VISIONS OF BARN CONVERSIONS – Have you ever driven along a country road only to stop the vehicle in its track because you spotted an old Barn and thought to yourself, wow wouldn’t that look incredible converted into a home?
Most people, however wouldn’t even glance at an old barn that was falling to bits – they simply cannot see beyond the dilapidated structure and therefore give it no thought. I consider myself as one of the enlightened and fortunate people that is able to see beyond a crumbling ruin and I am not alone.
I’m not going to tell you how old I am, but I’m no spring chicken, that’s for sure. Years ago, about 25 to be precise, I was taking my usual journey to the shooting grounds. I had a passion for Clay-Shooting, and so each Sunday I would head out along the same country route to the shooting ground. By divine intervention or sheer luck, whichever you prefer, the country road I normally traveled was closed due to repairs. Not a big deal and the diversion signs would soon put me on the right road – I assumed. While I may be blessed with many attributes, my sense of direction is lousy. I could get lost in my own back yard and it wasn’t long before I realized I was completely lost. Without worrying I made a phone call to one of the locals that I shoot with and he put me right.
I as was traveling along I happened to notice a large ‘For Sale’ sign, so I stopped, reversed up and there at the end of a dirt track was the most beautiful barn I had ever seen. I quickly made another phone call, just to say I would be late and explained, to my friend, what I was up to. I spent about half an hour looking around and inside the barn – it was stunning! I then took the telephone number of the agents as I left.
Now again, you can call this anything you like, but sometimes fate intervenes in a number of ways you simply cannot comprehend, and when I met up with my friend at the shooting ground I apologized for the lateness of my arrival and then reported on my findings. My friend then retorted that he knew the exact barn I was talking about and he was well acquainted with the owners.
That evening I discussed the whole adventure with my wife, who I can honestly say wasn’t keen on the idea of buying it and converting it. However, she was gracious enough to indulge my whim and the very next morning we set off together to locate the Barn.
Her first reaction was – ‘What on earth are you thinking and have you been taking your medication?’ and her section reaction was – ‘How can you possibly see any potential in an old cow shed?’ It wasn’t a cow shed – well not all of it anyway, but alas there was no convincing her otherwise.
I’m like a dog with a bone, I’m not going to let it go, unless someone throws me a juicer bone and so I popped off and bought a few magazines on Barn Conversions and over period of a week I had managed to grind her down. I’m not sure, even to this day, if she gave in to my excitement or she indeed started to envision a truly stunning home.
From that point on we started talking to the banks and the owners of the Barn. We did negotiate a very good price, but alas the Banks where having none of it and wouldn’t provide the necessary mortgage that was required to purchase it and renovate it.
I have to be honest, I was, and still am today, devastated by the banks decision as it took a dream that I had harbored for some years of either building my own home or converting an old building.
I am, all these years later, pleased to say that I finally made a dream into a reality by building a luxury pool villa in Phuket, Thailand and while the build went according to plan, other factors stepped in which changed my life forever – but that’s another story.
As you can see from the photographs I have included above, there are some people, with the help of architects with real vision, able to transform a dilapidated building into a fully functional and spectacular home. The question posed at the beginning of this article asked if you was one of those people who could see beyond the rubble, and here’s a quick test. Below are two sets of images – a Before and After if you like. Note that the ‘After’ is simply an architectural artist impression of what the building could look like, but the question is would you have seen such splendor?
I am sure you will agree that the two examples above really do so that some people have such wonderful vision and are certainly able to look past the ruins and create the most wonderful places to live.
I hope you enjoyed my article and my hope here is that for those who find it difficult to see past a ruin that you may now be inspired to look deeper. I am sure for those of you who really do like the idea of converting an old building, such as a barn, that this has provided you with some inspirational ideas to maybe try a conversion project out.