Case studies

British Grown Cedar for Spectacular Barn Conversion

Peter and Jane are farmers based in North Herefordshire, who selected our British Western Red Cedar cladding for their four-bay Dutch Barn conversion. 

As Canadian Cedar has become harder to obtain, more of our customers are interested in sourcing wood much closer to home. Rather than being grown thousands of miles away, our British Western Red Cedar cladding wood is grown locally, mostly within 100 miles of our Wiltshire sawmill.   

As well as travelling fewer miles than Canadian Cedar, our locally-sourced wood also has excellent qualities for external timber cladding. It’s very stable and naturally durable, which means it can last a long time outside without distorting or rotting. All of which is essential for successful barn conversion projects.

Peter and Jane share why they chose this particular timber cladding for their build – and how it’s looking three years down the line.

“In 2017, after nearly 40 years together, which involved farming, running a small van hire business and a very busy farmhouse B&B, we decided retirement time was nearing. 

After a lifetime of living in draughty old farmhouses, the thought of vertical walls, rectangular rooms and proper warmth was very appealing. On the farm we had a 4-bay Dutch Barn that was erected between the wars and which was no longer in use. It seemed a good candidate for our new home.

Being practically minded we decided to self build, doing as much as we could ourselves and using local trades people for the majority of the work. We asked our architects for a  contemporary design, very light and airy with the main living room upstairs to capitalise on our panoramic views. We made very few changes to their original design and have been very pleased with the end result. 

To be in keeping with the building and location they suggested using Western Red Cedar, in the traditional horizontal style, for the external cladding. It is cost effective,  long lasting and completely maintenance free. It was a good choice and turned out to be a lovely wood to work with. 

Sourcing the cladding involved a strong quirk of fate. One of our nephews’ best friends happens to be the son of a Northamptonshire sawmill owner and it seemed like a good place to start. He straight away recommended that we visit Vastern at Wooton Bassett which we duly did. There we were able to study and examine the range and styles available and made our choice of shiplap, homegrown Western Red Cedar.

We chose two different board widths, narrower for above, below and between the windows, wider for everywhere else. This helped to break up a large area with a visual differential. As it’s not inclined to split, no pre-drilling was required and I did it all with stainless steel nails and a DeWalt battery nail gun. 

Vastern happily delivered our order to Herefordshire. However towards the end of the job we made a couple of trips back to the sawmill for boards that I had under ordered. Stefan, ever obliging, always had our little orders ready for collection. 

We moved in just over a year ago, and the boards have already mellowed and weathered into a pleasant silvery colour, making a great end result. We are very pleased with what we have achieved in no small part due to Vastern timber. 

I’d love to say that the story ends there. However, the Schuur Huis (Dutch for Barn House) project still has a little way to go. We are awaiting planning permission for change of use on the yard. So our garden, landscaping and carport are yet to be done. Which means our retirement is still some way away yet!”

Many thanks to Peter and Jane for sharing their story and these amazing pictures.

We hope they  enjoy their retirement (eventually).


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