In 1987, acclaimed architect Roderick James transformed a crumbling concrete home into a beautiful barn house. Known as the Seagull House, the charming abode is situated along Old Mill Creek in Devon, England. With its timber construction and rustic aesthetic, the spacious and sunny Seagull House showcases James’ avant-garde approach to architecture.
Originally built in the 1950s, the concrete dwelling was both ill maintained and stylistically outdated when James purchased it as a family home in the 1980s. Describing its appearance as “plain,” the architect decided to give the simple structure a much-needed modern makeover. Inspired by its scenic surroundings and idyllic creekside location, James decided to completely dismantle the concrete home and, in its place, build a beautiful barn house entirely from scratch.
When designing and erecting the space, James did not cut any corners or take any shortcuts. In order to authentically construct a barn house, he did something surprisingly logical: he first built a barn. “The benefit of building a barn from scratch is that you can have the big open spaces of a conversion, but you can also put the bedrooms and windows where you want them,” James told The Telegraph. Once his barn was complete, he skillfully turned it into a living space.
Using oak—James’ signature wood-of-choice—the ambitious architect constructed the frame for the barn house. The oak-shingled roof is sturdily supported by oak arch-braced collar trusses (horizontal, curved beams situated between rafters), which give the space a contemporary cottage feel. In the gallery, an oak ladder leads to a comfy loft complete with fireplace framed by—you guessed it—oak. While obviously overwhelmingly made of oak, James did use other types of timber to construct the space. Douglas Fir—an evergreen known for its durable timber—is another loved lumber, and it was used to build the home's studio, balcony, and conservatory with a view.
With its classic construction and modern design, the Seagull House is a perfect combination of cozy and sophisticated.
All images via Carpenter Oak.