Texas has given the world some pretty great things, and we’re not just talking about the boots and Whataburger. One of our favorite things from Texas are barndominiums, increasingly creeping into American architectural prominence over the last few years. But one reason people keep raising their eyebrows at barndominiums is because their designers really think outside the box for how to give their spaces personality and purpose.
It’s not always easy to be an outside-the-box thinker, so we thought we’d lend a hand with some ideas to really make your barndominium something special.
Among the many great attributes of barndominiums is the ability to capitalize on tall, open, airy spaces. In using vertical elements for inspiration, it’s possible to design custom-sized windows that fill the architectural design and enhance the look of the building while flooding the space with daylight.
It’s not the old days – window technology has exploded in recent years. There’s no need to waste energy by cranking up the air conditioning on hot summer days or blasting the heat in the winter, because new windows have all kinds of options, like extra glazing, UV protection, tinting, and even external options, like solar blinds, which can help you save up to 40% off annual energy costs.
For open, rural properties, a wall of windows can frame a jaw-dropping vista that reminds you every day why you’ve made the lifestyle choices you have. Just look at this amazing upper-floor window in a barndominium home gym on Instagram.
For work-at-home artists, freelancers, and small business owners, one perk is that of working in comforting, inspiring spaces, especially your own. Daylight is good for the soul, too, and you’ll enjoy the winter more with brighter daytime interior. For nighttime, think of the incredible feature lighting you could suspend from those high ceilings, reflecting in – and shining out of – those big, ol’ windows.
So why not pay as much attention to what your windows frame of the world outside them as you pay to the art than hangs upon your walls?
As we said earlier, it’s those big interiors with vaulted ceilings, exposed beams, and other architectural details that make barndominiums more than just another country home. To ignore those features or not use them to your best advantage would be a sad thing indeed.
Big ceilings, big barn doors, big spaces mean you can invest in big furniture that commands the eye and stands out. In this age of storage unit obsession and ever-shrinking urban spaces, you can often find amazing prices on dramatic, big furniture designed for sweeping homes of the Victorian and Georgian eras, because people just can’t fit them into their homes anymore. But, with the potentially expansive interiors of a barndominium, you can capitalize on these neglected pieces found at auctions and estate sales for surprisingly appealing prices. If you’ve ever wanted an 19th-century pie chest and big New England sideboards, now’s the time to pounce. Oh… and a grand piano, maybe?
Open spaces also mean you can think about modern pieces that wouldn’t work elsewhere too – giant artworks, dramatic curtains for breaking up spaces, large graphic area rugs, and even just actual blank space.
Indulge yourself. Love reading? Buy a funky chaise longue and create a special spot for that in one corner. Why not? You’ve got the space.
By having 100% control over the design and flow of your home, you can get creative about how you use spaces. Designing and building custom pieces to fit your home can be done more affordably than you think – especially if it means not buying some mass-produced piece that might serve the purpose but won’t use the space to its best potential.
Like what, you ask?
- Consider a built-in breakfast nook with bank seating. Make some storage space inside those benches you’ll get some attractive double duty happening there.
- Or what about creating an under-the-stairs special play area for toddlers? As they grow up, it’s easy to string up some bistro lighting and convert it to a fun reading space for a young teen.
- Work-at-home types can design custom workspaces, like an L-shape desk that rises/lowers for sit/stand convenience while tucking perfectly into a corner full of windows looking out at that landscape that so inspires you. With some built-in shelving, a small corner room can be super-efficient while not having a large footprint on your living space.
- Truly design a kitchen you love – think about how you like to cook, what’s comfortable for you, then design accordingly. Get that perfect height for a kitchen counter, put the cupboards where they make sense. Imagine a whole pantry for thinks like preserving your own home-grown foods or for when you want to buy All The Things at the harvest-time farmer’s markets. Customize a bookshelf to wrap a kitchen pillar for storing all your cookbooks. Create a pegboard wall to do a Julia Child and hang every kitchen tool ever made from it.
- Ever dreamed of a wrap-around veranda where you can enjoy 360-degree living, taking in the land you own and love all around you? Now’s your chance. make it nice and deep and wide, so you’ve got all the shade you need for those sweet tea afternoons spent watching the light slip away.
It’s your home – the most flexible, adaptable home space you can ever create. What do you want? Now’s the time to bring that dream to life, even if it’s something simple like a built-in window seat under an upstairs bay window where it’d be perfect to read a book during a fall sunset or watch the winter snow fall.
Think “Best Use”
Building the home of your future today can be more cost-effective than changing plans down the road. It’s wise to think in terms of what you think your home needs to be for you in five or 10 years versus what you need it to be today. There’s nothing wrong with having a more open floor plan for now, then filling the space with things you need for the future. Like, say a large living room designed for sprawling Christmas parties and year-round entertaining, even though you’re new to the area and those friendships are yet to be made. Dream big and build the basics that will allow you to expand that way down the line.
For instance, if you’ve got the ideas for starting a home business – anything from jewelry-making and sculpture through to having a mechanic’s shop or doing some commercial baking – then build studio space adjacent to your living quarters. Making a bigger slab and adding a few hundred square feet now will be far more cost-effective than adding it on later.
Because that’s the beauty of a barndominium – it’s so perfect for people with home-based businesses because of the ease of going bigger and going custom. What’s the business you’d love to run but never had the space or time for doing so? Maybe having a promising space right at home will be all the motivation you need to dive in.
Or if you already have a thriving business, this is the opportunity to make that business better by increasing your efficiencies and giving yourself more space to grow.
If You Dream It…
What’s important to understand is that, finishing details aside, every project has its roots in a framed-out space with some plywood. Even if you can’t achieve the finished result you dream of yet, you can create the space for that future, thanks to the endless flexibility of barndominium kits.
It can be easy to get inspired and jump right into designing a space, but it’s wise to take some time to look at all kinds of sources – design bloggers, Instagram, housing sites, and even decorating shows on TV – to get inspired. When you find elements you love, clip the images or photos to save in a vision folder or pin to a vision board. Over time, you’ll learn what elements of the designs speak loudest to you.
Between the long-lasting construction and the infinite ability for growth and evolving, your barndominimum could be the last home you ever move into, because it’s a space just waiting to be made 100% yours, from concept to execution.
Talk to us. We’ll help you get there.