A barn conversion is usually a former large farm outbuilding, used chiefly for storing food stuffs such as hay and grain but also for housing livestock and even farm or agricultural equipment.
Why Do People Love Barn Conversions?
These structures are, with increasing frequency, adapted from a farm building to become residential houses or in some instances commercial premises. They are usually snapped up if the barn conversion has been done well and sympathetically.
Barns can have a variety of uses so they tend to be unique, which adds to their appeal as they help people express their individuality.
They have continued to become very popular, principally for their open plan living style combined with their countryside setting, a common consequence of their former use. Besides wooden features or beautiful brickwork they usually have vaulted ceilings, which give a lovely sense of space inside.
Making a Barn Your Home
Prior to any such building being adapted or converted there is a rigorous planning process to get what is termed, ‘change of use’ before you can even think about altering a barn.
Planning permission and listed building consent are authorised by the local planning authority, which is therefore best placed to provide advice concerning work on all types of traditional farm buildings.
Local planning authorities often produce their own guidance (supplementary planning documents) which usually offers detailed recommendations about design features of proposed conversions. Such guidance provides a regional perspective on the key characteristics and local distinctiveness of farmstead types and their immediate settings, as well as examples of good practice.
If you are selecting a barn to renovate yourself, you will need to like the barn as it is, as you will be expected to retain its agricultural character. Planning permission will not enable you to alter the barn too much, so extensions and garages are unlikely. Local advice from professionals is crucial.
It is also important to have a structural survey to make sure that the foundations will be strong enough for your plans and modern day living. There is often a need for major underpinning, which can be expensive and time consuming. Other considerations include getting electricity to your new home, the possible need for sceptic tanks as well as insulation and ensuring enough light without installing ugly UPVC windows; inadequate light in barns may be a real problem.
Making a barn conversion into your dream home may take time, as well as a great deal of expense. However, there are many fine examples of former agricultural buildings, and coach houses, which have been converted and adapted well, with stunning effect.
If you have your heart set on such a property we will help you find a beautiful example, whether you are converting your own or moving into one already converted.