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An Old Barn Gets New Life As A Modernist Hideaway

Carl Turner Architects turned a 150-year-old structure into a modern, open-plan residence–but you’d never know from the exterior.

Let’s say it’s a lovely fall afternoon. You’re wandering through the beautiful British countryside in Norfolk–as you are wont to do in this scenario–and spot the Ochre Barn. From the outside, you note, its weathered, red brick walls suggest a structure that’s seen centuries of seasons come and go. You are very perceptive–and completely right–but the space within tells an entirely different story. When London-based Carl Turner (of his eponymous architecture firm) bought the 150-year-old property he left the facade intact, and set about renovating the interior to accommodate a stunning, spare, largely open-plan residence.

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In order to stay true to its history, Turner treated the exterior as if it were listed (in Britain, listed buildings may not be altered in any way without express permission from the local planning council). Exposed ceiling beams and crisp white walls were given prominence throughout the inside, but perhaps the most striking design decision was the liberal use of oriented strand board (OSB); the modest material’s variegation gives a slightly raw, comfortably unfinished feel to the place, separating the domestic areas and providing a unique visual coherency from room to room. Adjacent to the main house, Turner erected a smaller unit to act as guest rental or studio. Considering the surroundings, seems like a good bet he can get some happy part-time lodgers, no sweat. For more info on the project, Iain Aitch wrote a nice profile of the Ochre Barn over at Dwell.

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