Using Keylite Roof Windows in a barn conversion

Using Keylite Roof Windows in a barn conversion

Keylite Roof Windows have become the perfect partner in a period barn conversion.

The Grade II listed barns and farmhouse at Elms Farm, Derbyshire, are packed full of history. Originally built in 1775, the barns are the former home of the Little Eaton Brewery Company, owned by Officers, and were used as a malthouse and granary before later becoming a working farm.

Now, what was once the granary stands the home of Fiona Smedley and her husband John, who transformed the barn into the unique and rustic property it is today, all while ensuring the essence of its history remains

Fiona and John worked with local architect, Paul Gaughan Building Consultants to draw up the plans for the granary, which was being used as a barn at the time. After a few tests to analyse the conditions of the groundworks, all legal checks and necessary approvals were granted without any major changes to the initial architectural drawings.

When builder Ken Tansley from Interbuild was first introduced to the site back in May 2017, the barn was still full of old farming machinery, cow partitioning, and even had ducks and chickens living in a part of it. “It was a typical old barn when we first started. We needed to rip a lot out of the building, dig out the floors, do some repointing, and the roof needed to be redone. With it being a listed building, all this preparation and rebuilding work had to be done very carefully and by the book.”

Light and heat were two large factors that had to be taken into consideration during the planning stages. The barn had little-to-no insulation, and what would become the second floor had no access to natural daylight – two common issues to tackle in a normal barn conversion, but a Grade II listed property would need extra care and compliance.

To accommodate this, many of the upstairs’ original beams, which the owners had hoped to keep, had to be covered for insulation, and fifteen roof windows were drawn into the plan to bring natural daylight into the top floor rooms.

Ken first heard of Keylite when visiting a local builders’ merchant and a representative came out to Elms Farm with a sample of the company’s latest product offering. Ken reveals more: “Roof windows can pose an issue for listed buildings, as they sit higher than the roof tiles and, therefore, can cause compliancy issues, as well as being an eyesore. However, another selling point for Keylite is that the windows are recessed as standard – meaning they sit lower in the roof, enhancing the overall appearance, and improving the thermal performance of the window.”

Two years on, the Barn at Elms Farm has been transformed into a beautiful rural home. Having stayed true to the building’s long history, homeowner Fiona has worked to ensure as much of the original structure is incorporated into her home as possible.

“The L shaped building consists of a lounge, three bedrooms with en-suites, and a sunroom, which used to be an old pigsty, looking out into the garden,” explains Fiona. “The sunroom, true to its name, invites a plethora of natural daylight and warmth thanks to the bifold doors and two Keylite roof windows. Four of our hard-to-reach Keylite windows are electric, which definitely saves us from having to reach with a pole every time we want some fresh air, or when it rains. The three bedrooms all boast two roof windows, and each en-suite has an added one. The light that the windows bring in is wonderful and really helps to enhance the beauty of the property.”

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