Case study

Client: Gordon & Annie Campbell

Style: Three-bedroom barn style oak frame home

Location: Powys

Property size: 235 sq m

Build time: 16 months

Gordon and Annie Campbell came across a dilapidated barn in Powys by chance while they were viewing the farmhouse next door as a possible renovation project – and quickly changed their mind about what they were doing.

“We noticed there was a barn which wasn’t even mentioned as part of the particulars,” says Gordon. “Well, it was truly spectacular – or should I say, the view was!”

Although the barn was in a poor state, the view towards the mid-Wales valleys and the distant mountains beyond was too good an opportunity to miss. There was already planning permission in place to convert the barn into a house and at first this is what Gordon and Annie set out to do.

But what started as a restoration project soon turned into a self-build when they decided to apply to demolish the barn and build something new.

“We’d done some initial investigations into oak frame companies when we were considering what to do with the old barn,” says Annie. “We had a local friend, who is a carpenter, and he pointed us in the direction of Welsh Oak Frame, as we wanted to go some way to replicating the look of the old barn on the inside as well as out.”

The couple left it to Welsh Oak Frame’s in-house design team to come up with a bespoke design that would be “open with lots of glass and wood,” says Annie.

Work began once the design had been agreed, and proved to be a challenge because of its remote location at the end of a narrow lane – not helped by the poor weather.

“We demolished the barn and ended up building throughout the spring and summer of 2008, one of the wettest summers on record,” says Gordon. “I vividly remember one day it was raining heavily, we had at least a dozen vans on site – some of which couldn’t move for the mud – and we began to wonder quite what we had gotten ourselves into.”

The finished result is an oak-framed timber clad home with two elevations making use of the reclaimed stone from the old barn. Inside, the living area has a light, airy feel with high ceilings and exposed timbers that have been left untreated for a more modern style.

“Everything is exactly how we want it and I can honestly say we wouldn’t change a thing,” says Annie.