Building a House in a Barn: A Guide to Creating Your Dream Barn-Style Home

house in a barn

Are you looking to create a new home that’s unique, stylish, and sustainable? Have you considered building a barn home? This trend, often referred to as barndominium housing, is becoming increasingly popular among Canadians who want to combine the rustic charm of a traditional barn with the modern amenities of a comfortable living space.

In this article, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide to building a barn-style house, including planning and preparation, construction and installation, and maintenance and upkeep.

We’ll also discuss the benefits and challenges of this type of housing, share inspiring examples of barn homes, and provide tips from interior designers and builders who specialize in this field.

Planning and Preparation

Before you begin building your barn-style house, you need to do some careful planning and preparation. Here are some key steps to consider:

● Choosing the Right Location

Selecting an appropriate location is the initial step in constructing a barn house. It is crucial to consider a variety of factors, such as zoning regulations, accessibility to utilities, and natural surroundings. If you’re building on a farm or rural property, you may have more flexibility in terms of location, but you still need to ensure that the site is suitable for your needs.

● Designing Your Barn House

barndominium plans designThe next step is designing your barn house. You’ll need to create a floor plan that suits your lifestyle and preferences, as well as select the style, materials, and finishes that fit your budget and vision. This is where you can let your creativity shine and make your barn house truly unique.

If you’re not sure where to start, you may want to consult an architect or builder who specializes in barn-style homes and interiors. They can provide professional advice and assistance related to architecture throughout the process and help you create a design that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

● Hiring a Professional

insulating steel barn homeBuilding a barn-style house is not a DIY project, and you’ll need to hire a professional contractor or builder with experience in this field. Look for someone who specializes in barn homes and can provide references, portfolios, and testimonials from previous clients.

Make sure you have a written contract that specifies the scope of work, payment terms, and timelines. In addition to selecting a suitable location, obtaining the necessary permits and approvals from your local municipality or building authority is crucial when building a barn house.

Construction and Installation

Once the planning and preparation stages are complete, it is time to proceed to the construction and installation phase. Here are some key steps to follow:

● Preparing the Site

The initial step in constructing a barn house involves site preparation, which may consist of activities such as land clearance, ground levelling, and pouring a concrete foundation if required. You’ll also need to ensure that the site is accessible to trucks and machinery and that there’s enough space to maneuver and store materials.

● Erecting the Steel Frame

steel building framing homeThe next step is erecting the steel frame of the barn house. This is where the speed and efficiency of prefabricated homes come into play. Most barn-style homes are built using a post-and-beam construction method, which involves a timber frame, large wooden posts, and beams that support the weight of the structure.

Now you need to erect the steel frame on top of the foundation, which can be accomplished quickly and with minimal disturbance to the site. The frame is secured firmly in place. Once the frame is up, you’ll have a clear sense of the size and shape of your main house.

● Installing the Walls, Windows, Doors, and Roofing

barndominium concept large windowsThe next step is installing the walls, windows, doors, and roofing. You can choose from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, or composite materials depending on your preferences and climate conditions.

For the walls, you may want to consider using reclaimed barn wood to give your barn house an authentic and rustic look. This wood can be sourced from old barns that are no longer in use and can be repurposed to create beautiful and durable walls.

Windows and doors are vital components of any home, including barn-style houses. There is a wide selection of styles, sizes, and materials available to choose from to match your preferences and budget. Some popular options include sliding barn doors, French doors, and large picture windows that let in natural light and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

barndominium roof installationRoofing is another key aspect of barn-style homes, and you’ll need to choose a material that’s durable, weather-resistant, and aesthetically pleasing. Metal roofs are a favoured option for barn homes as they offer a contemporary and stylish appearance while also providing exceptional protection from the elements. Gambrel roofs, which feature two slopes on each side of the roof, are also commonly used in barn-style homes and offer a spacious and open feel.

● Adding Interior Features

Once the exterior of your barn house is complete, it’s time to focus on the interior features. This is where you can really customize your barn house and create a space that reflects your personality and lifestyle.

Some key features to consider include plumbing, electrical wiring, and HVAC systems to ensure comfort and convenience. You’ll also need to create separate rooms such as a dining room, family room, and bedrooms, as well as install furniture and add decorative elements that enhance the rustic charm of your barn house.

If you’re not sure how to design your interior, you may want to consult an interior designer who specializes in barn-style homes. They can provide valuable insights and inspiration on how to make the most of your barn with living quarters and create a cohesive and inviting environment.

Maintenance and Upkeep

Building a barn-style home is just the first step in creating your dream home. You also need to ensure that it’s well-maintained and cared for over time. Here are some tips on how to do that:

● Regular Inspections

Regular inspections of the walls, roof, and foundation of your barn home are necessary to maintain its structural soundness. It is essential to check for any signs of leaks, cracks, or damage and address them promptly to ensure the longevity of your barn house. You should also inspect the HVAC system, plumbing, and electrical systems to ensure that they’re working properly.

● Cleaning and Caring

Cleaning and caring for your barn house is also important to ensure that it stays in good condition. You should clean and maintain the interior and exterior surfaces, including floors, walls, windows, and furniture. You should also take care to avoid damage to the wood and other materials, such as scratches, dents, or water damage.

