To the Dream Manor Born

Amy  Buxton Amy Buxton
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Barn conversions are fast becoming one of the most popular home project incarnations in the UK and when you see what can be achieved, there is little wonder! A great way to access large volumes of space, with open plan living being a natural choice, these incredible developments are never far from our minds when we need a little inspiration. 

The team behind this particular project acknowledge it as, ’A sensitive conservation project in which the exterior of a 17th Century Grade II listed barn was restored and its interior transformed into a state-of-the art contemporary dwelling. The exterior design respects the architectural and historic interest of the building and the use of minimal fenestration and an innovative glazing system ensures that there is no loss to the original timber structure. The generous open plan lounge and dining room occupy the full height of the building and the original timbers are clearly visible. An important feature of the design is the sweeping view from the first floor library/gallery from which it is possible to see the full length of the barn and appreciate the pleasing proportions of the intact 17th Century structure.’

It already sounds like something that needs to be seen to be fully understood, appreciated and believed, so let's do exactly that by taking a peek!

Big and beautiful

The outside of this amazing barn conversion gives little away. We can see it must have been a sensitive, large scale project, but from this deceptively modest exterior, there is little to prepare us for what the Lee Evans Partnership have created. 

The sheer enormity of the property intrigues us and the careful lighting makes us wonder what the inside could be like, but this naturally inquisitive nature does little to prepare us for the intensity of the interior. Are you intrigued enough to keep reading? Then let's take a look!

A speechless response

We really are lost for words as to how we can even begin to describe and evaluate this interior! We might have been anticipating some exposed beams, but that is about as far as we got! We certainly weren't ready for a cacophony of contemporary design elements, mixed in with heritage items, but that's exactly what we have found.

While glass and brushed metal are working their magic, so too are more old fashioned elements of the building, with a dramatic vaulted ceiling and traditional artwork countering the modernity at each turn. Is this a home, an art gallery or a fabulous mixture of the two? Who knows, but we do know that we love it!

Pièce de résistance

Stepping back and taking in the entire barn in one view really does leave us with little doubt that this was a well executed and detailed project. Just look at the sheer amount of space that this open plan layout affords the residents! 

A huge living/dining room area, we think it's lovely that the bedrooms and kitchen are nowhere to be seen, as this keeps the main body really focused on togetherness and socialising. Private areas are only ever a short (glass and timber) staircase away, making the transition to them as exciting as the interior decor as a whole!

Dual levels

While open plan formats are commonplace in barn conversions, we really like that the ends have been given useful mezzanines, allowing for added functionality, extra space and the opportunity to install not one, but two glass and timber spiral staircases. That's something we really advocate; you can't ever have too much in the way of luxury architecture!

The dramatic ceiling height doesn't feel imposing here, due to the warmth of the wooden beams and the continued use of a natural colour palette throughout. Just look at that light fixture as well! We could easily stare at this room all day long and still not pick up on every beautiful design nuance.

Practical space

We think that this is the home of a family that doesn't particularly focus on cooking as a hobby, hence the kitchen has been given it's own room, away from the open plan zone. If food played a truly central role in the everyday life of the residents, it would be closer to the dining table, to encourage free dialogue, without a door.

Keeping more perfunctory areas hidden away allows for a far less messy and cluttered main living space and we think it's fantastic that the kitchen has been kept rather understated and plain. The dark wood cabinets and worktop keep it connected to the rest of the house, but apart from that, it has been added as a quiet necessity, not a main draw.

Night-time light show

As the daylight fades, this barn conversion really comes into its own, with an incredible multicoloured light show. Not only adding a sense of fun to the home, these coloured lights really amplify how gorgeous all those wooden beams are and with what looks to be a bedroom and bathroom area up on this mezzanine, we can imagine bath time being a lot more fun than in your average home. After all, who doesn't like a party atmosphere while they're washing their hair?

A truly unusual but fabulous interior project, this is a wonderful demonstration of just how easily older properties can integrate modern twists within traditional frameworks and it's giving us endless inspiration.

For more fantastic barn inspiration, take a look at this Ideabook: Better Than Your Average Barn Conversion. If you love natural wood, this is a great article for you!

One of the most stunning interiors ever, we're sure you'll agree! But which feature was your favourite? Let us know in the comments...
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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