The Barn

Around an ongoing barn conversion project, this website draws together advice, information and references to aid all would-be and current barn and non-residential building converters and renovators.

Our approach takes on board ‘healthy house’, sustainable, ecological & environmental concepts to as great a degree as pragmatism, time-scales and budgets allow.

In West Wales, in the foothills of the Black Mountains, close to the brooding presence of Carreg Cennen Castle.

The barn was originally a farm building on an estate farm. The structure is generally sound with a relatively recently (at a guess in the 1990’s) reslated roof and complete walls that contain much dressed stone.

The Conversion
The roof and walls have been structurally untouched by the conversion, although a number of incursions into them have been made. All original openings have been retained with three windows added to the southerly gable end & six roof-lights to allow natural light into the otherwise unlit first floor. The ‘arrow’ / ventilation slits have been glazed. The existing roof kept, albeit with the addition of in-roof vents toward the bottom edge to provide appropriate air-flow. On three sides, the walls have been completely repointed with lime mortar, the fourth side, the southerly facing gable-end has been limewashed.

The floor was dug out and replaced with a new one containing insulation, a radon barrier damp proof course and under-floor heating.

Originally the barn was in two distinct parts. A full height main area, with large through cart doors and a smaller two storied north-end with stables below and a hay-loft above. Ground and first floor openings have been cut through the internal wall to unify the two parts of the building.

Heat and hot water are provided by three solar thermal hot water panels and a Charnwood Country 16B Multifuel
Roomheater with Boiler. These both feed a 300 litre thermal store (water tank) that in turn feeds the ground-floor under-floor heating, upstairs radiators and hot water taps.

Internally, full-height stud patition walls around all the external walls mean that the interior is in effect a wood and plasterboard building within a masonary and slate barn. The use of steel has been avoided and so the first floor sits on two large oak beams in the main part of the barn.

Insulation in the form of rigid insulating boards is placed behind the stud patition walls and between the structural elements of the roof. Mineral wool and some sheeps wool insulation (where the insulation has not been closed away or boxed-in) has also been used where a more flexible solution was required.

All windows and doors have been replaced with new hardwood, locally made, doubled glazed units. A new oak staircase and banisters across the gallery have been installed to connect the ground and first floors.

In common with all conversion projects, the fixed building foot-print offers minimal opportunities for further optimising the passive solar gain of the building. The large cart door openings have been glazed to maximise solar gain, with shutters added to the south-west facing opening to allow some management of heat gain on sunny days.

In line with a healthy house ethos Earthborn clay based paints have been used for internal decoration and tiled and timber floors installed rather than carpet (except for in the main bedroom, where the luxury of a carpet is appreciated).

Vital statistics
These diagrams give a basic, generalised layout, most importantly detailing room sizes.

The ground floor has a total area of just under 63 square metres…

The first floor has a total area of 56 square metres…

…for a total floor area of just under 120 square metres.

The first floor has a smaller floor area than the ground floor due to the full height gallery that runs along one side of the main living area.

Before, during and after…

From Before
From MyBarnConversion 2009
From Barn Conversion 2010
From Barn Conversion 2012


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