Looking through the open-plan living room of the Grand Designs modern barn house with grey sofa and woodburning stove

A Northern Ireland first

This new-build barn in Ballygowan was constructed from an innovative material

By Paisley Tedder | 10 March 2021

This Grand Designs modern barn in Northern Ireland is the result of one family’s desperate need for more living space. Architect Micah Jones and his wife Elaine planned to convert an old barn into their family home. But when structural issues came to light they got permission for a new house on the same footprint. Micah’s design gives the couple’s three children space to play and grow as they grow older. ‘Our house in Belfast was absolutely tiny’, he explained. ‘We needed room for the boys to grow into as they became teenagers. And somewhere they could roam freely outside – just as I had done as a child. We wanted to move from our first to our forever house in one go.’

The front courtyard view of the Grand Designs modern barn with stone and timber cladding

The front door is sheltered by a porch with green roof. Image: Bradley Quinn

Modern barn layout

The 240 square metre house Micah and Elaine built has four bedrooms and two bathrooms with plenty of light and airy living space. To take full advantage of the superb views to the rear of the property the living rooms are on the first floor. The bedrooms take up the ground floor. ‘Our vision was for it to be flexible, robust, and simple. The materials on the exterior weather and get better with age,’ said Micah

A floor-to-ceiling window takes up the gable end of the Grand Designs modern house. Micah stands on the balcony looking over the surrounding countryside

A floor-to-ceiling window takes up the gable end. Image: Bradley Quinn