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Architects, Historic Building Consultants
Inspiring Visions; Realising Dreams

Focus on Barns

Hillmoor Farm Unit 4, before

Focus on Barns

Hillmoor Farm Before

Hillmoor Farm before

Numerous new homes in Cheshire are created by converting existing disused rural buildings. Agricultural permitted development rights rules mean that more barns than ever are becoming available for conversion into homes.


Wagtail Cottage Focus On Barns

Brick and oak framing are
exposed on the interior.

In this Focus On blog post we will explore the potential for creating new homes within existing buildings with reference to our recent projects. Projects include speculative work for developers as well as bespoke designs for the end user. Barn conversions should be achievable within the existing building to comply with planning rules. Original openings are retained wherever possible to retain the character of the original building. Conversions can be traditional in design, using natural materials and time honoured construction methods. Oak features can be introduced in vaulted ceilings to create the ‘wow’ factor within the constraints of an existing building.


Brickwork can be exposed internally and oak framing used within internal walls to enhance the rustic character. Ledged and braced doors with black forged ironmongery and stone floors add to the quality of the space. Staircases can provide a focal point within a double height hall.

Lower Brook Barn focus on Barns

A striking feature: the contrast between the warm original stone and the modern structural glazing in an award-winning barn conversion.

Alternatively a more modern approach can be used, with exposed steel beams, aluminium windows and large areas of glazing. Inventive design can lead to stunning solutions, such as the staircase sitting within a frameless glass box (as above).

Exposed brickwork and steel can lend a very different experience. Inserted floors with glass balustrades can be used to contrast with the original features.

Lower Brook Barn Staircase Focus on Barns

Lower Brook Barn was
highly commended for the Daily Telegraph Homebuilding and Renovating Awards 2014

Rough Hey Focus on Barns

Steel features can be introduced
to create the wow factor

Working with listed barns brings greater complexity and challenges to the project but can lead to innovative design solutions. Conversions have included subterranean extensions to preserve the integrity of the original building.

Rough Hey Focus on Barns

Rooflights can bring light into subterranean spaces.

Most barn conversions are in rural locations which mean that alternative sources of heating and power are required. Hayes and Partners projects have included the installation of ground source heat pumps, wind turbines, solar panels and even a communal biomass unit which serves five dwellings.

Hayes & Partners have a proven track record of achieving planning consent for conversions of rural buildings. Conversion may be achieved by submitting a planning application for a change of use or, in certain circumstances, under Permitted Development Rights, Class Q, using the Prior Approval process. Conditions apply in both cases.

Hayes & Partners overcome challenges, structural, sustainability, protected species, working within the constraints of existing buildings to create special homes of character.