Dutch Barn, Devon
A Dutch barn used for storing straw has been lovingly turned into a family home. The design behind this space centred on simplicity and sympathy with the environment around it. The use of natural material throughout has led to a breathtaking yet humble house. Taking a look at possible exterior cladding options, the use of wood seemed an obvious one for its eco credentials alongside its aesthetically pleasing finish.
The owners of the barn looked at the property from a bridge over a mile away as the crow flies when they first bought it, and noticed how the straw inside it was stacked. They wanted to replicate this with external wood cladding on the outside of the barn, leaving window spaces where straw bales were missing. The result is a low impact home which from the same point on that same bridge a mile away, looks just like the barn that they bought in 2017.
The couple used Chestnut cladding on the outside, chasing to horizontally overlap square edge air dried boards over one another. Chestnut was an obvious choice, as equally as durable as oak in this situation, but lighter in weight and with a much cleaner texture. They chose it as it has less knots and hippiness than the oak, yet still has a beautiful grain pattern.
The external wood cladding was left to weather naturally with no oil or treatments. With the help of UV light from the sun, the boards have silvered up, creating a beautiful wood cladding to front the garden, which leads on from the end of the house. The use of wood so close to the garden was an important feature for the couple, who were interested in increasing the biodiversity of plants and wildlife around their home, using natural materials safe for the environment.
The other benefits that that couple decided on were the benefits of using a hardwood external cladding to get the durability and longevity as opposed to any softwood cladding. The external cladding they have chosen for their family home won’t need replacing often, and will be the most durable choice when exposed to the great British weather.