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Pole Barn House

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Lisa is from MI and grew up on a farm. The vernacular architecture—pole barns and timber frame barns—were inspiration for this project!

Pole barn house front elevation

Pole barn house front elevation

Pole Barn House Design

This pole barn house is 1,085 SF and features two bedrooms, one bath, and storage loft.


  • Modern design
  • Pole building construction
  • High ceilings
  • Metal roof
  • Storage loft
  • Radiant in floor heat
  • Solar passive design

Some universal design features include:

  • Stairless entry
  • 5' turn radius in workspaces
  • 36" wide door openings
  • Sliding doors with lever handles
  • French doors in bedrooms for ample egress

This pole barn house makes a great small home, cottage, cabin, or guesthouse. Its simple shape makes it easy to build!

Floor plan

Floor plan


For the foundation, holes 1'–2' in diameter were dug 4' in the ground below the frost line. Then, 1' of cement was poured into the bottom of the holes, and posts were placed on the top of the cement. The holes were then backfilled. The cement pads distribute the weight from the load on the posts. The posts were treated 6X6's, and spacing varied 6'–10' apart.

Pole building construction

Pole building construction


Getting a build project off on the right foot starts with getting the right lot for your project or knowing how to best work with the lot you have. In this case, here are some of the pole barn house lot attributes:

  • No lot clearing was needed as the building was placed in the open part of the land
  • Minimal leveling (excavation) was needed for the driveway
  • Shade from the wooded part of the lot in the south provides for natural cooling in the summer (this project is in the north; if you're building in the south--depending on location—you would want to do the opposite). There are sun apps online where you can put in your location and study your sun exposure throughout the year.

If you're looking for land, here are some things that are helpful:

  • Minimal excavation needed
  • Good drainage
  • Proper sun exposure or shelter (keep seasons in mind and the location you are building at)
  • Land that perks for a regular septic system (specialized system can be triple the cost!)
House lot

House lot

You don't have to have your house face the road!

You don't have to have your house face the road!



Doors and Windows

Pole-building construction allows for easy placement of doors and windows. In this project, I used all salvaged and builder restock doors and windows. The total price for all of them was $1,519!

Here are some places to look for salvaged, reclaimed, and builder restock doors and windows:

  • Craigslist
  • Classified ads
  • Builder restock stores
  • Garage sales
  • Let friends and family know that you are in the market for quality used doors and windows; they may have some or know of someone who does

Note: Always make sure doors and windows are in excellent working condition before buying!

Here is the best piece of advice I received from a designer regarding reclaimed doors and windows:

"Don't worry if you find windows and doors that don't match in color or size. If you find a good deal pick them up because you can always use them somewhere in your house. It may mean that each wall will have a different color but if designed right people will never know—or will think it is supposed to be that way."

Salvaged window

Salvaged window

Pole Barn House Materials

The main materials used in the pole barn house are wood, plywood, galvanized metal, concrete, and salvaged and reclaimed doors and windows.

These are the materials I used. However, you can use any code-approved building materials (vinyl, shingle, board and batten, new doors and windows, etc.

Pole barn house corrugated metal soffit

Pole barn house corrugated metal soffit

2" groove corrugated metal skirt

2" groove corrugated metal skirt

Benefits of Pole Building Construction

I investigated several different build methods and ultimately went with pole building construction for this project for the following reasons:

  • Minimal impact on land
  • Easily passes code (it did in my area)
  • Appraises as a stick-built home
  • Ease of construction
  • Ability to get the roof on early
Study plan

Study plan

Pole Barn House Study Plan

  • Study Plan Available Here
    Pole Barn House Study Plan includes Front Elevation, Right Elevation, Left Elevation, Rear Elevation, Main Floor Plan, and Building Cross Section.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2011 Lisa


Lisa (author) from Michigan on September 16, 2015:

Gail W, The home was under 100K total to build (materials plus labor, many items DIY and recycled).

Gail W on September 04, 2015:

Hi Lisa, can I ask approximately how much the materials cost to build your home? TIA!

Lisa (author) from Michigan on July 29, 2015:

Thank you, ourvinny! Lol, I've heard that about renovating. There's something about a creative project that makes one want to keep going. Enjoy your third project!

Did not discover any structural problems during or after construction. Would build with pole framing again.

ourvinny on July 29, 2015:

Very nicely done. I have experience renovating/ restoring. I am on the third (as is) home. I swore I would not do it again after the first one.

My question is this: did you discover any structural problems in your relationship as construction progressed?

andy on June 04, 2015:

Great work, how can I get the pole barn house plans from you. Thanks in advance for your reply.

In northern mi is our property and we are ready to build and your plan would for the bill perfectly.

Lisa (author) from Michigan on August 13, 2014:

Janet, You're welcome! The study plan has details of concrete.

No changes, however, if one desired more head room in the storage loft the direction of the shed roof could be changed.

