As summer nears, the trees come into full leaf and sunlight stretches well into the evening, you may be entertaining dreams of that ideal country life. Or maybe you’re already in the country and have been looking for years at the lovely old barn you or your neighbour has sitting in a field gathering cobwebs.

You can see its strong structural bones and the gorgeous patina that the years have given the wood. Nothing but time can make that weathered beauty. If it’s been calling to you, be assured that you can, with the right amount of work and expertise, live with that beauty around you every day.

Whether you have a barn or buy a barn, many can be renovated to be completely livable and can become your family’s dream home. A barn with four sturdy walls can be preserved and restored, with respect for the integrity of the original structure.

And an old barn can be dismantled, moved to your chosen location, and rebuilt where it will work best for you, as your primary home, an addition to an existing house, or as an extra building. Even a small barn can be turned into an office, workshop, studio, gallery or guest house, or even an event space for fabulous parties.

Five minutes on Pinterest will tell you that people still love having weddings in decorated barns, for example. Renting out your renovated barn could be an ideal extension of a catering or event-planning business, or a super side hustle if you love working with people.

A barn’s appeal is clear. As well as those time-weathered surfaces connected deeply to its land and history, it has a church-high ceiling, room for enormous windows, and an airy, completely customizable space.

What it doesn’t have, of course, is the insulation, heat, electricity, and plumbing a home needs. This is where experts like the the developers at Reid come into the picture, to make sure your barn is expertly restored and outfitted for living. Recycling an entire structure, while it may be the ultimate in earth-friendly home building, is a complex undertaking with many unique challenges.

If you’re restoring a barn in its original location, there are probably issues with its foundation, which has had decades to erode, shift, or sink, depending on the land it sits on. A barn with that picturesque lean likely suffers from a shifting foundation. If you’re not moving the barn the footings, or the whole foundation, may need to be replaced.

And there are issues unique to a wooden structure that’s been sitting empty for decades. It’s not been built or maintained to keep water, animals and insects out. Birds, mice, and powderpost beetles have had their way in there for a long time, as has the weather. The years may also have aged the walls enough to make the roof too heavy, resulting in bowing or bulging walls.

So transforming a barn into a home will mean making it structurally sound. You’ll also want it made energy efficient, with insulation and up-to-date plumbing and power solutions. It will need membrane sheathing to make it weather-proof.

All these obstacles must be overcome, but can be, and the finished restored living space will reward the extra expense and work in spades.  The result will be a completely unique and long-lasting home, preserving architectural and social history. And it’s a space that will be customized to your needs and taste.

If you already love a traditional or country style, of course a restored barn is the perfect home for you. You can go to town with doors, floors, fittings, and furniture that reflect the building’s age and history, indulging your love for all things quaint and countrified.

But not everyone is into antiques and chalk paint! Even if you love sleek, modern decor, a barn can be made the perfect setting for it. Huge windows, high ceilings, and open spaces work wonderfully with a minimalist or industrial style featuring spare surfaces, open staircases and shiny finishes. Indeed, the aged wood of a barn can keep this style livable, giving your super-modern home just enough coziness by contrast.

A historical building is always worth preserving. If you aspire to restored barn living or working space, however, it’s especially important to get the kind of expertise that will make sure it’s done right. From start to finish you can trust this unique historical journey to the experts at Reid Developments.


A restored barn can feature huge soaring windows.