Rustic Renovations: 9 Beautiful Barns Rebuilding History

Old barns speak volumes. Made to last, these beautiful structures are built to evolve over time.

Eric Baldwin Eric Baldwin

Old barns speak volumes. Emerging from vernacular traditions and functional demands, agrarian structures are intimately tied to their context. Many barns and agricultural buildings were built to last, often made with oversized structure or materials to withstand weathering over time. As an open and iconic architecture all its own, these projects take on entirely new meanings when renovated and refurbished.

Bringing together a collection of rustic renovations, we’re exploring how barns evolve over time. Given a new life, they all reinterpret the past to connect to modern life. As spaces for relaxation and dwelling, they frame their surroundings through a contemporary lens. Crafted with rigorous detailing, they each showcase a transformed envelope and interior. The barns are extended and expanded to reimagine the vernacular and build upon each structure’s unique history.

Church Hill Barn by David Nossiter Architects, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom

As the centerpiece among a rural landscape, Church Hill Barn was originally part of the home farm of the Assington Hall Estate. The renovated project was made with salvaged materials found on site and a newly refurbished roof that rests upon the existing structure.

[re]barn by Circa Morris-Nunn Architects, Acton, Australia

Part of the evolution of a 200-year-old colonial manor house into a modern single-family home. As living cultural heritage, new ‘outbuildings’ were designed around an open courtyard close to the rear of the homestead to evolve to changing needs over time. [re]barn features original stone and timber that was adzed and pit sawn.

Alpine Barn DZ by EXiT architetti associati, Selva di Cadore, Italy

Located among the fragile context of the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site, this refurbishment project gave new life to a complex structure. Known as a Tabià, the renovated building originally had stables on the ground floor and haylofts above. The refurbishment included new iron profiles that were added to strengthen the wooden frame.

Canyon Barn by MW Works LLC, Leavenworth, Wash., United States

Formed in a rural canyon, this renovated barn was converted into a three-bedroom vacation home. Aiming to retain the structure’s original character, the project also included newer industrial insertions of plywood and steel to contrast the weathered barn wood.

SV House by Rocco Borromini, Albosaggia, Italy

Emerging from a rustic existing building, SV House is sited on the coast of the Orobic Alps looking out to expansive views. The simple structure contains two stone walls connected by a wood roof and façade, as well as a reinforced concrete slab.

Barn Living by Bureau Fraai, Aalten, Netherlands

Bureau Fraai renovated a 50’s farmhouse and extended the existing barn with a contemporary extension. Aiming to create a harmonious relationship between the original structure and the new, the project became a direct proportional extrusion of the old barn.

Barn in Pyrenees by PPA architectures, Hautes-Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées, France

Overlooking the valley of the Adour de Lesponne river, this barn project is framed by deciduous woodland and mountains. The existing agricultural structure was converted into a holiday home that would respect the vernacular while adding additional living space through a new extension.

Tenne by Thomas Kröger Architekten, Germany

Tenne is a project located in the village of Uckermark north of Berlin. A large, 140-year-old barn was converted into a country house framed by masonry and timber. The project included a transformed envelope that integrates indoor and outdoor space without sacrificing comfort.

Casa Tmolo by PYO arquitectos, Parrés, Spain

Rethinking an isolated house and barn, the Casa Tmolo project features new elements like white concrete and local stone façades. In the main house, an insulating lining forms the new load-bearing structure to reinforce the walls, while interior supporting walls were replaced by light metal pillars to provide more daylight.