Pole Barn House
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a barn house? I did; so I decided to build one. I grew up on a farm and have always admired the flexibility of open spaces, high ceilings, and natural cross ventilation the sliding doors provide in barns. I salvaged building materials for a year and designed and built this house around the materials. I went with pole building construction for the following reasons:
- minimal impact on land
- easily passes code
- appraises as a stick-built home
- ease of construction
- able to get the roof on early!
Pole Barn House
This pole barn house is 1,085 SF with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and a storage/sleeping loft. It is a shed roof structure with modern design and features:
- high ceilings
- pole building construction
- plenty of natural light
- solar passivity
- radiant in-floor heat
- wood stove and
- some universal design principles
It makes a great small home, cabin, cottage, or guesthouse and its simple shape makes it easy to build!
Pole Barn House Foundation
For the foundation, holes 1' - 2' in diameter were dug 4' in the ground below the frost line. Then 1' of cement was poured in the bottom of the holes and posts were placed on top of the cement. The holes were then backfilled. The cement pads distribute the weight from the load on the post. The posts were treated 6X6's, and spacing varied from 6' - 10' apart.
Pole Barn House Lot
Getting a building project off on the right foot starts with getting the right lot or knowing how to best work with the lot you have. In this case, here are some of the lot attributes:
- No lot clearing was needed as we built 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 building project was built in the north; if building in the south you would want to do the opposite)
If you are looking for land here are some things that might be helpful to look for as you seek a lot to build on:
- Minimal excavation needed
- Good drainage
- Proper sun exposure or shelter (depending on if you are building in the north or south)
- Land that perks for a regular septic system (specialized system can be triple the cost!)
Pole Barn House Doors and Windows
Pole building construction allows for easy placement of doors and windows. In this case, I used all salvaged and builder restock doors and windows. If you decide to used salvaged doors and windows make sure to get ones that are in excellent working condition.
Here are some places to look for salvaged, reclaimed, and builder restock doors and windows:
- 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!
* 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."
Pole Barn House Exterior
The materials of the pole barn house are wood, metal, and concrete. The exterior is plywood siding stained with an eco-friendly exterior stain, galvanized metal roof, corrugated metal skirt board, and 1X6" wood trim. I am not sure I would use plywood again for exterior siding due to the maintenance. I would probably go with untreated cedar shingles left natural.
Pole Barn House Interior
In the interior I decided to go with a low VOC paint on the walls and matte clear coat on the concrete floor.
These photos were taken during construction ...
Barn House Miscellaneous Construction and Building Photos
Some universal design features were incorporated into the pole barn house including:
- stairless entry
- 36" wide door openings
- French doors in bedrooms for ample egress
- 5' turn radius in work spaces
This is the farm I grew up on. These barns were inspiration for building a pole barn house ...
I hope you enjoyed this information and found something helpful or inspiration for your project!
Would you live in a barn house?
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.
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© 2011 Lisa