Repeatedly told to demolish the barn which sat on their new horse farm, the owners just couldn’t let this traditional barn go. The 1800s New River Bank Barn seemed to have such great potential that they searched for an architect that could transform it into the dream barn renovation they wanted. Blackburn Architects, specializing in adaptive reuse and renovation, took on the project and turned the sagging barn into a beautiful modern adaptation with ample daylighting and rustic features that reflect its previous use.

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A bank barn is a specific style of barn that is built into the side of a hill or a bank, which allows access to both of its floors from the ground. Located in Leesburg, VA, this particular barn sits on the banks of the Potomac River. The renovated barn now serves as a gathering place and guesthouse for the owners’ family and friends. With an open floor plan, the barn has a loft-like feel with a ton of natural light poring in from new windows.

Blackburn Architects wanted to keep the original rustic feel of the barn — but wanted to add to its structure to ensure the building’s ability to provide comfort and warmth for its inhabitants. Original barn walls were used as the interior paneling, with a layer SIPs for insulation and stability, plus an exterior layer of new board-and-batten for the cladding. The original roof became the interior ceiling and a new roofing layer was added on top for extra insulation and protection. Reclaimed wood from other structures on the property was also used in the renovation of the barn.

The original character of the barn was retained, evident in the sliding barn doors that cover the updated front door, as well as the original plank floors and rafters.  However, modern touches were added to the barn to make it more energy efficient. The entire Eastern facade was replaced with floor-to-ceiling windows, which provide views of the Potomac and ample daylighting. Also, hydronic heating was installed under the floors for an efficient and hidden heating system.

This adaptive reuse of a historic barn has won both the 2006 AIA Merit Award as well as the 2007 Southern Living Home Award in Historic Renovation. We love the open, modern style constructed from reclaimed wood and furnished classic country pieces and antiques.

+ Blackburn Architects

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