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Clients: Tom and Ella

Location: North Cornwall

Completed: 2022

Build It Awards 2023 / Best Self Build Under £300k / Winner

Nestled into a sheltered valley just a few hundred meters from the north Cornish coastline and within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,  Skiber is a sensitive renovation of a traditional stone farm building into a new cosy modern family home.

The roof of the old barn had rotted away many years ago, leaving only the stone walls, which were mostly in good condition. The new home therefore respects the existing footprint, with a slight raising of the ridge to allow for greater headroom internally.

A new timber structure, clad in charred larch sits lightly on the retained stonework.

The old stone walls have been repaired and repointed, but left in their original form and levels, meaning that there is a clear distinction between the historical building and the new additions.

A new twin pitched roof differentiates living and sleeping side of the barn.


The main living space and bedrooms are open to the roof, where Douglas Fir scissor trusses accentuate the volume, while roof windows flood the room with natural light. At the other end of the space a plywood lined staircase sneaks behind the kitchen and family bathroom to access the guest bedroom / study.

This same contrast in materials continues inside the building, with exposed stone and raw plaster to express the heavier masonry structure of the building set against birch faced plywood panels to express the lighter timber framed elements.

The ground floor is finished with a porcelain tile, which is gently warmed by the underfloor heating. The building is extremely well insulated with particular attention being paid to eliminating thermal bridges and ensuring a good level of air-tightness. Windows and doors are specified to cope with the extreme maritime environment.

“I can't tell you how happy Ella and I are in our beautiful, new home... we are both delighted with the finish.

Tom, Client

Three double bedrooms, one with an ensuite bathroom, and an open plan living and dining area are cleverly stitched into the limited footprint, with plenty of space set aside for discrete storage.

In collaboration with

Contractor: Key Build

Structural Engineer: Entos Consulting

Photography: Doon Williams Photography

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