barndominium

Building a "Barndominium"

by Lyn Foley on October 2, 2008

Our new house is finally well underway. Two years ago we bought 20 acres next door to where we live now.  We spent ages deciding where on the 20 acres we wanted  to put the house and then more time settling on a plan. We decided to build a SIP (Structured Insulated Panel) house, but struggled to find a builder. After we did find  a builder, and got quotes on building a SIP, we discovered we didn’t have enough money – it was going to cost WAY more than we thought. OK  -we scrapped that idea,  and started over from scratch.

Then one night we went over to visit some new friends at their home, and were introduced to what Texans around here call a “Bardominium” – basically a large metal barn building, with a  “stick frame” house inside. We learned about terrific barn building benefits: They’re sturdy, have low insurance rates, are safer from hurricanes than stick houses, are sustainable, energy efficient,  very affordable, and have fairly fast construction times (once the work is started).

But best of all, since the barn/house  framing is all metal, there are no load bearing interior walls. That meant that we could put  walls, or no walls, anywhere we wanted on the inside. And we wanted big open spaces, high ceilings, and an industrial, modern, minimalist feel. We’re getting it all, and with 30% more floor space for less that the price of the smaller SIP panel or traditional wood frame house would have cost us. A total win in our books.

We’ve only had one problem since choosing to build a bardominium: Our metal barn builder has had so much work that we had to wait, and then wait, and then wait some more. But our number on his list at last came up, and the metal construction started on August 27th. As of today, October 3rd, the barn itself is almost finished! Wall framing materials for the interior were delivered yesterday, and Rudy, our interior contractor, will begin his part starting Monday. Whoopee!

We’ll have a “Studio/Office Wing” with a separate entrance – and are building in other things we didn’t know we’d need or want when we first moved off the sailboat. I’ve posted some pictures of what’s happened so far over on Flickr. Follow the side panel badge link , and let me know what you think!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Keri Brown Womack October 3, 2008 at 7:04 pm

The barndominium looks like a very cool, unique (to me, at least) idea. Makes me want to get out of the city and back to the country — or at least it encourages the “let’s go build something!” spirit in me. As a lifetime Texan, I’ve never heard of a barndominium, but it is strangely inspirational. Glad that you and Jim are making progress on the house.

Looking forward to seeing both of you at the Bayou City Art Fest!

cmkavala October 4, 2008 at 4:46 am

If you used steel SIP construction you could do away with much of the red iron
http://www.southernsips.com
1-877-321-7477

JON CRAIG July 7, 2010 at 12:04 pm

i JUST FINISHED MY BARNDOMINIUM IN MAUCKPORT, INDIANA. EVERYTHING YOU SAID IS TRUE ABOUT THE CONSTRUCTION, COSTS AND OPENNESS OF THE STRUCTURE. UNFORTUNATELY I LIVE IN PHOENIX AND CAN ONLY VISIT IT THREE OR FOUR TIMES A YEAR.

ENJOY.

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