Stuart Barr
Barr Joinery
Barr Kitchens

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24th Jan 2020

Future proofing of historic barns… as well as some fabulous vintage vehicles!

When no longer required as stabling, our client was unsure of how to repurpose these old thatched Berkshire barns. Commercial use would, over time, pay for the renovation works required to secure their structural integrity in years to come… but what was it to be?


In their guidelines for adapting traditional farm buildings, Historic England state that “barns and outbuildings can be an irreplaceable source of character in the English countryside. However, without appropriate uses to fund their long-term maintenance and repair, they will disappear from the landscape. While poor adaptation poses a threat, we encourage new commercial and residential uses, which enhance their historic character and significance.”

The possibilities, in this case, were infinite. The stunning old beam and billowed lime rendered walls, high vaulted ceiling and adjoining courtyard would have made the perfect wedding reception setting! However, our client’s passion for vintage cars meant that conversion to a secured garaging facility for special vehicles was an irresistibly compelling solution.


The main challenges of the project lay within the repairs to the structural timber frame under the heavy thatched roof. Beam and post repairs were required to sure up and weatherproof the barns and with an electrical and lighting fit to convert to a functional but aesthetical pleasing ‘showroom’ space.

Security was, of course, of the essence of this project. Two sets of huge barn doors were designed and manufactured by BarrJoinery. Challenges involved the sheer weight of the door sets, as well as sloping floor gradients which required careful engineering at the design stage to balance alignment with structural integrity. The doors needed to be both secure and in keeping.

The barns are safe, secure and future-proofed; home to some fine vehicles – much cleaner than horses and less troublesome than tipsy wedding guests!

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