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  • Carpenter Oak Cornwall barn conversions
MAR
2016

An introduction to converting your barn with a timber frame

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The varied rural landscape of Cornwall holds many a hidden gem of a barn and barn conversions have become popular in the county. A barn conversion can maximise your existing space and it is a great chance to play with the architecture of the internal space whilst keeping the overall character of your property. Here we give an introduction to timber frame barn conversions and some helpful tips.

Oak is the traditional timber frame material because of its strength, durability, and is ready in availability. In contemporary timber framing we also use Douglas fir, a straight grained softwood, as well as the versatile material, glulam.

Barn conversions often have to keep the original character of the building, so a timber frame is an excellent way of doing this because of the long tradition of timber framed barns. The possibilities of converting your barn with a timber frame really are endless and they can range from a striking traditional frame with a vaulted roof, to a more contemporary looking one combined with steel. You could take influence from the style of traditional barns local to you. This local vernacular can be shown in your frame through the roof trusses you choose to use as traditionally these varied through different regions.

Barns can be thought of as dark places, but timber frames can be made with applied glazing which gives you frameless windows. When using timber frame glazing there are many options available to you which can offer solutions to getting day light into your barn conversion. Roofs are often a key feature to a barn and there can be restrictions on how much they aesthetically can be changed. However, these restrictions do not mean a dark space as with timber frame glazing walls and gable ends can be glazed giving you lots of light and character.

Cornwall has an amazing heritage and preserving this calls for specialist skill. We are often called upon to replace rotting timber roof trusses with exact replicas. We recently undertook the replacement roof for the King Edward Mine museum in Troon and the roof for Ponsanooth Chapel after it was fire damaged. Our traditional techniques meant that we could match the replica roof trusses with the originals.

If there is a single rule to converting your barn it is be true to the building. Ensure that the barn retains its essential character and does not simply get turned into a house. All that we do at Carpenter Oak Cornwall is based on historic precedent, even a brand new barn style house carries forward all that we’ve learnt from visiting old barns, churches, and medieval buildings. We have worked with many leading builders and architects and we take the time to research your build, so that together we can share what in effect will be a labour of love.

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