Whistelle Barn

Barn Houses Case Study

Border Oak bought a small industrial site just outside one of Herefordshire’s most popular villages more than 20 years ago.

The site was occupied by a mid-century corrugated industrial shed and was covered in hardstanding. It had been used to store our exhibition frames but was no longer needed.

Recently national planning objectives changed and now support some ‘brownfield’ land repurposing, so the Border Oak design and planning team prepared a bespoke application to replace the redundant industrial building with a new oak framed home.

There were planning restrictions and criteria to address, but eventually planning approval was granted and work to transform the site began.

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Border Oak rarely build homes to sell, as we specialise in the self and custom build market (where we are commissioned by our clients to create their home). However the restoration of this ex industrial site was slightly more tricky than most plots and we felt it best that we take it on ourselves.

The design of the house had to meet the requirements of the very particular planning policy, and this meant that it was best to design two barns attached to one another via an oak frame and glass link – which acts as the entrance hall.

We decided that we would try to use as many local materials and makers as possible – aiming to secure as much as we could from the surrounding area, including Herefordshire stone and the vertical larch cladding. To echo the original metal clad building, we chose a standing seam metal roof – which is also recyclable. There is a full structural oak frame internally which we partnered with a feature green oak solar shading overhang.

The house has been designed to sequester significant amounts of carbon in its materials (all chosen to last a long time and can be reused) and to be very low carbon by design and through use. The oak frame is encapsulated with a super performance thermal and airtight panel with underfloor heating and an ASHP.

The larger barn includes a beautiful, multi aspect large main room with a huge opening overlooking the terrace and garden with two bedrooms and bathrooms above. The kitchen and pantry were made by a local cabinet maker. The middle entrance is generous and bright with a large ceiling lantern that floods the space with light, and a good sized boot room and shower room. This all links to the smaller barn, with its own staircase, containing all that is needed for a self-contained annex or a substantial ‘working from home’ set up.

The two barns function together as a generous family home – and can be adapted as needs change.

50 weeks
renewables, open plan design, large overhang, local and natural materials, adaptable layout, brownfield site
Scopes of work
Border Oak Scope of works: 
, Planning
, Full Build
, interior design
and site restoration
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