February 10, 2015

How to Create a Modern Barn Conversion

Written by Rebecca Clayton

Contemporary barn renovation

Using bespoke architectural glazing for a light-filled countryside home

When it comes to modern barn conversions, updated Class Q legislation has made it much easier for landowners to convert disused agricultural buildings or barns into residential countryside dwellings. The extended Permitted Development Rights criteria now allow for simpler and more cost-effective design options when renovating these older, traditional buildings.

One particularly important design concern in a modern barn conversion, when converting agricultural buildings into living spaces is the introduction of plentiful natural light. Traditional barn constructions tend to have either small windows for ventilation or enormous cart door openings. Specifying modern, high-performance architectural glazing solutions is a key consideration that should be taken into account early on in the design and planning process.


Window Design

In a modern barn conversion, it's important that where possible, the original window openings are englarged to allow more light to enter the space. Class Q legislation places restrictions on changing the overall size of the building, however, there is much greater flexibility in adapting the size and shape of the structural openings within it.

Frameless structural glazing can be used to create large picture windows that maximise the flow of natural light into the space, while forging a strong connection with the surrounding countryside views.

Frameless picture window with solar control glass barn conversion

The Invisio structural glazing system from IQ glass creates stunning oversized windows with no limits on the shape or size, making it ideal for a modern barn conversion project. The fully thermally broken frames are concealed within the building’s finishes for a truly minimal and contemporary design.

For opening elements, slim framed aluminium casement windows are a great option. The aluminium profiles are long-lasting, low maintenance and can be powder coated in any RAL colour to match the chosen design aesthetic for a barn conversion.

The Sieger® casement window range features a full thermal break to maximise thermal performance, while the visible profiles start at 58mm for a minimal appearance.


Industrial style designs

Netherlands barn conversion with slim steel glazed doors

Alternately, a more traditional aesthetic can be achieved using slim steel framed glazing systems. Mondrian® windows can work very well on these historic buildings, recreating an industrial look with optional bespoke glazing bar designs.

Steel glazed doors can be configured in a number of different ways, including pivoting, bifolding and casement designs.

The thermally broken profiles can be specified in bespoke shapes to add a unique sense of character, such as opting for an arched door design.

This was done to great effect in this Netherlands country home design, which opted for minimal steel casement doors with curved fixed glazing overhead. The modern glazing was balanced against the retention of the traditional timber barn doors on either side, to preserve the original character.


Cart Door Openings

If choosing to stick with the original large cart door openings, slim sliding glass doors are a great solution to0 fill the opening. Highly bespoke sliding glass doors can be designed with glass panels of up to 19m2 for double glazed installations, while an almost limitless number of sliding panes means that enormous apertures can be filled with a minimal sliding glass façade.

Slim framed sliding glass systems to open plan kitchen barn conversion

The ultra slim sliding glass door range by IQ features extremely minimal 21mm vertical profiles and the option for completely hidden outer frames, creating a near frameless design that allows uninterrupted paths of natural light to flow freely. Flush thresholds ensure that the floor finishes flow seamlessly between the internal living spaces and the external garden and terrace areas.

This barn conversion, Brook Barn, features a modern kitchen design with one wall made entirely of multiple sliding and fixed glass panels. The result was a seamless connection with the central courtyard space while ensuring the open-plan interior design was bathed with light throughout the day.

The IQ Glass Headquarters team used sliding glass doors in this modern barn conversion, as part of the wider glazing package that included a structural glass roof.

The glazed elements were designed to seamlessly integrate with the exposed timber elements, with the sliding doors appearing almost frameless behind the exposed timber beams. The design team worked closely with the architects to ensure the vertical interlocking profiles of the sliding systems were aligned with the timber posts, focusing on global alignment for a seamless design.

The project was also featured on Channel 4's show 'Inside Out Homes'.


Integrating oversized glazing

Modern barn conversion with double height minimal sliding glass doorsIn many instances, barns will follow a double-height, single-storey design. This can be renovated to great effect to produce central atriums and entrances that emphasise the sense of space, by opting for impressive, oversized glazing that spans up to 6m tall per glass unit.

Sliding glass door systems offer huge flexibility in the oversized designs that can be achieved, with maximum tested heights of up to 6m. Automation can be integrated into the design if the resulting glass door panes weigh more than 500kg, to enable smooth and easy opening mechanisms.

A stunning example of this is Coolington Barn, which opted for a double set of statement sliding doors that frame the views to each side of the open-plan dining space. Above, a floating walkway links the upstairs living spaces together. The Midlands regional team designed the double height sliding doors in a two pane configuration, flooding the interior design with natural light and creating a through-view.

Another example of using oversized glazing in a barn conversion is Perham Farm in Taunton. Our dedicated South West regional team worked on the project, designing and installing large sliding doors to create a light filled studio space that can be used for company retreats.


Gable End Facades

Structural glass gable end opening

For a dramatic glass centrepiece, consider filling an entire gable end elevation with frameless structural glass.

This bespoke glass facade will bathe the internal living spaces with natural light and create a feature window that embraces the views beyond.

Gable end facades are designed using bespoke shaped sections of toughened structural glazing. Minimal silicone joints are used between each unit, in keeping with the overall frameless aesthetic. Minimal glass doors can then be integrated within the façade, for a stunning indoor-outdoor style of living.


Technical glazing for comfortable living environments

Green Barn Structural Glass LinkSpecifying large glass elevations allows for the creation of beautiful, light-filled barn designs. However, proper planning is needed to ensure the living spaces don’t suffer from excessive solar gain, particularly for south-facing elevations. Solar control glass is a key technical glazing solution that reflects the sun’s infrared radiation back out into the atmosphere, rather than trapping it within the room.

Glass can also be used to maximise the minimalist interior design, by acting as an invisible heat source during the colder months. IQ’s heated glass emits a radiant heat source throughout the room that can be easily adjusted to specific temperatures using smart home technology. IQ
Glass recommends that if using heated glass as the only heat source in a room, the glazing should occupy 20% of the floorspace. This technical glazing system allows homeowners to maintain a modern, open plan design, uncluttered by radiators or heaters.


Next Steps

The design and recreation of a traditional farm building into a modern home is a task that requires careful planning, imagination and patience - but the results can be stunning. For expert advice on the glazing options to consider when designing a modern barn conversion...

Contact the team at hello@iqglassuk.com or you can call us on 01494722880

contemporary barn conversion with slim sliding glass doors