When an adult asks a teenager whether he or she was raised in a barn, the rhetorical question implies a lack of manners and refinement. But a new slate of modern farm-building-to-residence conversions is changing that association, making the idea of living in a barn a lot more enticing and elegant than it used to be.
Historic barns, stables and other rural outbuildings often have beautiful bones and weathered materials packed with character, not to mention interior layouts with a lot of potential for big, open spaces. In the case of this former stable in Ibiza, Spain, the tall and narrow structure makes for a particularly unique guest house.
Standard Studio, an architecture firm based in Amsterdam, took on the project of adapting the 200-year-old outbuilding into a contemporary dream house that doubles as a showroom for the company Ibiza Interiors. Located on a traditional ‘finca’ (Spanish agricultural property) in the rugged north of Ibiza, the 484-square-foot structure features stunning authentic sabina beams (which are rounded, rustic tree trunks) throughout.
Prior to its conversion, the building had lain abandoned for many years and had started to deteriorate, threatening the integrity of its historic elements. Only the walls and parts of the roof remained by the time Standard Studio got started on the project, and there were no connections to electricity, water or sewage systems. Access to a private well and solar panels have brought it up to modern living standards while keeping it entirely off-grid and self-sustainable.
To keep the spotlight on the original building’s character, the architects focused on simple materials and surface treatments, setting off the natural wood and the ancient stone walls of the kitchen and bathroom with white chalk plaster.
In cases where surfaces needed restoration, they stuck to traditional architectural elements used on the island of Ibiza for centuries, like iroko window frames. Iroko is a hardwood native to the west coast of tropical Africa, which is accessible by ship through the nearby Strait of Gibraltar.
Niches built into the plaster walls put decorative objects and books on display, and the sleeping loft takes advantage of the double-height of the stable, letting guests gaze up at the warm natural wood of the ceiling as they fall asleep.
The kitchen is another highlight, hand-crafted by Eginstill with lacquered birch plywood, black powder coated steel panels and doors, and a real marble countertop. A Bora cooking station features an integrated cooktop extractor to whisk cooking odors outside.
Speaking of outside — the vistas from the converted stable are to die for, looking out onto the forested hills. Lacy hammocks and the private pool perched among the greenery are particularly tempting.
“With an incredible view from the mountain, a yoga platform able the house and many fruit trees and a vegetable garden, this is truly a piece of paradise,” say the architects. “Here you really get into another world and you can relax and unwind. The nice thing is that everything is for sale, so except the house itself, you can take everything home!”