Janet on August 12, 2014:

Hi there, thank you for sharing all your information. We are looking to also build a polebarn cottage in Michigan, did you need to put anything under the concrete before pouring, to keep out moisture or whatever may happen to it over time? We too are doing the radiant heat. Also since you've now lived in it for awhile any changes you would recommend? Thanks so much. Janet

Lisa (author) from Michigan on August 07, 2013:

Hope7777, I wish I could answer that. Your project will depend on where you build and how you approach your project. I would start with getting a plan that you can take to a general contractor or if contracting yourself take to subs and get estimates.

Lisa (author) from Michigan on August 07, 2013:

The plywood was attached directly to the frame then stained. No layers. Hope this helps.

T.O. on July 30, 2013:

I really like the outer plywood idea. Is it stained plywood screwed directly to the frame, or is there other layers?

Diana L Pierce from Potter County, Pa. on July 24, 2013:

I love this idea. I always wanted a small affordable house. I've lived in a mobile home for decades. Voted up.

modern321 on July 10, 2013:

I live in Oklahoma and pole barn homes are starting to become more popular here. Pole barn homes really have a lot of the "modern design" features we are looking for. We hope to start building our own pole barn home in a few years. Comments left by others and this article is giving my wife and I a lot more confidence that pole barn home design is the way to go. Thank you for the article and comments left by others have been really helpful. Thanks again!!!

Hope7777 on July 01, 2013:

How much do you think it would cost to build a 1100 square ft pole barn house roughly? Very small, but still 3 bedrooms. As my husband is disabled, most of the work he cannot do, therefore what do you think it might cost? Thanks!!!

Lisa (author) from Michigan on January 09, 2013:

Thanks tobin44. I hope your ideas are coming together for your build on the family farm. Simple and efficient ... the best way to go :-)

Lisa (author) from Michigan on January 09, 2013:

Thanks for the input polebarnguru. I like that, as a whole, pole barns lend themselves well to the average weekend warriors!

Lisa (author) from Michigan on January 09, 2013:

Polly there is a lot of "barn conversion" going on right now. I love it! My fondness for barns comes from childhood. I grew up on a farm that had a lot of pole barns. Share a mutual fondness for the acorn shape as well :-) Don't let go of your dream to buy land with a barn to convert!

Lisa (author) from Michigan on January 09, 2013:

Thanks for sharing about your pole barn house! It sounds wonderful! Nice on the white roof, "safe" room, garage / man cave, radiant in floor heat, and geo thermal :-)

wags5 on January 09, 2013:

We built a pole barn house last summer...drywall inside, open rafters, wood ceiling, 3,000 square feet of living space, 2,500 square feet of garage/man cave....never thought I would live in a barn but LOVE it! Living/kitchen/dining area all open with windows along the wall for a view of the pond...radiant heat floors so your feet are always warm and geo thermal for air conditioning,,,which this building seems to stay remarkably cool in the hot summers (hubby says it's because of white roof)...also, no crawl space, so built a "safe" room in one of bedroom closets, solid steel placed into concrete, vented on ceiling, solid steel door, so in case of bad weather, this room isn't going anywhere! Out pole barn is absolutely amazing and would build again in a heartbeat! Absolutely love it!

Tyler Tobin from North Carolina on September 17, 2012:

Great Hub, My wife and I are looking for house ideas as we are planning to build on her family farm. Simple and efficient!

Lisa on January 10, 2012:

Thank you fellow Michigander. I share your appreciation of old post and beam construction!

homesteadpatch from Michigan on January 10, 2012:

Hello fellow Michigander. I would certainly live in a pole barn house. I've always been fascinated by the old post and beam construction. This is a really neat idea that could be adapted to just about anywhere. You could even take the sustainability to the next level and use trees harvested from the property. Voted up!

ricoseda on December 28, 2011:

Lisa: ,many thanks. any way to get a bigger pdf file to see the dimensions and detail better?

Lisa (author) from Michigan on October 20, 2011:

Thanks, glad you liked it!

glassvisage from Northern California on October 17, 2011:

This is great! I've never heard of this before but it makes a lot of sense and is a great option for people with smaller budgets!

Lisa (author) from Michigan on February 21, 2011:

Your welcome! Best wishes and have fun on your micro passive solar pole house!

kaye on February 21, 2011:

thanks for the great info. I plan to build a micro passive solar pole house soon.

Lisa (author) from Michigan on January 28, 2011:

Your welcome CHS!

chspublish from Ireland on January 28, 2011:

Persuasive argument in favor of the pole barn. Thanks for the hub.

Lisa (author) from Michigan on January 27, 2011:

Thanks for the warm welcome Polly!

Pollyannalana from US on January 26, 2011:

Great! Something different. I always wanted to buy land with a barn and turn it into a house and my husband always laughed at me and not long afterwards everyone was doing it. I have always loved barns and acorn shaped roofs. Welcome to hubs! Polly