Retrofitting a Barn Conversion

Pye Barn in Oxfordshire is an early barn conversion that was originally converted into a dwelling in 1935. The barn conversion required retrofitting. The original barn conversion undertaken by architect John Pym, was the subject of a contemporary feature in Country Life magazine.


It is always fascinating to hear new stories about the buildings you work on. It was therefore a pleasure to make contact with Jonet, who used to live in Pye Barn as a child in the 1940s. The barn was originally converted into a dwelling by her grandmother in 1935 and was the subject of a write up in Country Life magazine.

Part of the garden was an orchard and Jonet’s mother used to keep chickens and ducks. Jonet recalled tales of drying out ducklings in the range after a soaking from a heavy storm.

I first visited Pye Barn while undertaking a site appraisal for my clients, who were relocating from London.

The barn still had glorious spaces, but required updating. The heating was inefficient, there was little in the way of insulation, partitions were paper-thin and windows single glazed.

My work was to revitalise and retrofit the barn without foregoing the majesty of the spaces.

One aspect of the 1935 Country Life description that I find particularly interesting as an architect, is John Pym’s conscious use of contemporary materials for the conversion works. This was in order to contrast with the ancient structure of the original barn, thereby allowing both to be clearly identified. It was a modern approach at the time and is a philosophy that I still follow. You can see more of the work undertaken to Pye Barn here.

If you own a barn conversion that is in need of a refresh, I can help:

  • Make your home more energy efficient and sustainable.
  • Suggest ways in which the spaces can be improved.
  • Suggest the best options for expanding the spaces.
  • Offer an outline idea of costs.
  • Discuss any permissions required and how the project would be programmed.

If you would like to discuss your project please feel free to get in touch.