Barndominiums, or “barndos” as they’re more affectionately called, are hot property right now. These large, metal, or wooden structures offer a contemporary yet rustic option to the US property market. However, are they as versatile as they seem?
Barndominiums are barn-style structures that can adapt to most house plans. Their large, open-plan interior allows for a fully customizable living space to suit just about anyone. Most barndominiums feature a living space and other areas like workshops, garages, and even horse stables.
Are you wondering if a barndominium is right for you? Let me detail exactly what a barndo house plan is and how you can adapt it to your needs.
Typical Barndominium-Style Floor Plans
The interior of a barndo is typically open plan. If you’ve been in a barn before, you’ll be familiar with just how vast the interior can be. This space has the advantage of being fully customizable to suit your living requirements.
You’ll see a lot of barndos with big, airy living spaces and kitchens, often with mezzanines overlooking the lounge area. The bedrooms, bathrooms and other private spaces are usually situated together at one or both ends end of the structure. Garages, gyms and other similar areas will also be incorporated into the floorrplan rather than being an independent construction.
Since it is more costly to incorporate an entire separate floor on a barndo, lots of floor plans are based on ground level with minimal structures contained on the first floor. This is why mezzanines are popular in barndos. They offer additional, modern space at a reasonable cost.
Can You Really Use Any House Plan for a Barndominium?
Think of a large empty cardboard box. Inside the box is an open square or rectangle space that you can fill with anything, any way you choose. That’s what designing a barndominium is like. Your only limitations are the size and height of your barndo structure, budget, and of course, your imagination.
You can use any house plan for a barndominium, but open spaces are usually considered a barndo style. Think living area, dining room and kitchen in the same open space.
For some serious barndominium inspiration, check out this YouTube video of a gorgeous 4,000 sq ft (371.6 sq m) barndominium from Texas Barndominiums:
For the budget conscious, I absolutely love this barndominium YouTube tour from Aeir Vlogs. It only cost $70 per square foot (0.09 sq m) too, so it’s proof you can get a stunning result for a low price:
To whet your appetite further, I also recommend checking out barndominiumfloorplans.com. They have many examples of how you can fill your barndo’s vast space.
Can I Turn My House Into a Barndominium?
The answer to this question entirely depends on how your house has been constructed.
Older, period houses are generally unsuitable for a barndominium conversion. This is due to the structure having interior retaining walls that cannot be removed. Small houses are also unsuitable since you won’t have the inner space available to create the open style that comes with a barndo floor plan.
You may have more luck if you live in a large, modern-style home or if your home was originally a barn or similar structure to begin with. However, it is difficult and costly to transform an existing living space into an open format. This is because you need to remove all the inner parts of the home and start from scratch.
Ultimately, it’s far easier and cheaper to find a suitable building for your barndo project or build one from scratch.
Are There Any Downsides To Having a Barndominium vs. a Traditional House?
Okay, so I have to balance all the positives out with a few downsides worth considering. It’s easy to jump straight in without a second thought, and while I admire your enthusiasm, you need to focus on the less fun stuff first.
Barndominiums Are Harder To Finance
First of all, it’s tougher to get a mortgage for a barndo than it is a traditional home. Since it’s not typically considered the same as a traditional house, it may prove difficult to explain the concept to mortgage lenders.
If you need finance for your barndo bream, you need to adequately prepare as this will significantly increase the chances of getting the green light:
- Have detailed and accurate blueprints and schematics for the project. Have them drawn up by an architect or created on proper design software. This also includes the interior – not just the outside shell.
- Include a detailed timeline of when and how the different project stages will occur.
- Correctly cost all aspects of the project to determine how much you need to borrow. Include quotes from your intended contractors.
If you’re interested in learning more, read my full guide on barndo financing, where I discuss different types of loans that are available for barndominiums. I’ve also written a guide specifically for buying a barndo using FHA loans.
Not the Best Option if You Plan To Resell
While barndos are increasing in popularity, they’re still considered pretty niche. Not many people are aware they even exist, so you may get some very intrigued and confused buyers who have never come across the concept before.
If you’re looking for a forever home, then great! You’ve found your dream home. However, property flippers, potential landlords, and those who frequently buy and sell the property will be better off with a more conventionally built home.
You Need To Factor in Other Costs
If you’re building from scratch, you must consider the surrounding area. Landscaping isn’t cheap, and unless you want a bare plot of land, you need to factor this into the budget. Include your yard space, driveways, and other external areas and outbuildings.
If you like that farmhouse-style exterior and a contemporary interior, I can’t think of a better option than a barndominium. The space’s versatility is unparalleled and not achievable with a traditionally built home. Plus, you get far more bang for your buck too. Honestly, what’s not to love about a barndo?
You can turn any house plan into a barndo-style house if you’ve got a large, open space. This might be more difficult with traditional houses, but if you can knock a few walls down to create that open-plan living space, you’ll be halfway there.