New build barn in Poland

Polish architect Ola Wołczyk, designed her perfect family home as an ultra modern barn.

By Charlotte Luxford | 16 January 2017

To create her perfect family home, Polish architect Ola Wołczyk designed an ultra-modern barn with an eight-metre-high ceiling and fully glazed wall.

New build barn in Poland3

Viewed from the surrounding Polish countryside, Ola Wołczyk’s home could be mistaken for one of the traditional local barns that inspired its exterior style. On the inside, however, it’s a pared-back, minimalist space with a distinctly urban feel.

Ola and her husband, Marcin Perlak, decided to escape their chaotic city life and move to a more relaxed, rural location, which they felt would be an ideal place to raise children (though little did they know that they would have two new additions by the time they completed the build). So when they found an empty plot in an unassuming village just outside Kraków, they realised they’d hit the jackpot: Ola, an interior designer and architect, knew that she could create her perfect family home from scratch, and they resolved to sell their tiny city pad to fund the project.

‘I wanted to find somewhere that gave us uninterrupted views for miles around, and as this area isn’t very popular yet, there aren’t many new buildings nearby – it’s perfect,’ says Ola. ‘There are two little lakes close to the house and we’re surrounded by fields and animals, so it’s idyllic. I found the agricultural buildings very inspirational; I like their simple and obvious shape, and I used this as the basis for my minimalist design.’

New build barn in Poland3

Once the plot was secured, Ola collaborated with local architect Joanna Wuzyk to design a larch-clad property, with the aim of making the most of the picture-postcard views. This was achieved by creating an open-plan living space with an eight-metre-high ceiling and a large expanse of glass that makes up the entire rear wall of the property. ‘We wanted plenty of space and light in the living-room area, as we both hate low ceilings, and we decided that the interior should be as simply furnished as possible,’ explains Ola.

The need to get the project underway was given urgency by the fact that Ola was pregnant with her first daughter, Agata. Then, just to add to the pressure, Ola fell pregnant for a second time during the 18-month build, and daughter Klara was born shortly after the house was completed. This influenced the project, as the couple needed to ensure they created a home that was future-proof and family friendly, as well as aesthetically pleasing.

Planning permission was granted without a hitch, but Ola admits that difficulties arose when it came to getting local builders to understand her vision. ‘I had some contractors who were clearly good at what they do, but weren’t used to working on such an unusual property, so I had to fight over every detail to get it how I wanted it,’ she explains.