WHEN IS A BARN NOT A BARN?

Lancashire Life - - PROPERTY - WORDS: Roger Bor­rell Š PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: John Cocks

When it’s a strik­ing con­tem­po­rary space with

high ceil­ings and bathed in nat­u­ral light

The phrase ‘barn con­ver­sion’ means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple. There are some stun­ning ex­am­ples of truly imag­i­na­tive con­ver­sions across Lan­cashire but, as well as pos­i­tives, there can be a few neg­a­tive con­no­ta­tions.

Step across the thresh­old of Ju­lia and Gary Southam’s prop­erty just out­side Orm­skirk and you would think this was a con­tem­po­rary, cut­ting-edge re­cent build rather than a farmer’s barn that has been around since the early 1900s. And that’s ex­actly how they in­tended it to be.

‘To some, barn con­ver­sions con­jure up a house that’s dimly lit with low ceil­ings and dusty beams – not for me, I’m afraid, as I suf­fer from a dust al­lergy,’ said Gary. ‘When we moved here from Wi­gan 15 years ago we had a wish list – we wanted it to be ru­ral but not cut off, we wanted

“We had a wish list – we wanted it to be ru­ral but not cut off, we wanted lots of light, we didn’t want small win­dows and we didn’t want beams”

lots of light, we didn’t want small rooms and we didn’t want beams.’

A tall or­der but Black­thorn

Barn suited them per­fectly. Orm­skirk is a 25 minute walk away and South­port is less than 10 miles by road.

‘We moved from an Ed­war­dian house with high ceil­ings and lots of space,’ adds Ju­lia, who works in housing. ‘We wanted to come to the coun­try­side but that usu­ally means dark cot­tages and barns.

‘This house was a con­verted barn but it had been styled as a Span­ish villa and, as soon as we walked in, we agreed it was a place where we could do things.’

And they cer­tainly have done things. In the last 15 years they have had three dif­fer­ent kitchens and the two bath­rooms have twice been re­vamped.

The house is a prime ex­am­ple of how clean lines and neu­tral colours can work to­gether with a mix of wooden and tiled floors com­bined with some colour­fully quirky fur­ni­ture and pieces of art that add char­ac­ter.

Ju­lia is keen on un­usual fur­ni­ture and has sourced sev­eral state­ment pieces from abroad, in­clud­ing an or­nate French bed.

The house is ba­si­cally di­vided into ‘adult’ and ‘children’ ar­eas al­though Gary said their son and daugh­ter would give him a hard time for us­ing the de­scrip­tion. The down­stairs has a liv­ing room per­fect for teenagers while the modern kitchen has a liv­ing area where the gen­er­a­tions can mix.

The main liv­ing room does have an orig­i­nal beam but it acts as a lin­tel above the fire­place that houses a wood burn­ing stove. With at­trac­tively cor­nices, this is another room bathed in nat­u­ral light from large win­dows. It is high enough to ac­com­mo­date an up­stairs gallery.

On the first floor there is a house bath­room and the mas­ter bed­room on the ‘adult’ side has a large walk-in dress­ing room and en suite, again with high end fix­tures and fit­tings.

A cou­ple of the win­dows are un­usual rect­an­gles half­way down the wall which means you can look out across the quar­ter acre land­scaped garden to coun­try­side from the comfort of your bed. There are some grand views from Black­thorn Barn – on a clear day, you can see the Welsh moun­tains.

Ju­lia and Gary, power boat enthusiast­s since their teens, are now mov­ing to be closer to par­ents who are not in the best of health so Black­thorn Barn is on the mar­ket with Re­gan & Hall­worth with a price tag of of­fers in ex­cess of £675,000.

‘We thought this would be our home for­ever,’ said Gary.

‘But fam­ily is im­por­tant to us so we are now on the move. I think peo­ple will ap­pre­ci­ate the fact this house is only a barn on the out­side. On the in­side, it’s a con­tem­po­rary fam­ily home.’ www.re­ganand­hall­worth.com

The hand made kitchen is the third in 15 years

The liv­ing area is an ex­ten­sion of the kitchen

The prop­erty could be mis­taken for a rel­a­tively new build

Large win­dows al­low light to flood the rooms

Ju­lia has bought quirky fur­ni­ture from abroad

The main bed­room has a walk-in dress­ing room and bath­room

Gary says the house is di­vided into ar­eas for children and adults

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