Best Con­ver­sion

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Self-build Awards -

BILL AND CON­NIE PACK Lo­ca­tion: North­leach, Glouces­ter­shire Build cost: £500,000 Land cost: £ 215,000 Value: £ 1.2 mil­lion Ar­chi­tect: Pack As­socs (020 8788 1750)

Ithought I knew what was meant by a “barn con­ver­sion” and, as a rule, I’m not fond of them. But Bill and Con­nie Pack’s home in North­leach, Glouces­ter­shire, doesn’t just break the beamed-ceil­ings and stable-doors mould: it grinds it into the ground.

They chose to con­vert a Dutch barn, one of those grim, glow­er­ing, metal­lic build­ings that are usu­ally ac­ces­sorised by aban­doned tyres, tar­pau­lins and the car­casses of rust­ing trac­tors.

But, good­ness, what a lit­tle imag­i­na­tion can do. The Packs had orig­i­nally moved into the 18th-cen­tury barn con­ver­sion next door when they found out that this post-war struc­ture was also avail­able. Re­tired ar­chi­tect Bill and his prac­tis­ing ar­chi­tect son, Ed, con­ferred and de­cided that, rather than de­mol­ish­ing the ex­ist­ing build­ing, they would con­vert it. Much to their sur­prise, the Cotswolds plan­ners – no­to­ri­ously fussy, one would have imag­ined – rub­ber­stamped their pro­pos­als with­out de­mur.

The Packs chose to em­brace the build­ing’s bru­tal beauty and did very lit­tle to min­imise the im­pact of its un­wieldy ex­te­rior. Sen­si­tive tweaks and some in­ge­niously el­e­gant adap­ta­tions have, how­ever, cre­ated a stun­ning ef­fect. Dull steel cladding was re­placed by at­trac­tive zinc pan­els; cedar weath­er­board­ing con­trasts beau­ti­fully with it on some el­e­va­tions; the for­mer gap­ing en­trance has been glazed and a splen­didly sin­u­ous stair­case is vis­i­ble through it.

In­ter­nally, the barn’s di­men­sions have made it eas­ier to adapt than oth­ers, which of­ten suf­fer from be­ing too tall to ac­com­mo­date any­thing but huge rooms on a sin­gle storey, but too low to com­fort­ably take a full sec­ond fl oor. The Packs’ home has the height for two full storeys, both of which feel like those of a nor­mal home.

Once inside, rooms are gen­er­ous; mod­ern ma­te­ri­als, such as the tiled fl oors, are tem­pered by rugs; the

po­ten­tially in­dus­trial-feel­ing

kitchen has a scat­ter­ing of

fam­ily knick-knacks to

soften its edges, and the stark

white­ness of much of it is

ame­lio­rated – but not

un­der­mined – by a well­cho­sen mix of mod­ern

and older furniture

and art.

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