I always loved old timber barns having grown up on a farm estate. Playing with the hay and running around the barn in the summers were my favorite pass times as a child. However, I actually never imagined living in one. This was until I stumbled upon the amazing redesigns on the internet of much older barns than the one I had that have been converted to homes. To cut the long story short, after much tedious work, I successfully managed to convert my old barn into a house. That said, and having lived in my barn come house for close to four years now, I would like to put forward the pros and cons of the whole process having tasted the bitter sweet of it.
To start with, customizing old barns to homes can be likened to Marmite; its either you love them or hate them. Much of the views on this are affected by the way we tend to view the tradeoffs between advantages of living in converted barns and the shortcomings in relation to living in conventional homes. If what you are looking for is something comfy with bantam rooms, then a barn is just not for you.
The main advantage of barn conversions to homes, and this has to be stressed, is the sheer space and volume that comes with it. The open plan areas and high ceilings bring in a great impression of freedom and space. Consequently, barn conversions are more appealing to the moderate modern thinkers and downsizers due to the availability of space for their big furniture.
It is also of importance to note that local authorities may put restrictions on conversions, ultimately resulting in unconventional layouts or overly sized sleeping and living areas. Authority planners often insist on the central bay of the structure being left at full heights. This results in designs with the main bedroom being located at one end of the building and the other bedroom on the opposite end. This design setting will favor adult couples who need independent guest bedrooms at a distance from the main bedroom. This case is on the other hand unsuitable for young families with children where a parent needs to be keep a closer look at the children.
Old barn conversions may tend to be expensive to heat as a result of the large horse or equine stalls and the lack of good thermal efficiency. However, innovations in building technology have made barns to be quite thermal efficient, some even more efficient than houses constructed in the same period as the given barns.
One of the major admonitions given against barn conversions has got to be the emotional and financial cost associated with converting the barn by yourself. Conversion costs may in some instances be higher than the cost required to put up a building from scratch and may still not return the cost fully when resold. Nonetheless, there are ready-converted barns that cost much less than conventional houses of similar size. This has made more of the barn lovers to go for the already converted barns.
All said and done, the pros and cons of living in a barn depend much with the design of the given building and how well the conversion work has been done.