The hollowed-out shell of a barn offers high ceilings, a lofty sense of airiness and, most importantly, enough space to create an easy-flow, open-plan area that invites laid-back living. It’s the reason a number of resourceful homeowners have converted old barns into beautiful modern homes.
From a 200-year-old countryside build in Rhode Island to a light and airy transformation in Yorkshire, these barn conversions show just how cool living modern farm-style can be.
New York barn, USA
Just along the Hudson Valley in New York there lies a tiny hamlet called Tivoli. It’s got that real small-town ambience that celebrates the history of the area, while along the main road, residents and visitors pack out restaurants and cafes, galleries and shops.
It’s in this little village that you’ll find the three-storey converted barn belonging to creative producer Bruna and designer/builder Andrew, who rent the space out on Airbnb. After the birth of their child, the couple moved to the Hudson Valley to get back in touch with nature, and at this sprawling cabin-style home, you’re never far away from the scent of freshly chopped wood, the crackle of a fire, or the burble of the nearby Hudson.
Norfolk barn, UK
Retaining the character of the existing shed was crucial to Carl Turner Architects when they took on the extensive conversion of Ochre Barn in Norfolk. The property comprises two barn structures, one new and one a transformation. The facade of Ochre Barn was largely left intact, with the architects working inside to revive the space, bringing light and air in using some clever architectural tricks, such as inserting windows back, behind the brickwork, which also exposes its original features. As for the new build – aptly named Stealth Barn – which mirrors the design of its predecessor, Carl Turner tells Dwell, ‘The idea was to take the archetypal black tar-painted agricultural building and make an almost childlike icon of that.’
Yorkshire barn, UK
Snook Architects worked to revive a tumbledown barn in Yorkshire. From the inside the space is almost unrecognisable as an 18th-century build, with sleek finishes and modern furniture. The immense loftiness however tells a different story. ‘Spatially we wanted to retain the spirit of the place by allowing the barn to reveal itself and its double-height volume at key points,’ architect Neil Dawson told Dezeen. A state-of-the-art kitchen is an exercise in blending new and old, and it’s the heart of this home, where families can gather near the stone fireplace.
Boston barn, USA
Becky Bermont and Alex Benik’s home in Boston started life as three 19th-century barns that Mid-Century Modern architect Henry B. Hoover converted into a residence in the ’50s. In its latest form, reinvented once again, this time by Aamodt/Plumb Architects, it’s an updated modernist masterpiece, nodding to the building’s history while using chic design touches – ash wood floors, a Japanese-inspired cedar screen… – to bring it into the present.
Read about a 16th-century barn that was converted into a home and studios in our September 2016 issue.