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What is a Barn House?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 16, 2024
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Generally speaking, a barn house is a house that is designed to look like a barn or has been converted into a living space from an actual barn. The features of a barn house may vary from house to house, but generally the characteristic look of a barn is preserved in the design of the house. Some of the spacious features of a barn are also preserved in the layout.

Perhaps the most noticeable feature of a barn house is the gambrel roof, which is a symmetrical roof style with two slopes on each side. The upper slope is slanted at a lower angle, and the lower slope is steeper. While this is an attractive roof style for a barn house, it also serves a specific function: it has many of the benefits of a slanted roof, such as allowing for runoff from precipitation, while maximizing the open space on the interior of the building.

A barn house is generally constructed using a post and beam method. In other words, a horizontal beam is supported by two or more vertical ones. This tends to maximize open space within the structure while still allowing for strength and support. This method, however, is not as strong as others, and in order to increase strength and support, vertical beams must be placed closer together. This can cause some crowding within the structure if not done properly.

More modern barn houses avoid the problems associated with post and beam design by making trussed roofs, which are essentially triangular supports that transfer the load of the roof directly to the side walls of the structure. By using the truss design, the barn house interior can become more open, and interior walls can be knocked down or moved without affecting the load-bearing effectiveness of the house. This design also maximizes the usable space on the second floor of the barn.

Some barn houses are not designed like barns at all, but rather share some of the characteristics. For example, a two-story ranch house can be modified to include gambrel dormers. A decorative hay loft door that does not open can be added to any flat wall. A silo, either functional or decorative, can be added to any style of house to create a barn-like atmosphere. A cupola can be added to a gambrel roof, which allows light and circulation into the upper portion of the house. Often, a cupola is mounted with a weathervane, which can add a barn-like style to any house.

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Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Discussion Comments
By sunshined — On May 12, 2011

Most people seem to be curious about house barns. I have a friend who lives in one that was designed to look like a barn. They have a very open floor plan with lots of room for storage underneath the main part of the house.

They also have horses, so the whole thing fits together very well. Even if it is something that you would not want to invest in yourself, there is something about the unique features of them, that people want to see what they look like inside.

They can be very modern, functional and pleasing to the eye. I don't think I would want to live in one, but I think I would as many tours as I could get!

By Mykol — On May 10, 2011

I have always been fascinated by barns that have been converted into homes. I previously had some neighbors who lived in a converted barn house. My son was there for a birthday party, so I got a tour and it was so interesting.

They enjoyed the unique features of their home, but it also came with some challenges. It was very hard to heat in the winter and was very drafty. It can also take quite a bit of money to make a conversion like that, but if you enjoy something unique it can be worth your time and money.

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
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