Barn Conversions

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Traditional or modern – breathing new life into agricultural buildings

Barns, oast houses, granaries, stables or chapels – creative design turns them into your new home

“Taking a client’s ideas and vision and turning it into a beautiful home that not only works for them but preserves the barn, is what we really love to do. Our clients live in their barn conversions for many years to come.”
Trevor Weeks, Managing Director 

We’ve completed some amazing barn conversions

Read about some of our barn conversions and hear what their owners say…

Transforming a barn and giving it a new lease of life after its agricultural use has ended creates a fantastic opportunity to design an amazing new home.

They’re lived in very differently to how they were worked in; rely on our experience as barn conversion specialists with many successful projects in our portfolio to give you innovative and inspirational design ideas.

Converting a barn requires a methodical approach, and most importantly, experience. Structurally, approaches will need to be tailored to each individual barn, whether it is a historic timber framed or masonry building, or a modern steel or concrete portal framed building.


We’ll look to keep its heritage alive, incorporating original features where possible whilst designing a home that suits how you live, with the design and look you want – modern, contemporary or traditional.

Barns require a few different considerations to other homes – light is an important factor and our designs will look at position of rooms, flow and windows to use both the space and light well.

Kent, Sussex and Surrey have some of the most beautiful timber-framed agricultural structures in all of England. The most common barn type is the threshing barn – a large, almost two-storey structure, often timber frame and weatherboarded on a brick or stone plinth. The roofs in the Weald of Kent and downland, are often tiled, slated and occasionally thatched.

Converting a traditional barn makes a great home and the success in the design process is innovative use of the existing space, large glazing areas in the central midstrey (porch/entrance) threshing bay and well-proportioned double-height spaces.

Good design and a build from our specialist understanding will create a unique home

“Because the property is listed, there were many restrictions on what could be done. Vernacular’s advice and ideas helped us to make our dreams come true.”

Modern Barns

Modern steel or concrete portal frame barns, many of them built in the last 70 years or so, usually have large spans and are typically used for housing livestock or farm machinery. Turning these structures into homes requires expertise and imagination.

Many of these barns are being converted following amendments to planning policy in 2013, often referred to as ‘Class Q’.

Class Q was introduced as part of the General Permitted Development Order in 2013 allowing barns in agricultural use to be converted to residential use within certain specific criteria.

This can be a useful way of obtaining consent for modern concrete or steel portal framed barns of the Atcost variety as well, on occasions, as historic timber framed, brick or stone barns.

Many barns do not actually meet the criteria for Class Q but opportunities to convert may still be available – our expertise lies in providing attractive and sensitive designs that meet planning regulation. Before a build starts, planning must be granted, unless the specific circumstances mean that a Class Q prior approval is an alternative route.

Successful, creative, planning applications are what we excel in meeting both the client brief and local authority requirements. Location, the existing building, proposed scheme and structural works all need to be considered, alongside your vision for the new home – we keep this all in mind at every stage.

“We’d already been granted planning permission through an architect but with a number of constraints. Trevor helped us take the project forward, discharging all the conditions and adapting the design.” 

Immersive design tools – step into your home before a single brick is laid

We use BIM (Building Information Modelling) to give you a virtual walkthrough of both inside and outside of the newly designed residential barn – which can be changed in real time to explore design options and planning solutions. In addition, BIM allows us to accurately assess the materials and work required for the actual building works and provide an initial price specification based on the planning drawings.

We work with clients either from the beginning of the planning process, or, often, to develop or revise a previous or inherited planning application or failed planning application, working toward a successful planning outcome to get your build under way.

Find out about our planning services…

Whether your barn is in a conservation area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), we have the experience to create designs that you will love and local authority planners are most likely to approve without too many adjustments.

We listen, we hear, and we create designs that match our clients’ requirements to provide them with a home that works for them and retains its history and heritage.

“Some people thought we were mad when we first bought the barn, as it was in such bad condition but now, every time someone visits, they comment on how fantastic it looks. This was always intended to be a family home that we could live in for the long term and that’s just what it is.”

Start your barn conversion with a conversation with us…
Take a look at our previous barn conversions and hear from their new owners

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Why Choose Vernacular Homes?

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For an informal conversation about your project please call us on 01233 861177 or E-mail us using the form. Your data is not used for marketing – only to contact you.