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Restoring a 15th Century English Barn

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By Brian Waite

Restoring a 15th Century English Barn

a long time after the hurricane

Restoring a 15th Century English Barn

just after the hurricane

About My House

My "house" was a fifteenth century barn in the Weald of Kent in southern England. When purchased in 1986/7 it was totally derelict and about to fall down. (see photo)

What I Did

The first move was to reduce the threat of imminent collapse by removing the tiles and constructing a supporting scaffold framework inside. This frame had to be raised slowly to lift the oak frame out of the earth into which it had sunk with the collapse, over the centuries, of the plinth wall.

Unfortunately it was at this point that along came the hurricane of 1987 and, with the help of a falling tree, moved the whole thing 16 feet. The frame work held and prevented serious damage but, because I had already set the foundations in place the whole structure had to be moved back. This was not a new experience for me because I had already twisted it 10 degrees (without telling the planning authorities) to get the evening sun into where I intended to put the kitchen.

Tips and Tricks

  • Don't take on such a project after a divorce.
  • Don't do it on your own.
  • However, having said that, the sense of achievement is immense.

Jackie Craven, About.com Architecture, says:

Builder Brian Waite used his restoration experience to create a straw bale house design. See photos at www.strawbalehouse.co.uk

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