Stunning Ancient Party Barn blends old with new

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The renovation process took over two years, being fully completed in 2015, and resulted in a remarkable work of luxury residential architecture(Credit: Keith Collie)

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Situated near Folkestone, Kent, within one of England's designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ancient Party Barn is a barn conversion that stands out from the many others which dot the British countryside. Liddicoat & Goldhill mixed old and new, playful and practical, industrial machinery and residential comfort, to produce a stunning luxury home that remains sympathetic to its history and the surrounding landscape.

Ancient Party Barn actually comprises a group of 18th Century agricultural buildings, including a dairy, stables, and, most notably, a large threshing barn. Purchased in a dilapidated state, the renovation was commissioned by digital designer John Sinclair and fashion designer Deborah Harvey. The pair wanted a house that can be secured when empty, but that also opens up to the countryside when appropriate.

Liddicoat & Goldhill fitted large insulated shutters to the home, which open to reveal a generous glazed area. This in turn can be lifted with an industrial mechanism adapted from a chain lift, opening up the interior of the home to the outside.

Similarly, an aircraft hanger door sourced from the US covers the home's glazed east-facing facade. With the throw of a lever, the hangar door concertinas upward, creating a canopy over the newly-exposed dining area. A long skylight also runs along the roof of the main barn area to increase natural light further.

The interior comprises a total floorspace of 213 sq m (2,292 sq ft), and features original wood throughout, though its untouched appearance belies the trouble taken to preserve it. As the existing green oak framing was basically rotten, it was painstakingly disassembled, removed and then repaired, before finally being put back into place again.

The main barn's oak frame and cladding meanwhile, is supported by a hidden steel exoskeleton, and a large mezzanine area is accessed by a steel staircase that cantilevers outward from a tapered brick chimney.

Ancient Party Barn boasts some energy-efficient tech too. A ground-source heat pump produces hot water and heating, while reclaimed light fittings were adapted for low-energy LED lamps. A high-end security and home automation system allows the owners to manage the building's services – including lighting and heating – remotely via an internet connection.

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