When I was a kid, I knew a family that lived in a barn conversion. Nearby was their old house, where the farm animals lived. The story was that the farmer, known for his miserly ways, refused to upgrade the family house with climate control and proper plumbing. But, when it came time to build a barn, he spared no expense. His wife saw that the animals were living better than she was, so she moved into the barn, and told her husband he could have the house and the animals.
Today’s barn conversions may not have a funny story behind them, but they often have fascinating stories. The wood, itself, in these old barns often tells of busy farming and ranching chores, with half-moon scrapes on the walls where harness gear has swung, and gouges on the floors from hoofs of cattle, sheep, and horses.
You can almost hear the squeak of pulleys used to hoist bales of hay into the loft. The soft filtered light that once found its way through the siding and roof is now replaced with discreet indirect lighting, but the effect is the same: you feel like you are in a world apart.
The actual scents of hay, feed, molasses, and manure may be long gone, but anyone who has worked in a barn will remember these smells fondly. When you stay in a barn conversion, you may have a rug on the scarred wooden floor, but you are still walking on the same surface trod by many hoofs in years past.
Most barns are tall, providing storage in upper lofts. This makes for a great chance to enjoy high ceilings and skylights in a barn conversion. The battered brick and wood of the building is often cleaned and sealed. This serves a dual purpose: to seal in any odors and to protect the surface from any further wear and tear.
You’ll find different types of barn conversions depending on the part of the country you visit. This is because of the types of farming, crops, and livestock that are important to various locations. The oldest barns used timber framing not Timber cladding. the timber framing has been preserved through the conversion.
Barns listed with English Heritage must be upgraded with only certain changes, with pre-approved materials. When you stay in a barn conversion, the conversion should have been done to preserve as much of the original ambiance of the property as possible. The extent of work done on the place is based on a number of factors outlined by the English Heritage society.
Converting a barn into a living space requires a lot of study and plenty of permits. If you add on to a barn, it has to be done with the same kind of materials, but with modern construction. You also need to make sure that you own or have access to the road leading to your barn.
Whether you are buying a barn for conversion or staying in one for a holiday, you will enjoy the atmosphere and sense of history.