Acreage Life – Fall 2007


This impressive barn has plenty of space for horses and hay, antiques and quilters. It’s a place of serenity, even though there may be Nickelback jam sessions going on nearby.

—Michael Raine

MARIANNE GORIUK and her fiancé, Chad Kroeger, needed a new barn. “Chad turned the last one into a recording studio,” she explains. “We didn’t have any place for the horses.” Home for Goriuk and Kroeger, lead singer of the acclaimed Canadian band Nickelback, is a 20-acre property near Abbotsford, British Columbia. Goriuk raises horses, and they needed a barn that would meet the needs of both the animals and their owners.


The resulting multi-purpose structure does both, Kroeger says. “It’s meant you don’t have to be in the house to entertain. You can be away from folks out here, too. It’s out space.”

The designer, architect Ernest Neudorf of Envision Design Works Inc., worked with the couple to create a building resembling the barns the pair recall from their youths in Alberta. There are also hints of a more sophisticated mountain ranch style, popular in B.C.’s lower mainland and the American mountain west.

“There’s a little classic English horse barn thrown in,” Neudorf says. “There were rumours that it was made in England or someplace and was shipped in.” Kroeger gives Goriuk credit for leading the design process. “It’s an Alberta barn. No B.S., it works hard and it looks great.”

Goriuk created the interior spaces, choosing country finishes and features that resulted in the spirit of an older building, embodied in a new one.


“We had spotted another barn under construction up the road, and asked who the designer was,” she says. “We got Ernest into the project from the planning stage, and that resulted in a building that reflected our plans. I think it would be easy to go wrong in making a building too much barn or too little, and forget about horse care and things like an office for records, or just having lunch after chores.”

Neudorfand Goriuk continually amended the barn during construction. The architect says the process of working with the local builder, Adam Woods, of Tundra Developments, allowed him and his client to make changes at night while the barn was under construction during the day.

“I live near here and she’s on site,” Neudorf says. “Adam is nearby. So every step received a good examination to ensure they got what they wanted. We really wanted it to serve the couple’s need for a barn and some privacy.”

With a recording studio next to the house, Goriuk says, there is a constant stream of visitors coming and going. That’s only to be expected, given Nickelback’s rising star: the band has won nine Juno awards and sold more than eight million albums worldwide. Last June, Nickelback was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame.


Having the barn with some private space in the loft gives Goriuk and her friends a place to “hang out away from business,” she says.

“It’s like anybody with a business that is based at home. Where do you go to get away, especially when you’re busy? We have the barn.”

A quilter, Goriuk has made the loft a place where “a girlfriend or two can sit and sew and be out of the fray. It’s been dubbed ‘The Convent.’ The boys are up at the house and the studio. The girls are here in the loft.”

The loft also serves as an extra bedroom. “My parents love to be out here,” she says. “The loft has its own balcony, great for breakfast or someplace to read.”

Reclaimed wood from an old Ontario barn gives the ambience of an older structure inside. Scott Landon of Old Canada Country Antiques in Vancouver sourced this material. The loft also incorporates doors and windows from Goriuk’s first home, a vintage farmhouse near Camrose, Alberta.

The barn’s exterior is board and batten cedar. Interior doors are fir, while cedar, fir and spruce are found throughout. The hardware, designed by Neudorf, was custom-made.

Ernest Neudorf

“Every step received a good examination to ensure they got what they wanted. We really wanted it to serve the couple’s need for a barn and some privacy”


“Marianne and Chad wanted a timber frame look, but a practical, stick-built design,” he explains. “So it’s two-by-six construction and scissor trusses for the roof. It costs 30 percent less than comparable timber frame.”

The 39-by-78-foot, four-stall barn yields more than 6,000 square feet on two levels. It’s now home to three horses, including two miniatures. Also in residence is a dog that technically belongs to the neighbours but calls the barn home “at least half the time,” Goriuk says, adding, “It’s a calm place to be, people say. And the animals like it, too.”

The loft is sheer comfort at either end. Often people wander from the rustically furnished side to the working hayloft side.

“We end up sitting here, leaning against the bales having a few drinks on warm days as often as we do sitting on the other side when the weather is cold,” Goriuk says. The hayloft overlooks a salmon stream that feeds into the nearby Fraser River, and the lights of the town of Mission.

“We could have had more stalls and less other space,” she admits. “But with this we can park my mower tractor in here, and it gives us all the amenities we need along with more storage.”

What lessons did they learn from creating this barn?

“I’d encourage anyone thinking about adding a barn to consider their whole acreage or farm, and what their needs really are,” Goriuk says. “You might be surprised about what you decide to build.”