In grandpa’s barn
If there isn’t a vacant house available on the family farm, you simply make a plan with the outbuildings!
Reason for renovation
What are your options when your whole family – parents, sister and brother – all live on the family farm but there’s nowhere for you to stay? You renovate the old barn – as Wilna Hugo did. She now lives happily in her own cottage in the space where her grandfather’s thresher once stood.
“The barn was built in 1950 and my grandfather used the wheel of a threshing machine to create the most beautiful window. There was also a pit in the floor which he used when he needed to work underneath his vehicles,” says Wilna.
“When I decided to convert this space into a place to live, it was basically an empty shell with one plug, one light, one small circular window and a large barn door.”
But this didn’t deter Wilna. She had a mezzanine level built in so that the bedroom could be on an upper level, with a living room, kitchen and bathroom below. The project took two years and Wilna says she would not have been able to do it without the help and advice of her friend Jaco Visser, her brother-in-law JB van Eeden, and her dad Gerrit Hugo.
• The small wheel window was carefully removed and built in higher up near the roof so that it wouldn’t be in the middle of the new mezzanine level.
• The barn door was partly bricked up and converted into a large north-facing window. A kitchen door, a French door for the entrance, and a bathroom- and kitchen window were added. On the westfacing wall, where the front door is, no windows were installed to reduce the heat from the afternoon sun.
• A new concrete floor was laid and raised by as much as 10cm in places to create a level surface.
• The bathroom was built on the ground floor next to the open-plan kitchen. An I-beam was installed above the kitchen and bathroom to support the new mezzanine level.
• Floorboards were then sawn and nailed to the joists ( see box, opposite). The mezzanine level added 22m².
• Extra wiring and pipes were laid and a septic tank was installed.
• Because money was tight, the old corrugated iron roof was repaired where necessary and a new ceiling was installed.
• All the walls and floors were painted, while the pit was retained as a storage area – it was simply covered with a wooden lid.
often When my father was little, the barn was used for staging shows. Now, performances
four are held here once again by my brother’s
best children who regard my house as the
stage ever! – Wilna
The kitchen door is from one of the other houses on the farm. The wheel window made by Wilna’s grandpa still has pride of place.
Who lives here? Wilna Hugo
WHERE Worcester SIZE 71m²
Page over for tips on
how to install a mezzanine level.