Our team have recently been asked to convert a barn on the grounds of this Grade II Listed property. The new barn will house a one-bedroom flat, a garage, a wood storage room and a leisure room with vaulted ceilings, kitchen and W/C, so we are very busy here!
Work is now well underway, and there’s lots to see on site. At first, the most noticeable change is the striking new black cladding covering the barn. Initial hopes to keep 15% of the original cladding were sadly lost when it became apparent how rotten the old wood had become. Instead, our team worked to reclad and paint the barn to a high standard, and conserve as much of the rest of the building as possible. The new cladding compliments the historic features of the barn.
Keeping the original doors was always a key goal for us. A lot of work has been done to ensure that the doors can be preserved. We want them to function to a modern day standard, while still displaying the beauty of the past.
New jambs were added around some of the original doors, whenever the old ones were not salvageable. These new beams were carefully constructed to fit around the wonderfully wonky doors.
The history of the barn can really be seen in these old doors, and each one is remarkably unique. During the original construction of the barn, each jamb was numbered to ensure they were erected in the correct order. These roman numerals can still be seen today!
A lot of work has been done inside the barn too…
The first phase of work saw insulation installed into all the walls in the form of TLX Gold, a quilted gold membrane that reflects heat back into the room, and acts a waterproof layer. Our site manager Andy informed me that this material was first used a decade ago on space shuttles! If it can withstand space, we are pretty sure it will keep the barn warm whatever the English weather throws at it.
Next, the walls were covered and plastered.
The plaster was polished, leaving a smooth finish but ensuring there is just enough roughness for the paint to bind to the walls later!
Old buildings (quite rightly!) have very strict fire regulations to adhere to. The addition of a garage to the barn has increased the risk of a fire, and we have been extremely careful to meet safety requirements in this build. Part of this process has given us a glimpse into an old building technique not often seen. To create a safer double layered wall with staggered joints, we had to strip back the walls in what will be the garage. This exposed the back of the interior wall in the adjacent room, where the messy side of the original lime render has been left untouched.
We’ve left beams exposed throughout the barn. They’re so characterful, and it would be a shame to hide them behind plasterboard! Our team has worked hard to keep as many beams on show as possible for our client. The smaller original beams in the W/C wall, for example, have meant that the new wall has had to be specifically constructed to a thinner depth than usual. This will ensure the beams are still visible around the new wall.
Original iron fittings have been saved in every room, and add a great sense of character to the building. We have found a real variety of old hooks and fixtures throughout the barn. Some of them still have us wondering what exactly they were for! The rope wound round an old beam in the wood storage, for example, has us all guessing as to it’s purpose… We’ll leave it in place for others to do the same in the future. All the fittings are relics of the barns history, and have been retained to celebrate its working past.
Once the walls were plastered, and the beams and fittings were protected, we could start decorating the interior.
The English Listed are proud users of English Heritage approved Little Greene paints. The colours Little Greene produce are based on real paints found in historic properties from a range of eras. We’re using Portland Stone Pale (155) throughout the barn, a light neutral colour that will really compliment the old beams.
This finished wall shows the wooden pegs that Conservation highlighted as important to keep.
Once the paint had dried, the new lights could be fitted in the vaulted ceiling and the scaffolding removed. The light shades were carefully sourced to compliment the feel of the space, and they will be fitted with heritage bulbs to create a warm light in the main barn.
The windows, doors and stairs have also been fitted throughout the barn. The new doors and windows flood the space with light, and have all been made to fit each historical frame perfectly.
Construction is nearly complete, and our team will carry on working hard to add the finishing touches to create a beautiful, fresh space that values the heritage of the barn while offering the comforts and high quality design of modern living. Final updates and photos will be posted soon!