The Old Barn: The Linton Park Estate

Client Brief

Barn B was a T-shaped brick and timber framed barn dating from the late Victorian era and was largely redundant other than being used for occasional storage.

Having been impressed with our design and building work on three previous conversions (The Potting Sheds, The Tractor Shed and Home Farm), the client instructed us to produce plans and designs to convert Barn B into new homes.

We were also developing Barn A into two new homes at the same time.

The brief from our client was to provide a detached mid-range quality home with three double bedrooms and large reception rooms.

The Project

The barn was originally being developed under a Class Q application. Class Q falls under the General Permitted Development Order which allows barns and agricultural buildings to be converted to residential use within certain criteria.

However, during the planning time, the entire estate was given conservation area status which meant that a Class Q application was no longer acceptable and so we had to rethink. The application was withdrawn and instead we submitted a detailed planning application. Although this led to a delay of about 12 weeks, consent was granted for this barn as well as the nearby steel framed barn.

Both this barn and the steel portal framed barn nearby received planning consent ready for us to start the conversion.


A significant challenge of the conversion was the ground sloping at around 1.5 metres end to end and the barn, from the floor to the roof, followed this slope. 
To achieve a level floor, steps were introduced internally, while the sloping character of the building externally was to be maintained.

Following an R&D (Refurbishment and Demolition) asbestos survey, a legal requirement on all pre-year 2000 buildings that are to undergo significant building works, some of the claddings were identified as asbestos.
This required engaging specialist contractors licensed to remove the material from both the buildings and the site.

The external finish of the barn is a mixture of horizontal and vertical larch boarding, original and new brickwork and in some areas, a rendered plinth. The roof finish is Kent peg tiles, the guttering is cast iron and the windows were bespoke, made in hardwood.

Much of the existing timber framing was fit for continued use with some elements requiring sensitive repair – perfect for keeping original features, a sense of history and character.

The barn was completed with an engineered timber floor finish, lovely kitchen, bathrooms and utility room with full underfloor heating.

The post-Covid material shortage, with its related price increases created challenges for this project, which were overcome by ordering materials in advance and storing them on-site so they were available when needed, plus revising the schedule to work on a different area to avoid days with tools down, enabling us to better keep within schedule and budget.


Barn B is now known as The Old barn – a 3-bedroom home with exposed timber inside to preserve some of the history.

The end result was a stunning conversion of an unusual period barn, which sat well with the modern steel framed converted barn just across the track, 10 metres away. The barn was converted within budget and on time. 

Our client was keen that we maintained the character of the barn as far as was reasonably possible.  This we did, by retaining and exposing the original timbers where practical and beneficial to do so and paid careful attention to detail throughout the conversion.

What the client said…

“This Victorian barn was originally used for keeping the cart horses for the farm; a small area of brick work, wood above and then a tiled roof. It was unusual in that the brickwork followed the slope of the floor, and so did the roof.

We wanted to keep the original wood as much as we could, which presented a challenge as asbestos had to be removed from the roof, allowing the frame to be retained so that the team could follow the original slope of the building. They worked with the slopes really well; the inside of the building is on different tiers which are all level, but from the outside, the sloping profile has been retained, which is an important part of the building’s history.

The house is unusual and beautiful. There is light flooding in from both sides and it has a feature wall made of the original timbers. The whole inside is lovely and quirky, with a mixture of tiny windows and great big ones; it flows so beautifully, and they’ve kept as much original framework exposed as they could. The team is so good at preserving and enhancing what’s already there. They know how to bring something old into the modern world without spoiling its character.

What I really liked about working with Vernacular Homes is that they really listen, without giving the impression that ‘we know better than you’. I’ve worked with other builders who nod along as you’re telling them what you’d like and then go off and do their own thing. But they were so open to everything and easy to talk to; we were so impressed with them.

This barn, and all of the properties they worked on for us are tenanted; in fact, they flew off the market really quickly!”

Our views on the project…

“It was such a pleasure to be invited to work on this fifth property with Linton Park; having completed three and with another on the way, we really had developed a deep understanding of what they wanted to achieve.

The main thing was preservation – retaining as many original features as possible to take the barn’s history forward into its new life; as a lovely family home, having previously been a cart storage and then an occasional storage area.

As with every project, there were challenges, but these were discussed sensibly with the client, and resolved to deliver the conversion to our clients satisfaction.
The end result is a barn conversion that gives this building a new and long lease of life.”

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