Country Sanctuary


When Paula’s father, George Kelley, retired and announced plans to move to the country, together the Kelleys and the Mitcherlings came up with the perfect plan. They would build a barn on the three acres of pasture next to the Mitcherlings’ house, with the upper level serving as a home for the Kelleys and the lower level as a stable for the horses.

We chose a bank barn because bank barns are cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, because it’s half underground,” Paula Mitcherling explains. They hired an Amish group, Sylvan Stoltzfus Builders, to erect the frame for a German style barn with a 4-foot overshot on the front, built into the side of a hill.

Simple materials such as iron, stone and wood give the barn a rustic feel. The siding is white pine board and batten stained a pale gray, and the standing seam metal roof sports a cupola and a deer weather vane (a little link back to the property’s name).

“I love the rustic outlook of the building,” says John Mitcherling. “It looks like it’s been here for 100 years, even though it’s very modem.”

Stacked stone forms the base and pillars of the barn, stretching out in a bluestone-capped path to the patio. Custom ironwork tops the stone wall, with real horseshoes from one of the Mitcherlings’ horses cast into the fence and a stone horse head mounted onto the first-floor retaining wall.

The bottom level, with Southern yellow pine walls and a recycled rubber floor, acts as a working stable with three stalls where horses can enjoy top-notch amenities: air conditioning and heating, an automatic water fly spray system, a sprinkler system and even rotating feeding doors. “We actually have the sound system in the barn” says Paula Mitcherling, laughing. “Horses like music, too.”

“We spent a lot of time on the details there,” says Sylvan Stoltzfus, the Amish contractor. “The first floor of that barn where the horses are was nice enough to live in.”

The Mitcherlings hired another contracting company, Lin-Mar Homes, to finish the Kelleys’ living quarters upstairs. They aimed for a clean-lined modern look, with state-of-the-art everything. “It’s a very contemporary, updated feel, and that really contrasts with the outside,” says John Mitcherling.

A stacked stone fireplace, white couch and flat screen TV adorn hardwood oak floors and tan walls. The kitchen features stainless steel appliances, a granite countertop and cherry cabinets. The large center living space was designed to let in an abundance of light and air, with a vaulted ceiling and a row of glass doors leading to the patio providing a view of the pasture. “There’s a breeze blowing through there all the time,” says John Mitcherling. “It’s just a beautiful setting.”

After about a year and a half of work, the barn was completed in 2007, and the Kel¬leys moved in. At some point, the Mitcherlings’ two horses will join them. “The fact that we can all live here in a symbiotic relationship makes it a true sanctuary for all of us,” says John Mitcherling.


“We asked them what they wanted to have in the loft – and  of all things, they said they wanted a disco ball. So we have a disco ball in  our barn.”

  • Architect Wes Burton, Burton Pfund Architecture, 410-321-5957
  • Exterior Construction Sylvan Stoltzfus, Sylvan Stoltzfus Builders, 717.929.0230
  • Interior Construction AI Fyle, Lin-Mar Homes, Fallston, 410-557-7322,

STYLE MagazineBy Lauren Seibert (November  2009)