historic english barn transformed into picturesque garden retreat by manea kella

historic english barn transformed into picturesque garden retreat by manea kella

Nottinghamshire’s ‘colston bassett’ extension


English architecture studio Manea Kella has completed the renovation of an historic barn in the village of Colston Bassett. The property sits on a 2,200 square-meter (23,680 square-foot) plot, with a welcoming driveway and picturesque rear garden. The team thoughtfully combines modern design elements with the existing structure to create a unique rural retreat removed from city life.


The renovation takes shape with a new timber frame of Douglas fir which wholly replaces the original roof and spans the entire length of the house. Ultimately, the new dwelling echoes the familiar profile and atmosphere of the original barn, translating it through a contemporary lens.

manea kella barnimages © French+Tye@frenchandtye



manea kella embraces the english barn renaissance


Manea Kella designs its Colston Bassett barn extension to introduce a dialogue between its interiors and its garden, backdropped by views of mature trees beyond. Inside, a welcoming living and dining area is flooded with natural light and is linked to a semi-open plan kitchen. Douglas fir joinery is used throughout the interiors to complement the exposed rafters of the new roof — this use of timber throughout succeeds in creating warmth and texture.


The Japanese Ryokan was a source of inspiration for the interiors – these establishments are renown for being beautifully simple and elegant,’ the architects comment.Their contemporary purpose is to offer guests respite from busy urban life.’

manea kella barn



the reconfigurable timber façade


Along the exterior, Manea Kella wraps its Colston Bassett barn house in Siberian Larch cladding that has been wire-brushed and finished with a silicate-based wood protection — the group extensively researched treatments for accelerated weathering. This attention to detail will ensure a both a long life and a surface that will naturally age into a beautiful grey tone and ubiquitous texture. 


As the extension largely faces a public road, the team introduces lush plant screening, along with operable, full-height shutters — themselves built of Siberian Larch to continue the façade cladding. When the building is not occupied, the shutters are closed, thus camouflaging the house as a barn.

manea kella barn
the exteriors take on a rhythmic texture of timber and brick manea kella barnoperable shutters create a reconfigurable façade


the familiar profile of the barn is re-read through a contemporary lens

manea kella barnlarge skylights flood the interiors with sunlight


douglas fir joinery is used throughout to complement the exposed rafters of the new roof



project info:


project title: Colton Bassett House

architecture: Manea Kella @maneakella

location: Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

completion: 2021

contractor: Berkeley Contracts
collaborators: Price and Myers, Timber Workshop, Envelop., West Bridgford Joinery, Orchard Works Joinery

photography: © French+Tye@frenchandtye

suscribe on designboom
- see sample
- see sample
suscribe on designboom

happening now! for over 50 years, florim ceramiche spa has created porcelain stoneware ceramic surfaces for all architecture, building industry and interior design needs – discover all about the brand’s new collections on designboom! 

architecture in the UK (430)

barn architecture (49)

renovation architecture and design (768)

residential architecture and interiors (3916)

wood and timber architecture and design (955)


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

designboom will always be there for you

milan, new york, beijing, tokyo,  since 1999