The British Barn House with an Eccentric Twist

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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This amazingly contemporary eco-home has been built on the grounds of a 19th century property called Oast House, which has been the client’s home for 25 years. Looking ahead to retirement, the couple have no desire to remain in a large an unmanageable home and as such, asked their design team to create something that would be low maintenance, sustainable, accessible and flexible. With this in mind, a perfect home for two has been created, that could also be extended to welcome visiting family members with ease.

What has been created is nothing short of stunning, yet also eminently practical, a combination that so rarely partners perfectly, but the house is a wonderfully visual dialogue of compromise and consideration. Flooded with natural light at all times of the day, the woodburner brings warmth and cosiness at night and boasting two bedrooms and bathrooms, both of which are suitable for disabled access, the house is welcoming and accepting of anyone who enters, so let's take a look!

Modern marvel

Front elevation of ​Bourne Lane eco-house in Kent: modern Houses by Nash Baker Architects Ltd
Nash Baker Architects Ltd

Front elevation of ​Bourne Lane eco-house in Kent

Nash Baker Architects Ltd

A modern eco-house, this design from Nash Baker Architects was conceived to be a contemporary interpretation of the Kentish barn style with characteristic black timber cladding. There is no doubt whatsoever that the brief has been fulfilled, but with an eccentric twist that has onlookers wanting to know a little more. 

An unusual shape, the building manages to blend into the surrounding landscape with consideration and respect for the heritage of other homes in the area, through the use of locally sourced materials and a reverence that can only come from an in depth familiarity for the location. Beautiful!

Clever touches

Detail of the front elevation of ​Bourne Lane eco-house in Kent: modern Houses by Nash Baker Architects Ltd
Nash Baker Architects Ltd

Detail of the front elevation of ​Bourne Lane eco-house in Kent

Nash Baker Architects Ltd

Though this home is not too overlooked, privacy will always be a key part of any home build and we are in love with these seemingly delicate slats that break up the view and offer much needed shade in the hot summer months. 

Coordinating perfectly with the horizontal cladding of the buildings themselves, these red slats, rather than drawing excessive attention to themselves, simply meld with the frontage and reinforce linear striations and schemes, while preventing the house from feeling too over exposed.

Amazing angles

Rear elevation of ​Bourne Lane eco-house in Kent at twilight: modern Houses by Nash Baker Architects Ltd
Nash Baker Architects Ltd

Rear elevation of ​Bourne Lane eco-house in Kent at twilight

Nash Baker Architects Ltd

With the main open plan living area lit up at night, we can begin to get a real sense of exactly how interesting and beautiful the house is, with one of the two barn-like structures exhibiting a truly unusual shape. With skinny frames supporting the gargantuan amount of heavy duty insulating glazing, the house remains inviting, not combative or defensive.

The cream interior can been seen working in beautiful harmony with great swathes of natural wood and though not decorated, the potential of this home is undeniable. In fact, it already looks like a home, not simply an empty shell.

Long lines

​The open plan kitchen and living room at the Bourne Lane Eco House. : modern Living room by Nash Baker Architects Ltd
Nash Baker Architects Ltd

​The open plan kitchen and living room at the Bourne Lane Eco House.

Nash Baker Architects Ltd

Moving inside the larger of the two 'barns', we come to this fabulous open plan kitchen and living room area, complete with an amazing double height ceiling. Having been treated with lime, the wood will never 'yellow' as it ages and will continue to blend with the cream walls to instil a sense of quiet and calm that any retired couple will naturally seek out. 

Overlooking the garden and terrace, this room, as the main living area, has naturally been enveloped in natural light at every opportunity, with kitchen-specific skylights working their magic to prevent the lower section feeling too dark in contrast to the bright lounge section. How stunning. 

Simply stylish

​A bathroom at Bourne Lane House: modern Bathroom by Nash Baker Architects Ltd
Nash Baker Architects Ltd

​A bathroom at Bourne Lane House

Nash Baker Architects Ltd

It must be a slight burden, decorating a house that is so effortlessly beautiful and stylish on the outside! We know we'd feel the pressure, but what has been achieved inside the eco-house is nothing short of lovely. Simple lines, clean finishes and modern chic are the order of the day and this high-end, elegant bathroom is the perfect demonstration of pared back design at play.

The simple shower screen, coupled with an all white suite and chrome accents just works so well that we can't imagine anything else even being a possibility. Everything seems to be naturally and organically geared towards relaxation, calm and quiet, so much so that we are actually whispering right now!

Attention to detail

​The Douglas Fir staircase and flooring in the hall at Bourne Lane House in Kent:  Corridor & hallway by Nash Baker Architects Ltd
Nash Baker Architects Ltd

​The Douglas Fir staircase and flooring in the hall at Bourne Lane House in Kent

Nash Baker Architects Ltd

Here we see more lime-treated wood, this time in the entrance hall and up through the stairwell and you can't deny the impact it has, both visually and emotionally. A space as calm as this naturally lends itself to relaxing inhabitants and encouraging a slower, more reasoned pace of life and as such, we think this is an unbeatable retirement property. Every proportion has been thought about and having been built to Code for Sustainable Homes (level 4) and Lifetime Homes standards, the eco-credentials cannot be questioned. Just wonderful!

If you are a fan of eco-homes and are thinking about building one yourself, take a look at this Ideabook: Eco-Home in Hertfordshire. We think you'll be blown away by what has been built!

Would you love to live in a home like this? Tell us which part of the build was your favourite and why!
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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