Moo-ving forward with barn conversions
While we expect to see more and more home offices creeping into self-build designs as we move into 2021, another trend that we’ve seen more of this year is an increase in barn conversions.
As people are recognising the benefits of living outside the city, converting a barn offers a perfect opportunity to build your dream home amongst idyllic countryside.
With a sensitive approach to design and construction, it is possible to protect the original character of the structure, while creating a beautiful house, fit for modern living.
When it comes to a barn conversion, there are additional challenges to consider – working around an existing structure can be tricky, especially if it wasn’t originally built to be a dwelling; and most farm buildings are uninsulated, so significant work will need to be done to upgrade the thermal performance of the finished home.
On the plus side, these structures can offer unique features, such as double-height space, old beams, beautiful stonework and timber cladding, which make them so aesthetically pleasing.
The results of these stunning buildings make any difficulties worthwhile. At Frame Technologies, we love nothing more than a project with a challenge to overcome. In fact, rather than challenges, we like to think of them as opportunities.
One of our favourite barn conversions is Leadon Dale in Herefordshire. When our client Nigel Box approached us, 70% of the companies that he had approached had been put off by the existing structure. Our motto is ‘if it can be drawn, it can be built’, so we set to work.
From cattle to cosy
The barn had historically been used for winter housing of beef cattle and hay storage, so we needed to think about efficiency and insulation to convert the steel-framed agricultural barn and concrete yard into a sensitively integrated but contemporary three bedroom home.
Frame Technologies created a unique timber solution to overcome the challenges that the barn presented – mainly building within the confines of the existing structure. We worked around the steel frames, integrating architectural drawings and additional client design requests to create a barn conversion that blends into its natural surroundings, retaining its agricultural theme using an innovative timber system and cement timber-effect cladding boards.
We used our TechVantage™ S system, which comprises a 140mm panel with glass mineral wool insulation that is tightly packed between a sheathing board and a wood fibre board. The system uses a breathable wall principle with natural insulation, delivering a wall U-value of 0.14 W/m2K. Nigel was keen to get the benefit of solar gain, so we combined the system’s excellent thermal properties with the solar gain from the south-facing glazing.
One challenge was to erect the wall panels and integrate the existing steel trusses of the old building with the roof zone of the new building. We achieved this using an engineered rafter, sheathing and roof sheets that matched the existing design.
While the existing frame created additional work when it came to the design, it offered its own advantages during the build process. The roof covering was particularly useful, allowing for the groundworks to be done in the dry regardless of the weather, and providing a protected spot for deliveries. The concrete floor came in handy for scaffolding, and also helped when walking around the build – which also resulted in a much cleaner site.