Barns are big in modern design these days—do a search for the word on Co.Design alone and you’ll pull up a wealth of conversions, reinterpretations, and adaptive reuses of the traditional rural icon. On North Bruny Island, just off Tasmania, architect John Wardle (of his eponymous Melbourne-based firm) started with a structure once-removed from the classic A-frame, updating a sheep shearer’s quarters into a truly lovely guesthouse on his own property.
The surrounding land is still a fully functioning farm—the cultivation of which dates back as one of the first grants in the area—so the development had to be sensitive to the site’s heritage as well as to its current operations and responsibilities while complementing the adjacent historic cottage. The exterior is clad in corrugated iron, a standard material for agricultural sheds and one that subtly conceals the genuine warmth of the interior, which itself is revealed through the recurring floor-to-ceiling windows, and oversize shutters along one side of the structure.
Once inside, metallics are cast away in favor of something entirely timber-lined; every surface is covered in wood. In a video interview, Wardle tells Dezeen Editor-in-Chief Marcus Fairs that, in addition to actually housing working shearers, the residence is also a retreat for friends, family, and even (lucky!) staff who make the trek to the isle for tree-planting weekends or a much-needed getaway. The project has been, unsurprisingly, a big hit, and a winner in the Villa category at last year’s World Architecture Festival.