Converting an outbuilding, barn, mill or other old structure can be particularly rewarding & challenging. Our six tips are; make sure your main living space is in the right place, avoid corridors, don’t be afraid of tall spaces, learn to love your local authority, expose the old stuff & use the right materials.
- Your living space needs to make best use of your incredibly unique structure which you are itching to make work for you. Your research is crucial, which way does the site face, how does the light fall, are there any openings on the south side, will your local planning authority allow any more, can you extend the structure, etc. Armed with knowledge you can make judgements based on your family needs and your personal views. Open plan is good, but keep it in balance, you need to be able to see your kids at play when they are tiny but give family members privacy as they get older. Your kitchen may be the heart of the home but do you always want to keep it pristine? Natural light and access to outside spaces make your living space the heart of your home.
- Corridors – a necessary evil? Often older structures are based on timber floor or roof spans, or the function of cattle stalls, tractors, hay bales and the like. They can be long low structures and your initial ideas for where the entrance is & how to make bedrooms might focus on corridors. Beware! Often your best solution might be to move the entrance to a more central position with bedroom ‘wings’, by adding an additional bathroom you may avoid the need for a corridor and the subsequent one-sidedness of your conversion. You may be able to add glazing to avoid the claustrophobic nature of a corridor (see the gallery for photos), or an additional stair might resolve the problem.
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