On the lookout for your dream countryside home? A barn conversion might be perfect for you. Barn conversions are an easy way around the planning restrictions that can make building your own home from scratch challenging. Plus they come with the added bonuses of having historical charm and plenty of character. Embarking on a renovation project can be hugely rewarding (wouldn't it be nice to wake up to idyllic views every morning?), but there are a number of important aspects to keep in mind beforehand. Here's what you need to know.
Have Realistic Budget Expectations
Good-quality barn conversions don't come cheap. A lot needs to be done to convert an agricultural building into a liveable home, including weather-proofing, insulation and improving comfort. These renovations need to be undertaken whilst preserving the structure of the original building as much as possible, in order to retain its heritage and the character that led you to fall in love with it in the first place. Unless your barn is in perfect condition to begin with, it's likely that additional costs will come up as work progresses, so factor these into your budget.
Ensure You Have Planning Permission
This step should be done as early as possible, to avoid any nasty surprises. Internal alterations are generally permitted, but there may be restrictions for other changes.
Choose The Right Designer
It might be tempting to go down the DIY route, don't. Hiring the services of a good architect is crucial to the success of your conversion. Your renovation needs to maximise space and work with the original building, and so the design phase can be even more difficult than that of a new build. Take your time to find the right person, and look at their previous work to make sure it fits with your style.
Retain Your Building's Character
Some ways to keep the unique character of your building include leaving brick walls exposed, retaining original wooden beams or timber cladding, and designing around stonework in order to highlight the building's best features.
Whilst you'll want to retain the main features of your barn (and retaining its character may be a condition of your planning permission), adding contemporary design can elevate the original building to a unique, beautiful – and very saleable – home. Whether it's floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a suspended floor, or a sleek modern extension, don't be afraid to play around with ideas.