BuildOld Beginnings: Six Considerations for Designing a Barn

Old Beginnings: Six Considerations for Designing a Barn

Intentional Midwest Living

They may look like a splurge to outsiders, but our barn renovations are some of our clients’ most intentional designs. A growing family’s gathering place. A fitness studio. A retail market. An event space. A flower farm. Even an animal sanctuary. There is no end to the possibilities with barn structures. If you can dream it, you can build it. And that’s what we’ve found ourselves doing more and more.

We get a lot of inquiries about barn renovations from people all over the country. They are some of the most inspiring conversations we have because they always seem to start with two things: a love of something old and a vision of a lifestyle filled with passion and purpose. Who could say no to the opportunity to play even a small role in bringing someone’s dream to life?

For us, it’s no coincidence that barn renovations and creative endeavors go hand-in-hand. Both involve re-imagining something in a way that respects the past but carves a path to something new and important. And what could be more important than a life filled with intention?

“But more importantly, we believe the era of barns is here to stay–especially those done with the right intentions.” – AJ, Lead Designer

Exterior rendering of #TheFranklin
Interior rendering of #TheFranklin

While there are many considerations when renovating a barn structure, there are some guidelines we believe are critical to creating that inspirational space. There are also some recommendations we offer to help deliver the aesthetic our clients’ seek. Here are just a few of our thoughts:

  1. Let function guide the way. Consider how you plan to use your barn today and in the future. Build for both. Will this be a private space or will you need public access, which involves its own requirements?
  2. Strike a balance. Who doesn’t love the combination of old and new. Take it to a new level by creating the unexpected. Hand-sawn barn beams and sleek cable railing. Walls of textured barn wood adjacent to walls of metal and glass. Rewired antique barn lamps paired with wood-beaded chandeliers. Vintage barn doors paired with full glass french doors. Retro-looking appliances with modern pops of color.
  3. Plan for behind the shiplap. Most of our barn renovations are wired for today’s technological needs, so much so that we have coined the phrase “Smart Barns.” Plan for your connectivity and presentation needs early on.
  4. Preserve everything you can. We always like to create a salvage area during deconstruction so we can repurpose everything we can later. Keep it dry, safe and out of the way. We typically re-use almost everything we disassemble … we just find unique ways to do it. 
  5. Find the “feel.” Take time to think about the entire property, including how you approach the barn. Create the vibe as visitors approach the structure. Don’t make them wait until they get inside to experience your “happy place.”
  6. What you can’t use, give to others. There is no more iconic Midwest symbol than the barn. They are structures that have stood for centuries across the region and offer stories passed through generations. Our own Blue Zone Spaces barn will turn a century old next year. What you don’t value, someone else will. 
Sneak peek of our Smart Barn architectural drawings for two upcoming builds...

Whether it’s a custom build or old beginning, barn projects hold a special place in our hearts. The simple lines, minimalist layouts, opportunities for biophilic features… the design appeal goes on! But more importantly, we believe the era of barns is here to stay–especially those done with the right intentions. People are now envisioning themselves in new ways. Their lifestyles (or those of their family’s) are at the heart of every decision. This rings true within the four walls of their spaces as well. We see barns as the inspirational force in this transformation.

Garden center barn at #TheFarm

Do you have a barn inspiration? Reach out to us and share your thoughts and ideas.