Modern Barn Restoration - South Devon

A ruin in your garden might have been an 18th Century idyll, but, for a modern South Devon family, it was wasted space – and dangerous. Meanwhile, just yards away was a lovely, traditional stone-built house that the family had outgrown.

One solution could have been a conventional extension but architect Ian McDonald of Moxley McDonald, suggested to instead restore the barn to its former glory and converting it into complementary accommodation.


  • Maintaining a visual link with the clients’ existing home the aim being to match the stone, lintels and joinery.
  • Breathtakingly bad weather which made getting the roof on by Christmas a priority.
  • Keeping the damp out – the ruin was not just at the bottom of a small hill but sited over an underground stream.
  • Achieving a quality of craftsmanship worthy of the seasoned oak used throughout the interior.


  • Creating a second home for the family that looks hundreds of years old from the outside, but has all the amenities a modern family wants inside.
  • Meeting our deadline, despite the weather, by first building a concrete skin inside the existing stonework to support the oak trusses. We then got the trusses up and the roof felted before Christmas. We finished the slating, including roof windows, in a bitter January.
  • Managing to match the stonework of the clients’ original home by mixing the original stone from the ruin with new stone that was at best a good approximation.
  • Achieving a high-quality finish throughout.


Site manager: Terry Bulley

Designer: Moxley McDonald Architects

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