WHEN IS A BARN NOT A BARN?
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