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Barn conversion in grounds of listed Manor

— 12 Aug 2020


The traditional stone barn was engulfed in vegetation. Having fallen into disuse and disrepair, conversion was the optimum solution


The designs for the barn conversion ensured historic features such as the trusses, stonework and agricultural style roof were retained


A previously blocked up opening has been reinstated as a window, preserving the historic integrity of the barn. Photo courtesy of Hiax Preservation


The original angle of the roof has been retained in the design and can be seen disappearing into the distance. Photos courtesy of Hiax Preservation


The barn conversion nearing completion with agricultural style corrugated roof, repointed stonework and dark metal window and door frames. Photo courtesy of Hiax Preservation

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A longstanding client of Jonathan Rhind Architects, for whom we worked on the repair and renovation of a Grade II listed Manor house on the beautiful North Devon coast, recently asked us to help with the conversion of a redundant barn near to the Manor.

The site is particularly challenging with a planning history stretching back 15 years, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and near the North Devon coast path. Our experience of working on historic sites, and relationship with the planning department enabled us to help the client with complex planning issues.

The historic barn is in a courtyard of five barns and a cottage, all of which had fallen into disuse and disrepair. For the smallest barn on the site, a mezzanine floor has been added to make best use of the limited space without increasing the footprint. The design makes use of existing doors and windows as well as reinstating old previously covered openings, to minimise new openings in the historic fabric.

To maintain the agricultural appearance of the barn, a modern corrugated metal roof replaces the former corrugated asbestos covering. Dark coloured guttering and metal windows also help to maintain the agricultural aesthetic.

Our Architectural Technician Darryn Marrs has worked creatively with structural engineers PCA consulting and specialist conservation building firm Hiax Preservation to retain the character of historic trusses and beams using concealed supports. The traditional stone exterior was repointed with lime mortar and the interior lined with an eggcrate type tanking system to keep the internal walls dry in what is a very exposed coastal location.

The conversion of this traditional Devon stone farm building creates a unique unit of accommodation  on a very small footprint in a spectacular southwest location.

It is interesting that several neighbouring farms have diversified in a similar way, with modern farming techniques reducing the need for traditional farm buildings. With new use and clever detailing these heritage buildings can be re-purposed and their character retained in the landscape. Check out our farm diversification page

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