Creek Post & Beam to cre­ate the struc­ture, a rough-hewn pine post-and-beam frame with metal plate join­ery and ham­mer­beam trusses, their vi­sion for

the space be­gan to ex­pand. “As we put more time and en­ergy into the barn, the more we fell in love with it,” Natalie says. “We kept fin­ish­ing ar­eas off, and as we did, it’s turned into a re­ally great gath­er­ing place.”

Hav­ing a week­end get­away spot wasn’t the only driv­ing force be­hind the cre­ation of the place. Though newly built, the barn has deep roots for the cou­ple. “With both of us be­ing from ru­ral Ne­braska, we had seen these beau­ti­ful old barns dis­ap­pear­ing, and it was heart­break­ing,” Natalie says. “This was our way of bring­ing some his­tory back to life.”

Want­ing as many peo­ple to en­joy the house as pos­si­ble, Jack and Natalie thought­fully de­signed and out­fit­ted the barn with en­ter­tain­ing in mind. Two shared liv­ing ar­eas dom­i­nate the home’s main floor. A kitchen, din­ing and fam­ily room fills on one side of the barn, while the op­po­site side in­cludes a mas­sive great room with a built-in bar, gam­ing area and TV space, com­plete with hy­draulic lift doors and win­dows that open the in­doors to the out­side.

Through­out the home’s ex­pan­sive 4,500 square feet, the easy-flow­ing floor plan of­fers large, open spa­ces for get­to­geth­ers, as well as cozy ar­eas for more in­ti­mate con­ver­sa­tion. “The space is very flex­i­ble,” says Cody Wort­mann, Sand Creek’s mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor. “There’s plenty of room for min­gling, but there are also these lit­tle nooks and hang­out ar­eas all over.”

From top to bot­tom, the barn’s fin­ishes and fur­nish­ings re­in­force the fa­mil­iar, wel­com­ing aes­thetic of the struc­ture it­self. No de­tail has been over­looked. Re­claimed wood, cor­ru­gated tin, iron and stone come along­side cowhide rugs, barn pul­ley-style light fix­tures and vin­tage bar­rel ta­bles. “Our taste is eclec­tic and warm,” Natalie says. “It fits the space.”

The outdoor liv­ing ar­eas are equally invit­ing. An open-air pa­tio, a cov­ered porch and a lean-to that runs the length of the house prac­ti­cally de­mand the cou­ple and their guests sit and stay awhile. “There is some­thing about a porch, a rock­ing chair and beau­ti­ful scenery that is hard to beat,” Natalie says. Clearly, there are plenty of peo­ple who agree. “We have a lot of com­pany; ev­ery­one loves to come here,” she says. “It’s re­ally spe­cial.”

The style of this tim­ber re­treat — with its cov­ered porches, lean-tos and cupo­las — was in­spired by a horse barn in the Grand Te­tons.

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