Converting a building that was never designed for human habitation into an attractive home can be a rewarding challenge. Oasts, barns, coach houses, urban industrial or commercial buildings – all have proved popular with architects and their clients and have resulted in a host of successful projects. The reason is, of course, simple – they bring to the party one or both of two huge benefits, charm and space. From there, the quality of the finished article is just a matter of imagination and commitment.

Caroline has employed her painting skills on much of the furniture

Caroline has employed her painting skills on much of the furniture

The downstairs space is divided into thirds: the kitchen/sitting room, the dining room and the master bedroom/en suite

The downstairs space is divided into thirds: the kitchen/sitting room, the dining room and the master bedroom/en suite

Downstairs in the main bedroom, two dining chairs have been painted white and recovered in Beaumont & Fletcher. Caroline found the corbel on one wall at Symonds Salvage in Pluckley and the distressed leather-topped writing desk at Rising Star in Tenterden

Downstairs in the main bedroom, Caroline found the corbel on one wall at Symonds Salvage in Pluckley

In the main bedroom, two dining chairs have been painted white and covered in Beaumont & Fletcher

In the main bedroom, two dining chairs have been painted white and covered in Beaumont & Fletcher

In the main bedroom the old oak-doored built-in cupboards are spacious enough to conceal a regiment of foot. “Just because you’re on holiday it doesn’t mean you don’t need storage space,” says Caroline...

In the main bedroom the old oak-doored built-in cupboards are spacious enough to conceal a regiment of foot. “Just because you’re on holiday it doesn’t mean you don’t need storage space,” says Caroline

The master bedroom's en suite

The master bedroom's en suite

The sitting room sofa is made from driftwood from Hastings and was crafted by Caroline’s favourite joiner Colin Smith and cushioned in floral fabric from Beaumont & Fletcher

The sitting room sofa is made from driftwood from Hastings and was crafted by Caroline’s favourite joiner Colin Smith and cushioned in floral fabric from Beaumont & Fletcher

Caroline’s ‘medieval office wall’.A pink marble-topped desk has been fitted into an arched alcove and a leaded light illuminates the ascent upstairs

Caroline’s ‘medieval office wall’. A pink marble-topped desk has been fitted into an arched alcove and a leaded light illuminates the ascent upstairs

The upstairs bedrooms – a single and a twin – feature superb reclaimed oak timbers that give the impression of being high in the attic of a barn

The upstairs bedrooms – a single and a twin – feature superb reclaimed oak timbers that give the impression of being high in the attic of a barn

To disguise of the mandatory escape step up to the window Colin has built a sturdy stepped bedside table

To disguise of the mandatory escape step up to the window Colin has built a sturdy stepped bedside table

The stairway has been framed in ancient oak whilst oak spindles, left over from the grand reclaimed staircase in Caroline’s own barn home, have been set into the wallsThe stairway has been framed in ancient oak whilst oak spindles, left over from the grand reclaimed staircase in Caroline’s own barn home, have been set into the walls

The stairway has been framed in ancient oak whilst oak spindles, left over from the grand reclaimed staircase in Caroline’s own barn home, have been set into the walls

The stairway is also framed in ancient oak and climbing up the first few steps are oak spindles left over from the grand reclaimed staircase that now graces her own barn home. Above the spindles is a gothic window mirror

The stairway is also framed in ancient oak and climbing up the first few steps are oak spindles left over from the grand reclaimed staircase that now graces her own barn home. Above the spindles is a gothic window mirror

Over the kitchen surface is a corner cupboard which Caroline distressed herself in a pale green. She removed the doors to show the serpentine shelves and papered the interior

Over the kitchen surface is a corner cupboard which Caroline distressed herself in a pale green. She removed the doors to show the serpentine shelves and papered the interior

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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