Ancient Party Barn is located in the countryside of Kent, England. A derelict barn from the 18th century, it was converted into a modern home by Liddicoat & Goldhill, and includes such unique features as mechanically operated doors and a spiral staircase that wraps around the living room’s chimney.
Originally the barn was one of a cluster of structures that included a threshing barn, dairy and stables and the original features still with the structures where what drew the owners – collectors of architectural artifacts – to purchase it and then have Liddicoat & Goldhill redesign and renovate it into their weekend retreat, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
As Ancient Party Barn is a weekend retreat in the remote English countryside, the architects included numerous mechanically operated openings that allow the building to be either securely closed off or opened up to take advantage of the surrounding views.
A large aircraft hangar style door folds upwards to create a canopy for the large brick terrace just outside the living room and large shutters designed to suggest barn doors slide back and forth to reveal an open courtyard that connects two of the home’s volumes.
The large shutters are the main entrance to Ancient Party Barn.
Once in the courtyard space you can either turn right to the dining and kitchen building or left to the living room which features a steel spiral staircase wrapping around a conical brick chimney and of course, the aircraft hangar style door that opens up to reveal a brick terrace.
To emphasize the curvaceous forms of the fireplace and stairwell, the ceiling joists radiate away from the chimney with lights installed between each gap, like sun rays.
The treads are jointed into the chimney.
Upstairs the landing is defined by a starburst detail within the mezzanine. The master bedroom and a bathroom are also located on this level.
Because Ancient Party Barn was in a dilapidated state when the owner’s bought it, Liddicoat & Goldhill replaced some of the structural elements with steel beams, however many of these are disguised behind structural insulated panels all faced in wood.
Across the courtyard is the dining and kitchen areas which is filled with a mix of traditional furniture and bespoke plywood millwork.
A canopy over the kitchen workstation protects some of the homeowner’s architectural artifacts.
The original green oak used throughout the home was in such a dilapidated state that it had to be dismantled and repaired off site.
Just outside the dining area, a security system keeps tabs on the property. The security system, digital heat and lighting can all be operated remotely so that the homeowner’s can keep tabs on Ancient Party Barn when they are away.
At the other end of the courtyard another set of doors conceals a large rotating window operated by an adapted chain lift.
The pair of doors open to the back of the home, open on one side and closed with a guest wing on the other. When the doors on both sides of the courtyard are open, the view lines up perfectly with a detached building set at the front of the property.
The detached building at the front of the property is set up on blocks.
The back facade of the kitchen and dining structure is covered in found outdoor building artifacts.
The guest wing has outdoor access to two guest bedrooms – both with ensuites – a guest living room and a second, smaller kitchen.
The first bedroom is filled with such rustic elements as a stone wall and gnarly post and beams. What a great space to visit!
Aside from each having their own outside entrance, the two bedrooms have connecting doors to each other and when the door is left open, the second bedroom overlooks the gnarly post in the first bedroom.
This second bedroom also has a connecting door to the guest kitchen/living areas.
The guest kitchen/living room interior doorway is positioned next to the run of cabinets in the kitchen.
The kitchen is small and quaint and is located under a loft.
A fireplace with a gorgeous copper flu divides the kitchen and living area.
A sturdy ladder stairwell with its own mini handrail offers safe passage to the loft above.
Photography by and Will Scott.
There is something special about ancient barns that have been converted into modern homes and Ancient Party Barn is no exception. Unfortunately there just aren’t that many century old barns that are available to convert. There are, however many more historic apartments that are being converted into modern masterpieces. There is one in Paris that has a beautiful black interior, but most showcase original ceiling beams and white walls.