Project Profile

Project: Conservation survey and repairs

Location: Oxfordshire 

Oak-framed barn conversion

Transformation of a dilapidated 18th Century barn to a low maintenance modern home.


Converting listed agricultural buildings is nearly always a challenge. Be it from a design or conservation perspective an oak frame barn conversion such as this requires a great deal of careful consideration and close liaison with the local authorities. Brotherton Barn is an 18th Century listed barn in Oxfordshire. Although the owners had lived in a listed building for the last twenty years their tastes had changed considerably and they were keen to have a new home with light open spaces and contemporary feel. 

They had spent several years looking at new houses but to no avail. On a visit back to the UK they spotted a small advert in a local paper and decided to take a look. Brotherton Barn was the largest of three barns and stood amongst a group of converted farm buildings which form a quadrangle with a listed farmhouse. Originally built in 1759, the former threshing barn was so overgrown that it was virtually impossible to see one half of the exterior. Apart from a collection of bins, rubbish and a redundant Aga the building was empty.

The barn is built in local stone with an elm roof structure. Due to its dilapidated state years of water ingress had caused failure of some of the significant structural members in the timber frame although much of it was in generally sound condition. It is often the case that post and purlin ends suffer because they are on damp ground or set into damp walls. In addition to this some of the principle rafters had failed where the roof over them had not been maintained. We undertook a survey of the frame to identify the necessary repairs. This survey was used to give assurance to the local conservation officer that the work was being undertaken by a reputable company with a proven track record of conservation of timber frames in listed buildings.