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
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