Why Barndominiums Are Still The Best Real Estate Trend

Chip and Jo were onto something.

Dark Brown Barn with Upstairs Apartment
Photo: Pollyana Ventura/Getty

Living in your barn has been a practical choice for farmers for centuries. After all, barns tend to be giant open spaces with more than enough room for a small apartment for the busy folks working on the farm. In recent years, though, turning a barn into a "barndominium" has become a trendy choice, rather than a practical one.

What Is A Barndominium?

A barndominium is a condominium within a barn, which had a portion of its space converted to meet the needs of residential living or, in some cases, was built to that purpose. The word "barndominium" was first used back in the late 1980s, as Apartment Therapy reported, coined by a developer who wanted to create the ultimate horse lovers' dream community by building homes around an equestrian center in Connecticut. The idea was a bit like the golf club properties all over Florida, but with horses.

The concept didn't really catch on in the real estate world until 2016, though, thanks to one of our favorite shows. On an episode of Fixer Upper, Chip and Joanna Gaines transformed a 1980s horse barn with a no-frills attic apartment into a 2,700-square foot marvel of modern country living. Chip dubbed it a "barndominium" and a new kind of dream house was born.

Why Barndos Are Popular

From there, interest in so-called "barndos" spiked, even making a list of the top searches made by men on Pinterest back in 2016. They have been popular ever since with people looking to recycle barns into sleek, modern living spaces or even live-work spaces that blend homes with shop or office space.

Dark Brown Barn with Upstairs Apartment
Pollyana Ventura/Getty

It makes sense that these flexible spaces have become staples of the home design world, as they blend the best of country living—big open spaces indoors and out, lots of natural wood, and usually plenty of land—with a modern design aesthetic like soaring ceilings, great rooms, and open floor plans. Adding to their appeal, barndos typically have plenty of room for storage, land for gardening or keeping chickens, and space for parking RVs or boats.

How To Build A Barndominium

As Apartment Therapy notes, another perk of choosing to live in a barndo is that the process of transforming a barn into a home is fairly easy, "consisting of basic building materials and requiring a shorter period of construction time than other structures, [meaning] they're affordable to customize as well." You can even buy barndominium kits and prefabricated buildings and have them shipped to you to make the process even easier. As the cost of timber rises, steel buildings may be even more economical. And did we mention that they look cool?

If you want to experience the barndominium lifestyle for yourself, the original bardominium, the one renovated by Chip and Joanna, is for rent on VRBO. So book a night, pack your bags, and head on over to Waco for the ultimate trial run of barndominium living.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles