Building Type:

Located just over two hours from Chicago, The Barn at Hornbaker Gardens, is a large event center that combines the rustic charm of a weathered barn with the grandeur of a gorgeous expansive interior. The Barn also happened to be an ideal application for a post-frame building.


What the Hornbakers wanted:

Owners Rich and Kathy Hornbaker had already established a thriving garden center and nursery on their 40 acres in rural Illinois. Their hard work also helped create a beautiful spot, and they began getting requests to hold weddings there. Building an event center seemed like a natural next step.

The Hornbakers wanted an attractive barn-like structure that would fit with the countryside. They also wanted it to be large enough to hold around 350 people. But what type of building would work best?

As it turned out, their initial plans for a timber-frame building just weren’t feasible.

“The expense was phenomenal. The only way we could afford what we wanted was to go with a Wick-type building.”  – Rich Hornbaker


What was special about the project:

Although the Hornbakers opted for the much more economical choice of a post-frame building, that decision didn’t mean making compromises on what they ultimately wanted.

On the contrary, the post-frame building actually allowed for higher walls, a higher roofline, and a vast interior space with very few support columns—all features that help make The Barn the stunning event center that it is.

“Everybody just loves The Barn. It’s an easy sell when we get a couple to look at it.” – Rich Hornbaker


What was tricky:

Achieving an attractive but weathered-looking exterior can be challenging, especially when constructing a new building.

The beautiful wood finish was possible because, first, the post-frame construction is wood. To achieve this kind of look with steel construction, another building option, you’d need to build an additional skeleton on top of the steel structure to provide a surface for attaching the wood.

The Hornbakers mixed their own special stain to create an older appearance, and their crew applied it to the cedar siding.


Who helped build it:

Andersen Statewide Buildings, part of the Wick Buildings network of independent builders, was selected for the project. Owner Rick Andersen estimates he was able to cut the timber-frame bid nearly in half.

Rick was thankful for the opportunity to work on the project, and is more than pleased with the outcome.

“I’ve been doing this 42 years, and you’re always hoping to get a project like this. It’s great knowing that this is a building that’s going to be used and enjoyed for a long time.” – Rick Anderson


Why Wick Buildings was the right choice:

As one of the nation’s largest producers of post-frame buildings, Wick understands how these structures provide real-world advantages to customers. For the Hornbakers, selecting a Wick building was way more than than a cost-feasible option.

They ultimately could get what they wanted because post-frame structures allow for features that are ideal for an event center. A 90’ span with few obstructions is a great example.

More than that, Wick uses superior products and engineering. The exterior steel roofing will provide at least 40 years of protection for the facility. And because Wick uses only machine graded or machine evaluated lumber for all structural components, the owners will have less maintenance down the road.


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