Converting an old barn into a modern home can be a great solution for those of us who would like to experience a new, innovative way to live within the countryside environment. The UK is littered with old, unused barns that are bursting with potential and the wide interior space and high ceilings of a typical barn structure can provide a range of interesting and inventive design ideas. Barn conversions are a great solution for owners of farming estates that are in need of renovation. Barns can provide a much needed extension for an existing home but if their size is big enough you can pretty much create an entirely new house. Converting a barn is a risky endeavour but it’s doable if you follow the right steps, and the end results will be well worth it.
By converting a barn you are effectively saving a historical building from a fate of gradual degradation. However, it is important to note that some barn structures will simply not be suitable for renovation. A barn may look structurally sound on the outside but can contain a host of problems on the inside, such as wood rot, termite infestations or unstable foundations. Before choosing a barn you will have to hire a structural engineer to assess whether or not the barn can be salvaged. If the barn is already starting to fall apart then you may have to tear the whole thing down before rebuilding it, which sort of defeats the purpose of the whole endeavour.
Location is also very important since you probably want your barn to have access to the same energy sources that a typical house would have. If your barn is in a deeply remote part of the countryside then providing the necessary amenities is going to be a real challenge. Barns are usually converted into extensions of an existing house rather than as new homes built from the ground up so the ideal situation would be if the barn is located near a house that you already own, since you will be able to utilise the same energy sources and oversee the barn renovation in relative comfort.
Any changes to the structures of old barns will be regulated by local authorities who prefer that old buildings be converted in order to commercially benefit the local economy rather than for domestic purposes. Thus you will have to convince the authorities that what you’re doing is a good idea in order to get planning permission. Planning officers will also be keen to ensure that the renovated barn is in keeping with the previous design and its surroundings. Therefore, be sure to bring in a reliable architect and use traditional barn-like materials when renovating the exterior. Hire a quality interior designer like Harrowby Designs to ensure a tasteful, rustic interior that is in keeping with your requirements. However, before you do this try to figure out what the space inside the barn will be used for. You can put in a number of extra bedrooms, or utilise the large space and install an indoor gym. Because of the high ceilings a barn can be a great place to throw parties so you might want to consider installing a stage and a well-stocked bar. One thing’s for certain – your newfound space will afford you a wealth of great possibilities.
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