Pye Barn, Oxon

'A converted barn in the Oxford countryside is stripped back to its original shell to reveal breathtaking proportions and gorgeous oak structures.'

Pye Barn is a contemporary timber framed aisled barn conversion in rural Oxfordshire. The original barn conversion was undertaken in the 1930s by architect John Pym and was featured in Country Life magazine in November 1935. Although impressive, the property was in need of modernisation.

As barn conversion architect, David undertook a contemporary redesign and renovation of the barn.

Initially David undertook a site appraisal of the property for the client during the purchase. This was followed by conversations and sketches to explore the possibilities of the building in relation to the clients brief. The aim was to provide a contemporary design without compromising the rural setting and massive timber structure of the original barn. More specifically, it was to be a working family home that could evolve.

At the centre of the house is an eight-metre high galleried hallway. This is the heart of the building and allows one to experience the strength and scale of the timber structure, of oak and elm.

The design was a process of subtraction rather than addition. The barn was stripped back to the original oak structure of columns and trusses. This provided a grid around which spaces were planned.

A major theme was the re-organisation of the first floor plan so that the bedrooms were accessed via the central gallery. The proportions of the original barn are celebrated with open plan spaces and ceilings reaching to the apex of the roof.

The new additions are treated as stand alone units and detailed accordingly.

The barn conversion is situated on three acres of land with direct access to the village green beyond. It was therefore important to exploit the connection with the landscape. Opening glazed strips characterise the garden elevation, reflecting both the ground floor living area and first floor master bedroom suite.

On summer evenings the family can slide open the full height windows and enjoy the garden and the village green beyond.

The barn conversion project was included in ‘Detail In Contemporary Bathroom Design’ by Virginia McLeod, published by Laurence King and was the subject of a technical feature in Building Design magazine.

Photography by Lyndon Douglas