So far in this series of my favourite things at the barn I’ve focussed on original features, this is the first of the new features we’ve introduced during the conversion.
We chose these oak beams instead of steels to support the first floor for a couple of reasons. From a ‘healthy house’ perspective we minimised the use of metal in the building and aesthetically the oak beams help maintain an attractive link to the buildings history.
There are two beams in the main room of the barn – each weighing in at around 3/4 of a tonne. It will be nice to see them sanded and finished as they are currently water stained and blackened, but still attractive to the eye.
I have an urge to further extend and heighten these dry stone walls. I’ve always fancied living behind a wall. I think there’s something primal going on here.
One corner of the barn has been carefully rounded, it speaks to me of workmanship, care and simple good design (don’t worry I’m not literally hearing walls speak). The stones are arranged to offer no sharp edges, no right angles. My favourite reason for constructing the wall in this was is to save cows that round the corner from banging their hip bones – although friendliness to any animals or machines going that way is probably the real story.
The barn is endowed with a handsome pair of opposing cart doors. The doors stand about 12 feet tall and are topped by a arch of cut, dressed stone. After some research on Wikipedia, I reckon they are segmental, shouldered arches.
The arches are two of the major features of the barn, when building has been completed they will both be glazed and will hopefully provide ample light to the interior. What I want to do is to leave as much of the arch-work visible, not just outside, but inside as well. This is difficult with building regulations demanding heavily insulation on all the walls except those that are entirely internal. Tricky, but I think worth attempting as it would be a great shame to hide such features behind boards and insulation.
This raises a question, around balancing the admirable energy concerns of building regulations with the desire to not only preserve but also celebrate & enjoy our architectural heritage. Tricky question that one…
With a project like this it is sometimes easy to allow the big picture to overwhelm the little things.
It is often the little things that make the whole thing seem worthwhile at the beginning. So, in appreciation of the little things, I thought I’d put together a series of posts on those features that add texture, detail and richness to the whole and that make it all seem worthwhile.
I always get corrected when I refer to the ventilation slits in the wall of the barn as arrow slits. But the little boy who loved castles is irrepressible when it comes to medieval features.
I’m really pleased with this picture as it lines up the slit in both sides of the building so that you can see right through. From the inside, they reveal teasing glimpses of the outside and when hit by the sun give fantastic vertical shafts of light.