Millionaires Living in Barns?

It’s more common that you might think! High-net-worth individuals have long sought spacious hideaways in the countryside. Rather than going for red-brick estates or whitewashed ranch houses, however, more and more wealthy homeowners have been spending their summers and long weekends in barns. Not dirty, smelly, hay-filled barns, of course: spacious, historic, modern, converted barns.



The Luxury Converted Barn Phenomenon


For wealthy individuals seeking primary or secondary residences with plenty of character and space, converted barns can provide a perfect solution. Here are some of the main selling points for converted barns:


  • History – For centuries before they became mansions, these barns were used on working American farms and ranches.
  • Space – Because barns are meant to fit as much hay or as many horses as possible, they are spacious and perfect for open floor plans.
  • Uniqueness – Not many people can say they live in a converted Dutch barn from the 1800s.
  • Character – The planks of wood have been worn by weather and use over decades, so your home feels authentic and broken-in from the beginning.
  • Exposed beams – Sigh. Who doesn’t love exposed beams?
  • Luxury – Life in a converted barn is a far cry from “roughing it.” These barns may be rustic on the outside, but they are modern, bright, clean, and airy on the inside. Ladders, lofts, lap pools. The possibilities are endless.
  • Ecofriendly – By moving into a salvaged and restored barn, homeowners are using recycled wood and saving trees.  Salvaged wood floors and doors are also growing in popularity.


How It’s Done


Restoring and renovating a barn is a process that varies widely in expense and complexity. Some buyers will purchase a barn on a large swath of land and do a top-to-bottom renovation. Increasingly, however, people are buying their ideal piece of property and then purchasing a disassembled historic barn separately, to be delivered to their land. While some people find and buy the barns themselves, there are a growing number of businesses that buy the country’s most beautiful barns and allow customers to pick their favorite from a large catalog.


One such specialty company is Heritage Restorations, based in Waco, Texas, which manages every aspect of the transformation from horse barn to one-of-a-kind country estate. Their restoration projects can cost anywhere from $200,000 to $5 million depending on the size of the barn and the scale of the renovation. In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Heritage Restorations founder Kevin Durkin noted that his business has steadily increased over the last 15 years—even during the housing crash. “People looking for a barn home, they’re not looking to save money,” the founder said. “It’s character. You’re living in a piece of history.” (Feast your eyes on the Heritage Restorations showroom.)


A Haven for Peace & Quiet


On the one hand, a converted barn makes for a truly unique and peaceful retreat, whether its standing in a vast green field or nestled in the mountains. On the other hand, luxury converted barns aren’t for everyone. They are usually found in remote areas or on large plots of land, which means plenty of peace and solitude, but also a property that might be more difficult to access. Because of the unique layout of most barns, converted homes often require unconventional floor plans and room arrangements.  Their high ceilings and enormous volume can make these barns costly to heat and cool, too. However, for the very successful homebuyer who is looking for something apart from the ordinary, the converted barn may have terrific appeal.


About padreeliteteam

Alta Monroe, Gayle Hood, Jules Wilk & Laurie Howell are a full-time professional and dynamic team known as the Padre Elite Team with RE/MAX 1st Choice in South Padre Island. Quality service for their clients is their number one priority. To them, it is about the client's needs and protecting their interests. Finding just the right property for their buyers or helping their sellers get their property SOLD is their goal. Helping clients step through the complicated process of buying or selling a property to a smooth closing is essential to them. A personal Bio on each of the team agents is posted on their website at The South Padre Island real estate industry is changing faster than ever these days. With the changes in the economy, there are new challenges with buyers, sellers, foreclosures, short sales, Internet marketing, our education, increases in inventories, changes in comparable sales, and frustrating politics. Alta, Gayle, Laurie, and Jules strive to stay on top of all of these changes and to keep in touch with their clients. Alta, Gayle, Jules & Laurie all hold designations they have acquired through eduction. These designations include CLHMS, CRS, GRI, RSPS, CPN, ePRO, SFR and RSPS. Gayle and Jules both hold the CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist) designation and they are the ONLY agents in the entire Rio Grande Valley that are members of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing. This better qualifies them to share their specialized expertise with a luxury home seller or buyer. Making sure the buyer and the seller are represented correctly is a priority for this team. Investing in TREPAC (Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee) is important to this team since TREPAC has proven to be a major force in Texas by lobbying for Realtors and property rights for the consumer. For many years, the Padre Elite Team has been a major investor in TREPAC. Alta and Gayle have attended the National Association of Realtors Mid-Year Conference in Washington, D.C. often. The conference is primarily for Realtors that are Board directors or executives. It is a great way to stay on top of the current issues facing Realtors and homeowners in our country. They get to meet with their Senators and Congressmen to express their concerns. Last year they were invited to attend the Realtor PAC President’s Circle Conference in New York where they heard many famous guest speakers regarding current real estate issues. The Padre Elite Team also attends the RE/MAX International Conference each year to acquire more education and to keep up with the latest technology available to Realtors in the Marketplace. They have received numerous awards for being Top Producers in the real estate industry. Education is a priority for this entire team including their assistant, Grace. The GOOD news is that 2012, 2013, 2014 and now 2015 proved to be better each year for real estate sales in South Padre Island and the surrounding areas of Port Isabel, Laguna Vista/South Padre Island Golf Community, and Bayview. The real estate market is showing an increase in the number of sales and a leveling of values. Now that the market has hit the bottom, investors are finding that real estate is a great place to invest their money. It is still a buyer's market and a great time to buy. Alta, Gayle, Jules & Laurie all agree that it has been such a pleasure to live & work in a resort area such as South Padre Island. A hundred of your closest friends and family will visit when you live near the beach! Clients are always encouraged to contact them. For more information about this team and to view their blog, visit
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