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Modernization of a converted barn

Suppose you want a country home with lots of character, yet with a foot firmly planted in the modern world. There’s only one sensible choice: it’s a barn conversion. These types of properties have become increasingly popular in recent years, due in part to changes in farming that have seen many barns go into hibernation.

A good barn conversion should maintain the existing style and appeal of the building while adding many modern touches. After all, if you tear the whole thing down and start over, then it’s not really a barn conversion.

Let’s go through a few tips for effective modernization.

Make the best use of the available height

One of the distinguishing features of a barn is that it is large with plenty of overhead space. This sense of verticality runs through the ceilings, the windows and the doors. Ideally, you should use the existing attic, bay and stable doors. This allows you to create impressive views of the surrounding landscape and let in plenty of natural light.

Reclaim existing features

Barns, like all older properties, have distinct visual quirks that should be emphasized rather than hidden. For example, the original floors and walls could be stripped down to bare wood or brickwork. Structural elements such as beams should be kept as visible as possible.

Incorporating reclaimed materials into the redesign could help keep the space cohesive. Pieces of furniture and decorative elements do not have to come from the original building: as long as they all seem to belong together, the effect can be amazing.

Make the most of the layout

Barns are typically laid out differently than purpose-built homes, with large vaulted ceilings and open spaces being the main features. Whenever possible, try to maintain a “hands-off” approach to your customizations: make sure that as much of the original character as possible shines through.

The bedroom

With most barn conversions, you’ll find a neutral or even all-white color scheme in the bedroom that works best. This allows you to draw attention to these original features. A wooden beam stands out in a pastel colored room, especially if you have treated it with the right finish.

Barns tend to be awkward when it comes to storage space, which is why looking for a custom storage space is imperative. Floor to ceiling bookshelves and built-in closets could work beautifully, especially if the ceiling is really high.

The kitchen

Kitchen rooms usually benefit greatly from high ceilings. Rustic elements like flagstones and beams are more suited to a vintage kitchen than a modern one. You could also try to incorporate structural elements into the function of the kitchen itself: if there is already a suitable cavity for a large open fire, you can use it.

Go for skylights

In a barn, you’re likely to find a lot of sloping roof space overhead, which can look a little dingy if you don’t let in natural light. Modern skylights work beautifully here. Since you will be using a lot of glass in your conversion, it is worth paying attention to the quality of the insulation. Check out the BRFC ratings and choose accordingly.

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