Sometimes when I’m browsing countryside properties for sale (which is too often according to the OH), I automatically zoom in on barn conversions. You could say I’m obsessed. My dream is a sympathetic conversion that stays true to the architectural integrity of the original building. While incorporating all modern conveniences of course. And with breathtaking views. They almost don’t exist. Too often a modern house has been squeezed into an old building by a property developer, and once inside, you could be in any type building at all. And then I saw this stunning architect designed conversion and all my dreams came true.
Take a Look – The Main Barn
This is the work of London-based architects De Rosee Sa, who have fulfilled all of my fantasies with the extension and extensive refurbishment of this converted barn in Wells, Somerset. Together with the completion of a new build guesthouse.
Known as Kilnwood, the property is located on the edge of the Mendip Hills with a panoramic view overlooking Glastonbury Tor. The brief for the project given to De Rosee Sa was to ensure that the renovation and new build share the same local vernacular and architectural language as that of other nearby farms and rural buildings. Details such as pitched roofs and black ship-lap timber boarding.
With the main house (the converted barn) De Rosee Sa designed an impressive and welcoming entrance, including a new external entrance porch. This porch also functions as a boot room. And within what was the original hallway, they relocated the staircase. Moving its footprint allowed for a double-height space, and so, created a more dramatic interior.
The new hall also created a sense of symmetry that was lacking before. Original beams were exposed and local slate was laid underfoot. A tonal palette of earthy hues were used throughout, echoing the property’s rural surroundings. In the hall, it was a deep velvety green that was applied to the stairwell, contrasting nicely with accent furniture in natural wood tones.
De Rosee Sa’s work at Kilnwood also saw the refurbishment of the living room and snug within the main house. Featuring bespoke joinery in a classic elegant blue with a natural seagrass carpet, the larger living room also has a wood burning stove. My favourite spot is the deep showcase window seat with lush valley views.
The Outside Space
Outside of the main house, the pool was refurbished alongside an existing out-building to create an elegant setting for outdoor living. The swimming pool outhouse was roofed with terracotta tile and a timber veranda was installed. While alongside the pool an in-built natural stone seating area was added, and an outside shower was constructed from a striking black timber cladding.
Replacing an existing external garage on Kilnwood’s property grounds, De Rosee Sa additionally designed and built a one-story new build named ‘The Pottery’ to act as a guesthouse. Utilising the practice’s signature use of black timbre, the detail is simple, yet crisper and more contemporary than the main barn.
Highlights of the new build include the kitchen, which features exposed beams in the pitched roof, bespoke shaker-style cabinetry in a black inky hue, reconstituted stone worktops and traditional terracotta tiles in a contrast of luxurious textures and tone.
On the project, co-founder and lead architect Max de Rosee comments: “The property’s rural settings and spectacular view of Glastonbury Tor make Kilnwood a very special design project for the practice. We wanted to achieve a sensitive renovation of the former farm buildings, using natural, organic materials with polished finishes, all of which take inspiration from the property’s agricultural surroundings. We sought to create slightly different atmospheres for each room at Kilnwood, from the welcoming yet rustic interiors of the main barn to the more contemporary calm of The Pottery.”
Architect: De Rosee Sa
Photo credit: Alex James