● Upgrading and Renovating

Over time, you may want to upgrade or renovate your barn house to meet changing needs and preferences. This could involve adding new features such as a garage, a second floor, or additional living spaces. You may also want to update the finishes or furniture to give your barn house a fresh and modern look.

Benefits and Challenges of Building a Barn-Style Home

gambrel style barn homeBuilding a barn-style home offers many benefits, including:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Barn-style homes can be built quickly and efficiently using prefabricated components, which can save you money on labour costs.
  • Flexibility: Barn-style homes offer a wide range of design options and can be customized to suit your lifestyle and preferences.
  • Sustainability: Many barn-style homes are built using reclaimed materials, which reduces waste and promotes sustainability.

However, building a barn-style home also presents some challenges, including:

  • Structural issues: Barn-style homes may have unique structural challenges that require specialized expertise to address.
  • Building codes and regulations: Barn-style homes may need to meet specific building codes and regulations, which can vary depending on your location.
  • Maintenance and upkeep: Barn-style homes require regular maintenance and upkeep to ensure that they remain in good condition and retain their value over time.

Inspiring Examples of Barn Homes

To give you some inspiration and ideas for your own barn-style home, here are some examples of stunning barn homes from around the world:

● The North Carolina Barn House

This barn-style home in North Carolina was built using reclaimed wood from an old tobacco barn. It features a spacious great room with a stone fireplace, exposed timber framing, and a stunning metal roof. The interior is bright and open, with plenty of natural light and rustic charm.

● The New York Horse Barn House

This horse barn house in upstate New York was transformed into a stunning ground-floor living space that’s both elegant and cozy. The barn-style house boasts a generous dining room, a contemporary kitchen, and a snug family room with a stone fireplace and a gambrel roof. The loft bedroom provides scenic views of the adjacent countryside while overlooking the living space.

● The California Wine Country Barn House

This barn-style home in California’s wine country combines rustic charm with modern amenities. It features a spacious great room with a vaulted ceiling and exposed beams, a gourmet kitchen, and a stunning master suite with a stone fireplace and a luxurious bathroom. The exterior is clad in reclaimed barn wood and features a beautiful metal roof and expansive windows that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding vineyards.

Tips from Interior Designers and Builders

To help you create the barn-style home of your dreams, we reached out to some interior designers and builders who specialize in this field. Here are their top tips:

● Add Rustic Charm with Reclaimed Barn Wood

Reclaimed barn wood is a great way to add rustic charm and character to your barn-style home. Use it on walls, floors, ceilings, and even furniture to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. “Barn wood is incredibly versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to add texture and interest to your home,” says interior designer Sarah Jones.

● Create Separate Living Spaces

While barn-style homes are known for their open floor plans, it’s still important to create separate living spaces for different activities. “You need to have distinct areas for cooking, dining, lounging, and sleeping,” says builder Tom Smith. “This will help to create a more comfortable and functional living environment.”

● Mix Old and New Elements

sliding barn doorsTo create a unique and personalized look for your barn-style home, mix old and new elements. “Combine vintage pieces with modern furniture, and mix textures and materials for a layered and eclectic look,” says interior designer Emily Green.

● Use Natural Materials

Natural materials such as wood, stone, and metal are a great way to add texture and warmth to your barn-style home. “These materials have a timeless quality that will never go out of style,” says builder John Doe.


1. What is a barn-style house?

white two level barndominiumA barn-style house is a type of residential building that’s designed to resemble a traditional barn or agricultural structure. These homes typically feature a post-and-beam construction method, with large wooden posts and beams supporting the weight of the structure.

They often incorporate rustic elements such as exposed timber framing, metal roofing, and natural materials like wood and stone wall.

2. How much does it cost to build a barn-style house?

The cost of constructing a barn-style house can significantly vary depending on several factors such as the size of the house, the materials used, and the location. However, many barn-style homes are designed to be cost-effective and efficient, with prefabricated components that can save on labour costs. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to build a barn-style home in Canada is between $100 and $200 per square foot.

3. Can a barn-style house be energy efficient?

insulating steel barn homeYes, a barn-style house can be designed to be energy efficient by incorporating features such as high-performance windows and doors, insulation, and efficient heating and cooling systems. Many barn-style homes also use natural materials like wood and stone, which can provide insulation and help regulate temperature.

4. How do I maintain a barn-style house?

Maintaining a barn-style house requires regular inspections and cleaning to ensure that it stays in good condition. You should check for leaks, cracks, or damage to the walls, roof, or foundation regularly, and address any issues promptly.

You should also clean and maintain the interior and exterior surfaces, including floors, walls, windows, and furniture. Finally, you should upgrade or renovate your barn house to meet changing needs and preferences over time.

5.    How long does it take to build a barn-style house?

The timeline for building a barn-style house can vary depending on various factors such as the complexity of the design, weather conditions, and the availability of labour and materials. However, generally, it takes between six months to a year to complete the construction of a barn-style house.


farmhouse barndoBuilding a house in a barn offers a unique and stylish interior design to create a comfortable and sustainable living space. Whether you’re looking for a primary residence, a second home, or a vacation retreat, a barn-style home can provide the perfect blend of rustic charm and modern amenities.

By following the steps outlined in this article and drawing inspiration from the examples and tips provided, you can create a barn-style home that’s truly one-of-a-kind. So why not explore the possibilities and start building your dream home today?