Barndominiums—Reinventing the Rural Live-Work Space

Read the full article by Rethink:Rural here.

Barndominiums, also known as “Barn Homes” or “Taj Mastalls,” are gaining popularity with landowners across the country. These multi-purpose structures serve as a workspace—such as a barn, garage or shop—and a home in one building. Popular among individuals, couples, small families and weekenders, their designs range from humble one-story steel buildings (with beautiful indoor features), to romantic caretaker-style barn homes. But practicality aside…

  • How do steel-built barndominiums compare to traditional designs and kits?
  • Can their multi-use functionality go beyond agriculture and workshops?

To answer these questions and more, we turned to the Barndominium experts, Justin Harries and Jessica Sherman at Barn Pros in Monroe, Washington. With over 25 years of experience designing and building kits for timber-frame barns, workspaces and barn homes (barndominiums) for customers in all 50 states and around the world, Barn Pros has become a leading expert in barndominium market.

Below is a summary of their expert tips and advice on choosing the right barn home for your rural land. The full article can be found at Rethink:Rural here.

Beyond the “Barn”—The Endless Uses of Multi-Use Structures

Though the name “barndominium” may conjure up images of living above livestock, horses or tractors, as Harries explains, this is not always the case. “Only about 40 percent of our clients actually use these as an agricultural structure. We have buildings being used in multiple wineries, distilleries, breweries and as stand-alone homes,” says Harries. “People love the way they look. There’s something romantic about the design.”

Here is a small sampling of what Barn Pro’s barn homes are used for across the world:

  • Retail shops
  • Yoga studios
  • Hardware stores
  • Barns for growing plants, such as medicinal herbs
  • Art studios
  • Dog kennels
  • Animal sanctuaries
  • Horse barns (as featured at the Staten Island Zoo)
  • Food Banks
  • Educational facilities
  • Wedding venue structures (this use is so popular, Barn Pros will be expanding their line to include wedding-venue structures in 2018)
  • Rehab center for abused children
  • And dozens more uses

Essentially, if you have a hobby, business or passion, a barndominium can be customized for that purpose. “It’s what our clients are able to achieve with their structures that makes this work so fulfilling to us,” Harries says.

Steel, Custom or Kit—The Benefits and Drawbacks of Each

Barndominiums come in all shapes, sizes and materials for all styles and budgets.

In certain parts of the country, like Texas, steel barndominiums are popular for their quick construction, fire-resistance, durability and typically lower price point. The drawbacks are, steel buildings tend to depreciate over time, they’re typically not energy efficient (steel is hot in the summer and cold in the winter) and not everyone will appreciate their industrial look.

Custom barndominiums can be built to any size and design specifications and are typically priced like a custom home. The potential drawbacks of these are the same as a custom home: cost, wasted materials and the time investment.

Then there’s the barn home kit, which allows you to choose from a catalog of pre-designed, timber-framed structures with a wide variety of customizations. “A misconception people have is, ‘If it’s a kit then it’s not mine.’ But within every model are dozens of interchangeable options to personalize the structure; and you can do that knowing everything will work together. If you think you might like a timber truss, for example, you can see it on our website, so there’s no second-guessing your design choices.”

“Nonresidential barn kits can be built in anywhere from 4-6 weeks, and the apartment barns can be built from start to finish in just a couple months depending upon your builder,” says Sherman. “And we offer a limited lifetime and structural hardware warranty.”

Like modulars, kit-home structures produce significantly less waste than site-built homes, making their environmental impact minimal. In addition, Barn Pros sources its wooden materials from a green-certified mill and zero-waste facility.

The potential downsides of a barndominium kit are: less customization than with a fully custom home, a price point that’s typically higher than steel (though lower than a custom home) and that tangibility factor—can you handle buying and designing your home via phone and online?

You will save on design and construction costs thanks to the pre-designed plans and pre-cut components, however, unlike DIY kit homes and barns, Barn Pros kits are best left to a professional builder.

“This is a full-up timber-framed home, so carpentry skills are highly recommended,” says Harries.

To read the rest of this article, please visit Rethink:Rural. This article was originally published by Rethink:Rural.

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