Home Sweet Barndominium

Surprising barndominiums have all the comforts of home—fabulous kitchens and room for the tractor!

Barndominium kitchen

Home Sweet Barn Home

The raised snack bar in the Nelsons' barndominium kitchen is a favorite place for the kids to do homework and chat with their mom while she's cooking.

Kayleen and Luke Nelson on horses in front of barndo

Kayleen Nelson, Son Luke On Horseback By Barndo

Kayleen Nelson and son Luke enjoy sharing a roof with the family's horses. Their spacious barndo has living quarters, stalls, a tack room and tool room. Photo by Sarah Thede.

Nelson ktichen cabinets, counters, workspace

Nelson Kitchen Cabinets And Workspace

Black cabinetry in the Nelsons' kitchen accents the natural poplar wood walls and slate flooring. Lights under the cabinets illuminate counter workspace.

Nelson kitchen with counters, cabinet and window

Nelson Kitchen With Window, Counters, Cabinet

The kitchen window looks out onto a line of trees and a picturesque creek. Open cabinets flanking the window hold Kayleen's Polish pottery collection.

Black kitchen counter with food spread

Black Kitchen Counter With Food

Laminate counters double as a buffet and serving area when the Nelsons invite guests to join them for dinner.

Kayleen kneeling in front of horse

Kayleen With Her Horse

After fixing breakfast for her clan, Kayleen heads downstairs to feed the horses. Photo by Sarah Thede.

Williamses' barndo patio and pool area

WIlliamses' Barndo Patio And Pool

The WIlliamses' pool and patio area, in the back of their barndo, is their favorite place to entertain. It includes an outdoor fireplace and grill. Photo by Bill Krampitz.

Williamses' kitchen island and cabinets

WIlliamses' Barndo Kitchen Island

Brick walls lend a warm, rustic touch to the Williamses' metal framed kitchen. The wide island offers space for food prep and dining. Photo by Bill Krampitz.

Williamses' barndo kitchen island an d cabinets with antiques

Williamses' Barndo Kitchen Island And Cabinets With Antiques

Their barndo's lofty ceiling gives Lee Williams plenty of room to decorate the tops of her cupboards with antiques. Photo by Bill Krampitz.

Williamses' barndo kitchen shelves made from antique bookcases

Williamses' Barndo Kitchen Shelves Made From Bookcases

Above the cupboards, two sets of display shelves reach the metal ceiling. "They're made out of 200-year-old bookcases," says Lee. Photo by Bill Krampitz.

Williamses' barndo rock fireplace with log mantel and TV

Williamses' Barndo Rock Fireplace With Log Mantel

The Williamses' fireplace is made out of rock, and the mantel is a huge log Lee found and repurposed. Photo by Bill Krampitz.

WIlliamses' barndo game room with pool table and bar

Williamses' Barndo Game Room

The Williamses added wooden beams to the metal ceiling to warm the decor. A pool table and bar fit nicely into their inviting game room. Photo by Bill Krampitz.

Bob and Marilyn Garber by red barndo B&B

Bob And Marilyn Garber By Barndo B&B

Bob and Marilyn Garber converted their bright red barndo into a rural bed-and-breakfast. Photo by Pearl Fellingham.

Garber Barndo B&B galley kitchen with fridge and sink

Garber Barndo B&B Galley Kitchen

The Garbers' compact galley-style kitchen gives their guests a pleasant space to enjoy good home cooking while on vacation.

Barndo living room with chairs and entertainment center

Living Room Of Candela Barndo

Warm and welcoming despite its metal frame, the Candela family's barndominium is downright cozy with comfy furniture and a modern entertainment center.

Candelas' barndo kitchen, island and cupboards

Candelas' Barndo Kitchen And Island

A beadboard island and cabinets give the Candelas' kitchen vintage charm. Recessed lighting in the corrugated tin ceiling brightens up the space and spotlights country-style accents topping the cupboards.

Candelas' barndo kitchen and attached boot-making shop

Candelas' Barndo Kitchen And Attached Workshop

When Julie Candela is cooking, she can look into husband Mark's boot-making shop right outside the kitchen door. Their barndo houses his full-time business.

Williams family living room

Williams Family Living Room

Ready to live barndo style? See the tips below.

Barndominium kitchenKayleen and Luke Nelson on horses in front of barndoNelson ktichen cabinets, counters, workspaceNelson kitchen with counters, cabinet and windowBlack kitchen counter with food spreadKayleen kneeling in front of horseWilliamses' barndo patio and pool areaWilliamses' kitchen island and cabinetsWilliamses' barndo kitchen island an d cabinets with antiquesWilliamses' barndo kitchen shelves made from antique bookcasesWilliamses' barndo rock fireplace with log mantel and TVWIlliamses' barndo game room with pool table and barBob and Marilyn Garber by red barndo B&BGarber Barndo B&B galley kitchen with fridge and sinkBarndo living room with chairs and entertainment centerCandelas' barndo kitchen, island and cupboardsCandelas' barndo kitchen and attached boot-making shopWilliams family living room


By Sharon Selz

When Kayleen Nelson teasingly asks her two kids if they were raised in a barn, they just laugh. The Nelsons, from Fulshear, Texas, are among the many families that have discovered the benefits of living in a “barndominium.” The term refers to a flexible multipurpose building that includes both living quarters and a workshop, storage area or even horse stalls, all under one rural roof.

