If you have (or can purchase) a barn, stable or other agricultural building, there is huge potential to create a fabulous new home. While they may appear to be drab on the outside, these buildings typically offer large amounts of space and, if designed and built well, they can be transformed into remarkable homes.
When it comes to barn conversion design, the most important rule is to be ‘true to the building’, otherwise the character and style that a barn conversion offers will be lost. This is also an important factor that local authority planners will take into account.
Another important consideration when converting barns is the use of natural light. Barns often have small openings for ventilation purposes so lack of light can be a problem. They may also have large doorways which may present their own challenges.
On the main elevations, window and door openings will often be restricted (by planners) to those that already exist so you may have to be more creative in finding ways of bringing light into the building. On secondary elevations however, some additional doors and windows may be allowed subject to planning consent.
In order to introduce natural light, barn conversion architects have adopted numerous creative solutions, including:
- adding conservation-style rooflights on less prominent elevations
- using glass pantiles or discreet ridge glazing
- glazing entire gable ends
- applying full-height glazing to large door openings
Designing for open plan living arrangements will also aid in maximising the amount of light entering the internal space.
In 2014, permitted development rights were extended to allow agricultural buildings (e.g. barns) to be converted into homes without the need to apply for full planning permission. However, this concession in planning policy should not be viewed as a guaranteed for every barn conversion project. There are certain rules, restrictions and hoops to jump through in every case, and there’s a possibility that permitted development rights won’t apply to your project at all.
It is important to know whether the building is listed, in which case you need listed buildings consent, and find out if the building is in a conservation area, which will further restrict what changes can be made.
Planners are more likely to approve applications that are sympathetic to the original building’s external appearance and make use of reclaimed or like-for-like materials in the construction.
We would be delighted to help you design your barn conversion. An initial feasibility study is strongly recommended to help understand the options available, avoid costly mistakes and to appreciate costs and timescales.
Please do get in touch and let us help make your dream home a reality.