The beauty and charm of timber frame barn homes have captivated property owners seeking a private getaway worlds apart from busy cities and suburban sprawl.
What’s so ideal about a barn home? There’s something about the drama of the open interior space and the coziness of the barn structure.
In recent years, timber framing has become increasingly popular in barn homes. We might be a little biased, but it’s easy to see why. Known as “cathedrals on the prairie,” timber frame barns are both majestic and familiar—a wonderful concept to inspire a living space.
What Are Timber Frame Barn Homes?
These structures incorporate traditional timber frame building methods into a barn-style home. At Carolina Timberworks, we build them with heavy timber and wood-to-wood joinery, using timber frame trusses and pegged mortise and tenon joints.
Although they offer plenty of room for customization, most timber frame barn homes feature open-concept floor plans with large interior spaces and plenty of room for entertaining.
Reclaiming Old Barns
If you truly love the concept of an antique barn, you might like the idea of reclaiming one of these structures and turning it into a home. This option is a nice way to preserve a piece of history while turning it into a usable space.
The only catch is that this approach requires finding, purchasing, and moving an antique barn. In the past, we’ve purchased antique barns for this purpose. But as you might imagine, supply is running short, and they’re increasingly difficult to find.
Building New Barn Homes
Fortunately, reclaiming old barns isn’t your only option for a timber frame barn home. It’s far more common for these homes to be new construction, using traditional building methods.
Why Build a Barn Home?
To begin, we happen to think barns are special (click here to read why).
Barns are the original multi-purpose structures. The open floor plans offer lots of space and flexibility for customization with both wide-open and tucked away spaces. Why compromise? Start a list. Bedroom(s), living room, kitchen and bathrooms–check. Workshop? Garage for your antique truck collection? Entertainment? Gym? Office? Guest bedroom suite? Game room? Basketball court (yes, it’s been done). Instead of building several buildings, build a timber frame barn home that efficiently houses everything under one roof.
The benefits of building new include substantially improved energy efficiency, as timber frame barn homes are often wrapped in a blanket of high-performance SIPs (structural insulated panels). These panels are delivered to your site pre-cut (including all door and window openings), are labeled, and go up fast (meaning you can be in the dry in days, not weeks). Later, sheetrock or wood paneling is applied to the interior walls, and the exterior can be anything you’d like (siding, wood, stone, etc.).
Assuming your building site permits orienting one roof slope facing south, the typical large barn roof shape is ideal for solar panels. Timber framing also happens to be one of the most sustainable building methods available for residential construction (and we even make our timber frames with renewable energy).
The future-proof nature of timber frame barns make them an attractive option. They’re certainly durable structures (probably because they’re loved and useful, and possibly because the simple roof shapes are less likely to leak). The open floor plans in barn homes permit reconfiguration to accommodate different stages of life. And of course, barns have a timeless and enduring appeal that has outlived quite a few other architectural styles over the past thousand or so years…
Traditional Barn Homes
We’d argue that traditional barn homes appeal to our connection with the past. Maybe we’re consciously or unconsciously re-creating something we experienced in our childhood or travels. Or perhaps it’s just the way a traditional barn home just “fits” certain pieces of property and naturally blend with, and compliment, the setting.
Modern Barn Homes
Building new also gives you significantly more opportunities for customization and the option to create a more contemporary aesthetic. Curious how a modern barn home might look?
Above, you can see a glimpse of the clean lines, open spaces, and modern finishes you can expect in this kind of space.
How Can I Build a Timber Barn Home?
We’re glad you asked. In our guide to timber frame barns, we’ve answered many of the questions that homeowners ask about building a barn, including:
- How much will it cost?
- Should I hire an architect?
- How long will it take to build?
If this is the first time you’re considering a timber frame project, you might have questions about that process, too. We’ve answered a lot of them in our homeowner guide, which we like to call What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Timber Frame.