I work in conservation and wouldn't normally be seen dead with anything entitled 'Homebuilding & Renovating Magazine', but I see so many dreadful barn conversions through work that I was desperate to find any credible UK examples. So whilst it is an education to peer into a world where all men are 'consultants' and women use the word 'homemaker' as a job title without any apparent irony or embarrassment, I have to admit this book is actually more useful than I expected. Tucked away amongst all the chintzy horrors are a few more contemporary schemes which actually exploit the barns' spatial characteristics, and demonstrate the sort of things we try (and usually fail) to encourage people to do.
The text is very engaging, as befits its glossy magazine pedigree, and each project has an interview with the owners detailing their construction horror stories, with floor plans, a cost breakdown and contact details for agents and suppliers at the end. Naturally every other article has a dig at 'the planners' but that's OK, we have broad shoulders, and you should hear what we say about you punters ! But seriously, if you take away one message from this book, it should be 'use an architect'; whatever their style, all the best schemes here demonstrate the 'added value' that only a trained, three-dimensional imagination will bring to designing a building.