A Barn Conversion – Photo Courtesy: Sum Doood
Well designed country barn conversions are the epitome of stylish building. It brings the old into the new, and the disused into use.
Contemporary vs Traditional
If you are converting a barn that you own, you’ll want to think of ways to make the interior feel contemporary and yet retain its historical atmosphere; so that the juxtaposition of interior and exterior styles really makes a beautiful design statement.
For a very contemporary vibe, remember to add in exquisite finishing and details, the latest technology like underfloor heating, and of course open plan living space. Think about the light in the barn and whether it is north or south facing; this will be very important when you are deciding where to place your windows and how big they ought to be.
You should also (obviously) take into account the original features of the barn. So, if it has some beautiful timber frames, then get them restored, or if it has miraculously got an old stove, have it re-installed. Consider having some open brick on show inside your house,
Barn Decorating Ideas
When decorating barn conversion homes, you might want to take into account your country surroundings, and bring influences into your interiors from your exteriors. For example, wooden furniture is a great way to compliment a country home situated near a wood or in an area where wood is naturally prevalent. Flowers are a great home accessory all year round, but especially in the spring and summer.
Architectural barn conversions will require a more modern approach to interior design, with sharper edges and cleaner lines. Big statements need to be made, so large barn style interior doors and fantastic big country windows will demonstrate your effortless and chic home style.
Old interior styles like American colonial rooms’ style or English cottage designs can be a great influence, as well as a method of retaining the character and historical atmosphere of a property. Keep this design inspiration in mind when deciding on what kitchens and bathrooms you will have installed.
If your barn conversion is in Europe, then you’ll want interior decor that reminds visitors of the country they are in. For example, if the conversion is in Tuscany, then you could replicate a traditional Tuscan interior with strong earthy colors and indoor stonework, keeping to a neutral palette and sensuously simple styling.
The furniture you choose for your converted barn needs to reflect your own taste and personal style. Make sure you know what this is, by searching through interior design books and websites, and writing down or keeping anything that inspires you.
Barn Conversion Costs & Planning
The hardest part of any building conversion is no doubt obtaining the permission, following construction regulations and getting finance approval. So make sure that you have thoroughly thought through everything, and hired the necessary people to make sure that your building is legal.
Begin by deciding on a budget and planning out the likely costs. Factor in things like: planning fees, equipment hire (tools, scaffold, skip), structural engineer payment, insurance, building costs (inc. electrician, plumber, plasterer, etc), construction materials…Make sure that you give yourself at least an extra twenty per cent margin for overspending.
Hiring an architect will be your first step in the building process, so make sure that you choose the right one: this will be someone who you know you can trust in any eventuality. Give him ideas as to what sort of styles you like, take cuttings from magazines and brochures to hint at a favorite style.
Helpful websites if you are considering converting a barn or want to recreate the atmosphere:
Julians Barn – A really helpful site, that lists all the costs incurred in the conversion of his barn, as well as detailed photographs of the work in progress – A great resource for anyone wanting to start their own barn conversion.
Pottery Barn – The home accessories and old, vintage style furniture make Pottery Barn one of the most gorgeous places to buy home furnishings for any country house or barn conversion. They deliver to the US and the UK via their website, and they have such a wide range of items to choose from, you are sure to find something you love!
I love barn conversions, and it’s so much fun decorating them and creating your own period property style. Rustic furniture, with natural exposed slats is perfect to complete the kitchen decor, and lately I’ve seen many designs ideas, where this kind of dining tables are being matched together with contemporary plastic chairs – and this look really works! It ties the old and the new, and with the barn conversion project, that’s what you want, preserve the old charm, but bring to the XXI century for a modern feel. Like this late Victorian Pembroke Table, try it with simple Ikea chairs in variety of colours, you’ll be amazed how well it all looks together: