Belgium-based firm Studio Farris Architects offers a nice example of a barn conversion done right with this recently-completed project in West Flanders. The firm turned a dilapidated farm building into an attractive office space with a Jenga-like mezzanine made from stacked timber beams.

The project, dubbed Stable, included a sympathetic restoration of the building's exterior and the addition of extra windows and skylights to ensure ample natural daylight permeates within. A large sliding glass door replaces the traditional stable door and opens up the interior to the outside.

Indeed, the renovation was more involved than it looks at first glance and included the installation of a new concrete structure within the building itself.

"A new volume with the same shape of the original building was inserted," explains Studio Farris Architects. "This box-in-box system allows [us] to improve energy efficiency and avoid any chemical reactions with sulfates in the soil and walls of the original farm." (Though the firm hasn't provided any energy efficiency figures.)

In addition to offering a pleasingly uniform and minimalist interior decor, this approach allowed the firm to fill the resulting gap in the walls with insulation.

The eye-catching mezzanine is actually removable should the owners wish to use the space for something else. It features a total of 12 layers of stacked timber beams, which top out to a small shared work area with two office desks, ample storage space, and even a small reading area. A meeting space was also created below.

"The stacked beams become library, bookshelves, storage and resting and reading corners," says Studio Farris Architects. "The beams were stacked in this particular way so that you can climb the stairs to the upper workspace, and can easily reach the different bars on each level."

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