Next summer we are planning to build a 36'x36' barn. Originally, I wanted a barn to store hay in, have a tack room, have a two stalls to bring in a couple of horses in for vet care, farrier visits, tacking up in the cold and if they are sick. Our horses live outside all year round and like it, so we wouldn't be stabling them often. The barn will also be located fairly close to our house, so it will need to look good and be kept spotless.
Since winter is coming and the barn won't go up until next summer, I have purchased two portable 12x20 structures for hay storage. Last year I used a hay tarp over the stack placed on pallets, but having to shovel snow off the tarp was a pain, so we bought the structures. In the past, I have also always stored and fed my hay well away from the house, keeping the aroma from spring melt manageable.
So here is my question. Would you suggest continuing with the plan to build a barn large enough for hay storage and move winter feeding closer to the barn, or would you store the hay away from the barn, and build a smaller barn? If I go with a smaller structure, I can put more money into a concrete alley and nicer stalls. A larger structure would be a pole building with dirt floor and simpler stalls. Also, I wonder if storing hay in the barn will help keep it warmer in winter (we aren't going to heat it), or if it poses too much of a fire hazard, or if feeding closer to the house will create a mess in the spring.
What would you do?