Type hashtag #barnconversion into Instagram if you dare……
And here’s me thinking that Farmageddon was post-apocalyptic. There are some pretty extreme builds going on out there, but if there’s one thing to say about my new community of Barn Buddies: they sure do have vision. For BB’s, even the most humble, crumbling, asbestos-choked hovel is ripe for miraculous conversion. There is nothing BB’s love more than that exquisite flicker of horror crossing the faces of the uninitiated. I love our motley crew.
The BB’s got me thinking about why some people enjoy working with barns and agricultural buildings. Perhaps part of the fun of renovating a barn is uncovering pieces of its industrial past and repurposing them beautifully into the building. I thought it would be fun to share some of these architectural features and how we’re working them into our design at Farmageddon. (Plus a few little progress photos at the end… 😉
VENTILATION SLITS (“ARROW SLITS”)
When our barns were built in the 18th and 19th century, they were often stacked to the gunnels with loose hay and straw stacks. The ventilation slits were incorporated to stop the haystacks heating up and spontaneously combusting. We have a number of these arrow slits at first floor level, and we were excited to uncover a couple more.
We’re glazing the historic arrow slits to create little features dotted around the house. We love them so much, we’ve borrowed the principle to create new arrow slit-style windows where there were no openings previously. Where “housey” windows were originally designed, we created industrial, arrow slits in steel – I can’t wait for these to be fitted!
HORSE ENGINE MILL
In the early twentieth century, the horse engine at Farmageddon was used to mill grain for feed and other uses. The horse would walk around a wheel which in turn powered various bits of kit. The only remaining evidence is the enormous oak beam in what will be our office. The beam had to be substantial in order to support the horse engine equipment; the tree was literally hewn down, bark still intact, and placed in the barn.
We love this beast and we are featuring it above a new exposed stone wall in the office, treating it to a gentle wash and scrub to bring out the colour of the oak and to preserve the bark and gorgeous gnarly bits! Work in progress….
What a bonus – a potential micro-brewery in our garden! The former piggery-cum-stables-cum-henhouse contains evidence of many little cottage industries. Inside the end room is a fireplace with a copper above and a wee chimney – perhaps evidence of a little brewhouse used for domestic beer brewing (or it could have been a little washhouse). According to Historic England, few examples of these remain so we are pretty excited to have one here at Farmageddon.
These buildings will eventually be preserved and used for garden/domestic storage, a kennel and maybe a henhouse.
CART SHEDS AND COACH HOUSE
Some of my favourite features of this place are the beautiful cart shed doorways with their magnificent arched brick piers. The larger door may have been a coach house – in fact a picture exists from the late 1800s of the farmer Mr Teasdale in front of these very doors with a resplendent horse and coach.
The arches are central to our design and will be host to some pretty funky steel windows which will be uplit in all their glory.
PREACHING TO THE CONVERTED
Every visit to Farmageddon converts me. Perhaps I’m becoming immune to the chaos or perhaps we are making genuine progress. Either way, it’s true love.
Until next time, Kat xx