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We are ending 2023 on a personal high, as we hit completion on our own barn conversion and installed a biomass boiler to provide us with sustainable heating ready for Christmas.

Its been over 7 years since we started our own barn conversion project at Top Barn, in Osgodby, Lincolnshire. In 2016 when we commenced, the site was nothing but dilapidated barns with roofs caved in and a stack of straw bales in the courtyard.

As an E-plan barn there was a lot of scope on the site, but with all sections requiring significant structural works, and either new roofs completely or significant repairs, it has been a slow process. We started with the central section, 30m long x 4m wide, which was once home to pigs. The entire roof needed replacing, with the brick pillars needing re-building and stabilising. We made this roof up of 7 king post trusses, 1 constructed using oak, and the other 6 utilising Douglas fir – a decision we took as a cost saving option. We lived in just two rooms for the first year and have slowly worked our way down the building ever since.

The two-storey section of the barn had slight bowing in the brick walls, with significant cracks. Despite passing a structural test, we chose to opt for a full oak frame to take away all strain from the walls and ensure longevity in the structure. This frame has been constructed using 3 sling braces and a hammer beam truss, creating a large open plan, double vaulted kitchen, with an overlooking mezzanine lounge. In addition, we added a two-storey atrium window to allow light to flow into what would have been a dark space. We also converted an old barn doorway into a large single pane glass window offering spectacular un-broken garden views and natural light.

This project has been a slow moving labour of love, but has also been our wedding venue, birth place of our daughter and now resting place for our beloved dog, Teddy.

It has only been 2023 that we managed to convert the two storey section from an empty, but beautiful timber framed barn, into hub of the house with a lovely family sized kitchen and mezzanine lounge.

As with many self-build projects the finishing touches will carry on into 2024. For Christmas 2023 though, we are looking forward to a bit of down time as a family in a home – and especially looking forward to enjoying proper heating via a biomass boiler, utilising off-cuts from the business, and reducing our carbon foot print.

We’ve all worked so hard and given up a lot of time and energy to get here, and I couldn’t be more proud of the amazing craftsmanship and dedication our team has put in.

If you are contemplating a self-build, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and come view our barn. We will happily share everything we have learnt along the way, from incorporating a timber frame into an existing building, to money saving hacks including utilising facebook marketplace. We’d love to hear from you, so get in touch!

Charlotte x