When a barn reaches the end of its useful life it is usually torn down and for some a company like Aged Woods repurposes the wood for another use. It is good for the landowner, for the company who recycles the wood and the person who ultimately gets the reclaimed wood in their home. But some old barns in the United States and the United Kingdom are finding new life, not as flooring or furniture, but as loft apartments.
There has been an emphasis in the UK to save historic structures. Old barns, many dating from the 18th century and some to the 14th century are falling apart as they are no longer useful for modern farming. Many of these barns are huge buildings and some were built to store grain in response to embargoes during the Napoleonic Wars. Preservationists thought it was a shame to let these structures go to waste and have strove to save them and put them to good use as a livable space.
It doesn’t matter what material the barns are made of, whether it be stone, brick or wood. The barns are rehabbed and made livable. Many Britons want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the large cities like London and Birmingham and live a simpler life more in touch with nature. Where better then in an old barn? These do not come cheap though. There are many government hurdles to jump through and there is a lot of work required to make the barn livable. But for those who have made the move they believe it is well worth it.
This has also been going on here in the US. Old barns are being converted to house pretty much anything that can fit in there from people to restaurants. Local and state preservation groups are key to maintaining the appearance of the barn whenever possible because once that is lost it is lost forever. Emphasis is placed on repairing and not replacing elements of the barn, changing as little of the frame as possible and keeping as much interior space as possible. Converting a barn to housing is especially of concern as much work would need to be done to make the barn livable and would inevitably destroy much of the historical value of it. Loft apartments are becoming very popular for younger buyers and many other old buildings like factories are being repurposed to provide housing. So while the younger buyers may be headed to the cities the older ones can move to a barn.
Of course it would be extremely ironic if anyone who chose to live in a barn considered a reclaimed hardwood floor for their living space. Now there’s an idea!