Converted shed home: A former agricultural shed is transformed as a modern home with double height library

A converted shed in Yorkshire was given a new lease of life as a modern country home with a striking double-height library at its core.

converted shed
(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

The property

A converted shed in Yorkshire has been given a new lease of life as a modern home (opens in new tab) with a striking double-height library at its core, by architecture studio Tonkin Liu.

The owners of the old agricultural shed wanted to create a high quality, energy-efficient and low-cost building to serve as a house, library and gallery. They had spent several years looking for a quiet site to build their retirement home, before they finally stumbled on this large barn, which was being used as a container for tools and tractors. Surrounded by silver birch trees and wild garden, and sitting on the edge of a small village in North Yorkshire, the couple fell in love with the plot and brought on the architecture studio to help them completely transform it – on a tight budget.

See Also: Before & After: see how stables, a pig sty and animal barn became a stunning country retreat (opens in new tab)

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

The architects used traditional construction techniques and low-cost materials to meet the challenging budget. Through selective reuse and refined detailing, this impressive transformation is an inspiration to all; that you can achieve a lot, with very little.

The former shed is now a home with exquisite detailing throughout inside and out, and a showcase for a lifetime collection of books and art.

The renovation has won this project seven awards, including three RIBA awards.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

Exterior

The property's form and materials help to evoke the character of the original structure. The steel frame and ground slab were reused and enlarged, retaining the original form of the shed.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

See Also: Explore a 1920s-era riverside Connecticut home with relaxed, farmhouse interiors (opens in new tab)

Newly clad in varied widths of shot-blasted timber and galvanised steel fins, the rhythmic facade is a subtle nod to the surrounding silver birch trees.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

A pathway between the trees aligns with a pair of tall, glazed openings that allow a view straight through the building. The windows also frame views of the rising and setting sun from within a long gallery.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

Hallway

A long, double-height hallway leads towards the kitchen – with the kitchen island (opens in new tab) in the middle. 

To the right of the hallway (opens in new tab) is a staircase (opens in new tab) that leads up to the bedrooms. 

A bridge between the upstairs bedrooms draws the eyes up, accentuating the ceiling height of this great space.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

Library

The house's internal layout features an open-plan of interconnected spaces with varied proportions. At the home's core is a double-height library (opens in new tab) – a showpiece for a lifetime’s collection of books – which offers uninterrupted garden views.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

The placement of mirrors behind the shelves lining the walls helps bounce light around and make this space feel even larger and brighter.

The impressive library is flanked by a living room (opens in new tab) and the three bedrooms.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

A bridge connects the staircase (opens in new tab)'s landing with a mezzanine overlooking the library that provides access to the bedrooms at either end of the house.

modern house

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

Kitchen

The main hallway contains the kitchen (opens in new tab) at one end, with a utility room (opens in new tab), storage room and staircase concealed behind a wall.

modern house

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

Handleless white kitchen cabinetry (opens in new tab) lend a very contemporary look.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

Bedrooms

Bedrooms feature built-in storage (opens in new tab) that frames the bed, maximising floor space.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

The colour scheme of subtle grey tones, concrete screed floor and white shaded timber seems to effortlessly complement the art collection in every space.

converted shed

(Image credit: Greg Storrar)

See Also: Architects deliberately left a hole in the roof of this extraordinary rear extension (opens in new tab)