Country houses for sale

Top tips for converting barns and rural buildings

Barn conversions can make ‘magnificent homes with interesting, character rich living spaces,’ according to David Morris, who specialises in barn architecture and building projects at the Savills Lincoln office. ‘With modern building techniques and expert consultants, there is no reason why barn conversions can’t offer a light, stylish and homely place to live,’ he adds.

Ben Pridden, head of Savills York, continues, ‘the best barn conversions are a joy to be in and a pleasure to market. They often achieve premiums in line with any comparable homes in the area.”
Of course, though, there are great barn conversions and some very bad examples – you can end up with some wonderful, open-plan spaces which are perfect for entertaining, or young families, but you can also end up with darker interiors than you’d like, or spaces which don’t lend themselves to their purpose. Follow the below guide, compiled from Savills advice on how to convert barns or rural outbuildings.  

* Wherever possible try to incorporate windows to let in natural light. Barns regularly lack natural openings and so windows are vital.
* Just because barns can be awkwardly shaped, doesn’t mean you are confined by odd spaces.  Quite literally think outside of the box you are working with try to consider clever ways of working with the space. Mezzanine floors can do wonders
* Use your original materials, which help convey a sense of the character of the property.
* Make good use of modern technology. Newer technologies like underfloor heating and high spec glass can provide a unique selling point for potential buyers.
* When buying a barn or farm building from a landowner, there can be some onerous covenants prohibiting further development or change of use and so ensure you have a good solicitor with experience of spotting clauses of this type.

Three barns for sale:

Parkside Farm (above, now under offer) is an extremely attractive block of grassland with a striking and substantial brick barn

This well-executed conversion is an example of how to do things properly, now on the market for £995,000.

Another finished product, Redwood, near Cambridge, has a reed-thatched roof and makes great use of the large space on offer.

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