Barndominiums are going up across the country, but they’re especially popular in Texas. They come in all shapes, sizes and materials—from steel and sheet metal to wood—and include some high-end homes. Instead of hay bales and dirt floors, think granite countertops and wall-to-wall carpet.

Custom homebuilder Ryan Reichardt in Cat Spring, Texas, started specializing in barndos eight years ago. “We saw a unique niche that we could meet, and demand has continued to grow,” he says.
“They’re ideal for city people who own rural property and want a place where they can live comfortably, store equipment and entertain during weekend visits,” he says, and they’re popular with empty nesters and retirees looking to downsize as well.

“Typically, construction is quicker and more cost-effective than for traditional homes,” Ryan explains.
“Many people take what they save on building costs and use it to add features like a pool or open-air kitchen.”

Kayleen and Chet Nelson say their barndominium makes perfect horse sense. “We lived in a Houston suburb that didn’t allow large animals,” Kayleen says. “So when we got horses, we purchased land in the country. We initially planned to stay in our home and just visit the farm. But after a few months of enjoying steaks cooked over the fire pit under big oak trees, with the horses leaning over our shoulders, we wanted to stay here.

“When our home sold quickly, we needed a house and barn right away. We were lucky to find Joe Slivinski and his company, Barns and Buildings, to take on our project. We moved in just three months later.” The Nelsons chose a Western-style barn home with a raised center aisle and sheds on either side. “The shed on the house side includes the tack room and a tool room,” Kayleen says. “On the other side, there are four horse stalls and a storage bay. When we have a large gathering with family and friends, we put tables in the center aisle and use it for entertaining.”

Another plus is being able to keep close tabs on their animals, Kayleen adds. “There’s nothing like waking up and hearing horses nickering downstairs, waiting for their breakfast!”

Realizing Lofty Dreams
Homeowners have all sorts of reasons for choosing barndos. Mark and Julie Candela find theirs an ideal headquarters for their small business in Weimar, Texas. For years, they were weekenders, traveling 90 minutes to their rural property. On one trip, they passed a sign advertising barndominiums. “When we found out what they were, we decided to go for it,” Julie recalls.

Six years later, “we’ve left our jobs in corporate America and our home in the city to live here full time,” she says, adding that Mark turned his leatherworking hobby into a cowboy boot-making business. “Half of our barndominium is now his workshop.”

Bob and Marilyn Garber lived in their bright red barndo while renovating a farmhouse in Temple, Texas. “When we moved into our house, we couldn’t stand to see the barn house sit empty, so we turned it into a bed-and-breakfast,” Marilyn says. “Guests enjoy its rustic look and feel.”

Frequently, men and women have different opinions on what makes a barndominium appealing. When Lee and Craig Williams bought land near Columbus, Texas, an existing barndo was part of the package. Craig loved the huge garage with space for his ATV and sundry man toys. Lee, an avid decorator, saw the barndo as a challenge. She recalls driving up and feeling intimidated by her first look at an industrial-looking structure.

“I focused on bringing the outdoors inside by using natural materials,” she says. “A wall in our living room is made of log slices from trees in our area. “It turned out to be fun taking this big metal box and making it into a real home.”

Get the look! (above)

If you love the idea of a barndominium, but don’t plan to build one any time soon, you can still get that warm, rustic charm without breaking the bank. We asked Funky Junk Interiors blogger Donna Williams, who’s all about creative repurposing, for her ideas:

Looking Up
Get a look similar to the metal ceiling by attaching thin wood slats to a smooth ceiling, then paint everything the same color.

Go Faux
Create a faux wooden beam from reclaimed wood—it can be much less costly than the real thing. Create a small frame, then attach random wood slats, the more mismatched, the better!

Design  Sponge
Fake a brick wall look. Cut a sponge to brick size, dip into mixed tones of paint and stamp.

Branch Out
Collect twigs and heavier branches, then zigzag them into place on top of an existing, smaller-scaled rail. Paint or stain all the same color so the original disappears.

Coin Wall
Cut branches with a miter saw and attach to the wall with wood glue.

Antler Alert!
Find antlers at thrift stores or estate sales; glue around the base of a pedestal table.

Donna Williams, a self-proclaimed junkaholic, has a passion for creating one-of-a-kind decor from salvaged finds. She says anyone can have a unique home for little money—all it takes is creativity! To check out her projects, visit funkyjunkinteriors.net.

Edy 1 January 2, 2015 at 3:16 pm

I love the idea of Barndominiums! I will be looking into it further. Thanks.


Laverne Wyatt 2 January 3, 2015 at 3:58 am

These pictures are beautiful….If my husband and I were not in our 70s, that is something we might consider….Wouldn’t mind the extra space, especially in the kitchen. My kitchen is a little bit small and I would love for it to be bigger with more storage space….Oh well, it’s too late now to start on something like this for us….


Sharon 3 January 5, 2015 at 3:39 pm

I have a friend that had built (and she designed) their living quarters above with storage, milking parlor, workroom complete with industrial sized sink and the office on ground level with covered open pens attached to the back. Her view from upstairs is always awesome.


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