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 get-togethers, 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.”
Timber Frame Details
Square Footage: 4,500Timber Provider: Sand Creek Post & Beam, 888-489-1680; sandcreekpostandbeam.com