A restored barn retains its charm and gains understated glory

Our clients' estate was looking magnificent.

We had completed our commission to restore and extend the main house, the estate's Home Farm and a number of estate buildings, cottages and gate houses.

It left the historic timber-framed tumble-down barn looking sorry for itself.

The temptation could easily have been to turn it into something it wasn't.

There is a delicate line between repair and and restoration where the trap is to lose sight of a building's charm and concentrate on current needs. All too often the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater.

It was a matter of truely understanding the barn, its historical integrity and its setting - which was in close proximity to the listed main house and Home Farm.

The building needed to be useful again, but retain its history.

Our aim was to create what would seem to the casual eye a repaired historic barn, but importantly, belied a useful estate and family space.

What could be saved of the structure was cleaned and repaired. And rather than punch a series of window openings into the walls and add doors everywhere else, we glazed the existing simple vertical windows and allowed direct access to the outside where the carts pulled in.

This provided a very useful summer space protected from the elements and a spillover from the inner barn when needed.

The barn was sensitively upgraded with wooden and brick floors and the whole was reclad in pine boarding and stained black to hark to its agricultural roots and tone it into the landscape.

The idea was to have it looking good as well as being useful again, but not to stand out as some kind of monument.

The result according to our happy client was a barnstoming success.