What is a Barndominium?
Barndominiums, or “Barndos” as they are sometimes called, are a stylish combination of a barn and a condominium.
I remember seeing my first house that looked like a barn.
All it really had was a gambrel roof, but to me as a young kid, I thought it was barn turned into a house. Yes, I thought it was cool.
While it’s easy to confuse a house with a gambrel roof with a barndominium, they are different.
For instance, a barndominium does not necessarily have a gambrel roof.
Moreover, houses with a gambrel roof aren’t always (rarely are) a barndominium in the true sense of the word.
What is a barndominium (definition)?
Barndominiums, or “Barndos” as they are sometimes called, are a type of house that is a stylish combination of a barn style structure and a condominium that together creates a home and large functional area.
The idea comes from an old and practical living solution on farms and ranches, where the owners would have living quarters located above the animal stalls so the hired hands would have a place to sleep, and the animals would have a person on hand in case there was any trouble.
Today, Barndominiums are a popular living space especially in upscale western communities. They have a basic steel shell on the outside, and a customized interior that emphasizes an indoor/outdoor lifestyle.
The interior is typically an open concept that is laid out to the owner’s specific wants and needs. The exterior is usually a basic steel frame with features such as roll-up doors, large windows, and wraparound decks and patios.
How much do barndominiums cost?
The range is huge. If you order a kit and assemble it yourself and put in a modest interior, it can cost very little per square foot.
If you hire a custom builder and build a huge, rustic masterpiece sparing no expense on the inside, you’ll spend as much as you would a luxury home build.
Usually, it falls on the lower end of the cost of a house per square foot just because you’re building a large open space with economical exterior materials.
The best thing to do is talk to kit companies or builders to find out how much a barndominium costs per square foot.
Other considerations are your lot, whether you’re remote, foundation needs, etc.
How big are barndominiums?
They can be tiny guest houses with a garage or small shop or a large building fit for nobles and everything in between. Check out the examples below for some ideas of both small and big barndominiums.
Typically they are structures that are bigger than typical houses because of the “barn” area which can really be an actual barn with livestock, garage, shop or some other functional space.
Watch out for reported square footage when looking at plans. Some might report only the living space in the square footage number while others might report the entire structure’s square footage. It can be a huge difference.
For example, the shop area may be 3,000 sq. ft. with 2,500 sq. ft. of living space. If you inquire about the size and are mostly concerned with the square footage of living space, you could be told 5,500 sq. ft. but that’s for the entire structure, not just the living space.
Therefore, when inquiring about size, specify living space and other space.
What are the shell materials?
It can vary but if you opt for a kit, typically it’s steel. If you get it custom-built, you can use any exterior material including wood, concrete or other.
What other features can you have in a barndominium?
Most barndominiums are open concept but it doesn’t have to end there. You can include a basement, loft, shop, garage, porch, outdoor pool, breezeway, RV garage, windows, skylights, insulation packages, mezzanines, overhangs, heated floors, energy-efficient features, concrete floors and more and any other feature you wish.
As for the types of barndominiums you can build, they can be a regular house that looks like a barndominium, have a large garage, shop, airplane hangar, man cave – whatever you want.
Can you rent a barndomium to stay in?
You gotta love the internet age and the advent of peer sharing websites. You can rent barndominiums on VRBO. Here are a few examples:
1. Caldwell, Texas
2. Fixer Upper’s Famous Barndomium
You can rent Fixer Upper’s famous barndominium on VRBO. This is an absolute beauty in Lacy Lakeview, Texas.
Can a barndominium have a basement or crawl space?
Yes, a barndominium can have a basement. You can build one on a traditional foundation and pour in a basement or crawl space just as you would a regular house.
Can you hire a builder to build a barndominium?
Yes, of course you can. You can hire an architect to draw up plans or look for barndominium floor plans and work from those.
Alternatively, you can buy a barndomium kit or buy an existing structure (i.e. barn or large shop).
Where can you buy a barndominium kit?
There are many great companies with websites from which you can order a barndominium kit (shell). They offer all sizes and styles. Heck, you can even get a barndominium that doubles as an airplane hangar.
Here are some of the best websites for barndominium kits:
Sunwardsteel.com: This site offers kits for all kinds of structure types including barndominiums of all sizes. Note that they only provide the shell, not the interior.
Gensteel.com: You can get a cost quote for your barndomium shell based on the size and height you specify. This is very cool. Again, you can order shell exteriors for many building types including barndominiums.
Worldwidesteelbuildings.com: This Barndominium kit outfit sends you the kit and you assemble it. Yes, you’ll save money but be prepared to work or hire a contractor to assemble it (or your bro).
Photo examples of barndominiums (interiors, exteriors and layouts)
Below are some great examples of barndo designs including the layouts (i.e. floor plans).
1. Three Bedroom Post-Frame Barndominium
The following is a Barndominium house plan courtesy of ArchitecturalDesigns.com.
See more of the above here.
2. Two Bedroom Farmhouse Style Barndominium
The following farmhouse-style barndominium is courtesy of ArchitecturalDesigns.com.
See the rest of the above here.
3. Garage-style barndominium
The next example is also courtesy of ArchitecturalDesigns.com.
What is a pole barn house?
A pole barn is a building that uses pole-frame construction rather than a solid foundation. Those poles support the roof, rather than walls as a traditional home would do, so it is a construction approach that does well with an open-concept home design.
They typically have wood or metal siding, and the interior can be customized to either a complete open concept or walls can be added in as part of the construction plans.
Are pole barn houses and barndominiums the same thing? Totally different?
Pole Barn houses and Barndominiums are very similar in appearance, but their structures are very different. A barndominium will be built on a foundation, similar to a traditional home or barn, while a pole barn house uses the pole-frame construction and does not have load bearing walls.
However, both pole barn houses and barndominiums are known for their open-concept designs, are frequently built for a rustic look (although that is not required) and are less expensive to build than traditional houses.
How much does it cost to build a barndominium per square foot?
The cost per square foot will vary depending on labor costs, material costs, and the pricing on the kit itself. If you plan on doing doing most of the labor yourself and are planning on a smaller design with less expensive materials inside – think less expensive countertops, flooring, and such – then you can start around 20-40 dollars per square foot.
On the higher end, if you are planning on a more luxurious or upscale interior, wraparound outside porches, the price goes up accordingly. On the higher end of the scale, you can expect to pay 100-120 dollars per square foot.
How much does a pole barn house cost to build per square foot?
A pole barn usually costs 15-35,000 dollars on average, which costs 15-30 dollars per square foot. From there, you will have to factor in the costs of decorating and finishing the interior, which will vary depending on what you are looking to do and which materials you want to buy. On the higher end, a pole barn house can cost up to 100-120,000 dollars total.
How much square footage do the living spaces of a barndominium have?
The square footage will vary. Some are sold in pre-fabricated kits which have set square footage ranges. Others are custom-built which can be any size. You will often find barndominiums with square footages anywhere in the range of 900 square feet for a cottage to over 2000 square feet as a full-sized home and meeting place.
Can you rent out a barndominium to long term tenants?
A barndominium is often used for long-term rentals but the exact rules vary depending on state and local zoning laws. Some states have no zoning laws regarding them at all, while others consider them to be agricultural or commercial buildings, so you will need to check with your local authorities for more information.
Can you rent out a barndominium for short-term stays on Airbnb and/or VRBO?
Yes, in many states and jurisdictions barndominiums are used as rental properties and are very popular for short-term stays. Many people prefer to stay in a niche setting and the barndominium is perfect for really getting into a rural or rustic lifestyle during a vacation.