Pole Barn Home

Updated on August 16, 2018
inbo5599 profile image

Lisa is from MI and grew up on a farm. The vernacular architecture--pole barns and timber frame barns--were inspiration for this project!

Pole barn house plan front elevation.
Pole barn house plan front elevation. | Source

Pole Barn House

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to build and live in a pole barn house? I did; and in order to manifest this curiosity, I salvaged building materials--doors and windows--over the course of a year and designed and built a house around the materials. This resulted in a 1,085 SF pole building that makes a great small home, cottage, cabin, or guest house. Its simple shape makes it easy to build!


Pole barn house main floor plan.
Pole barn house main floor plan. | Source

Pole Building Benefits

Features include: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, storage / sleeping loft, modern style, shed roof, high ceilings, abundant windows, solar passive design, plenty of natural light, radiant in floor heat, stained concrete floor, and some universal design attributes.

I researched several natural and alternative build methods--cob, strawbale, rammed earth, underground houses--before deciding to go with pole construction. I decided to go with pole building for the following reasons:

- minimal impact on land
- easily passes code
- appraises as stick built home
- ease of construction; and
- able to get the roof on early!

The pole building frame and foundation.
The pole building frame and foundation.

Pole Building Foundation

For the foundation, holes 1- 2' in diameter were dug 4' in the ground below the frost line. Then 1' of cement was poured in the bottom of the holes and posts were placed on top of the cement. The holes were then back filled. The cement pads distribute the weight from the load on the post. The posts were treated 6X6's and spacing varied from 6 - 10' apart.

The pole barn house lot.
The pole barn house lot.

Pole Barn House Land

Getting a build project off on the right foot starts with getting the right lot, or knowing how to best work with your lot. In this case, here are some of the lot attributes:

- no lot clearing was needed as built in the open part of the land
- minimal leveling (excavation) needed
- shade from the wooded part of the lot in the south provides for natural cooling in the summer (this build project is built in the north; you would want to do the opposite if building in the south)

If you are looking for land here are some things that might be helpful to look for as you seek a lot to build on:
- minimal excavation needed
- good drainage
- proper sun exposure or shelter (depending on if you are building in the north or south)
- land that perks for a regular septic system as a specialized system can be triple the cost!

A building tip for artful living.
A building tip for artful living.
Pole barn house windows.
Pole barn house windows.

Doors and Windows

All of the doors and windows were purchased salvaged and builder restock. This was a substantial savings as all of the doors and windows were purchased for a total of $1,519 (at some stores that is the minimal cost of ONE French door)! Pole building allowed for easy placement of doors and windows. Here are some places to look for salvaged, reclaimed, and builder restock doors and windows:

- craigslist
- classified ads
- builder restock stores
- Habitat for Humanity
- garage sales
- let friends and family know that you are in the market for quality used doors and windows (they may have some or know of someone who does)

* Always make sure doors and windows are in excellent working condition before buying!

Pole barn house salvaged window.
Pole barn house salvaged window.

Building Tip

The best piece of advice I received regarding reclaimed doors and windows (that are in excellent condition) is from a designer named, Eric, he said,


"Don't worry if you find windows and doors that don't match in color or size. If you find a good deal pick them up because you can always use them somewhere in your house. It may mean that each wall will have a different color but if designed right people will never know--or will think it is supposed to be that way."

Pole barn house doors and windows.
Pole barn house doors and windows.

Pole Barn House Exterior and Interior Materials

The main materials of the pole barn house are wood, metal, and concrete. The exterior is plywood siding, metal roof, galvanized metal skirt board, and wood trim. The interior is stained concrete floors, sliding barn style doors with galvanized metal hardware, wood kitchen cabinets, and a walk in shower with concrete base, tile, and glass block wall.


Pole Barn House Universal Design Features Incorporated

  • stairless entry
  • 36" wide door openings
  • ample bedroom egress via French doors
  • 5' turn radius in kitchen

Would you live in a barn house?

See results

© 2011 Lisa

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    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      2 years ago from Michigan

      Gail W, The home was under 100K total to build (materials plus labor, many items DIY and recycled).

    • profile image

      Gail W 

      2 years ago

      Hi Lisa, can I ask approximately how much the materials cost to build your home? TIA!

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you, ourvinny! Lol, I've heard that about renovating. There's something about a creative project that makes one want to keep going. Enjoy your third project!

      Did not discover any structural problems during or after construction. Would build with pole framing again.

    • profile image

      ourvinny 

      3 years ago

      Very nicely done. I have experience renovating/ restoring. I am on the third (as is) home. I swore I would not do it again after the first one.

      My question is this: did you discover any structural problems in your relationship as construction progressed?

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you. Email me for the purchase link at: inbo5599@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      andy 

      3 years ago

      Great work, how can I get the pole barn house plans from you. Thanks in advance for your reply.

      In northern mi is our property and we are ready to build and your plan would for the bill perfectly.

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      3 years ago from Michigan

      Hi Janet, The pole barn house study plan has the details on foundation and radiant in floor heat. No changes. If someone wanted more head room in the storage / loft area the roof direction could be reversed. Best wishes on your cottage project!

    • profile image

      Janet 

      4 years ago

      Hi there, thank you for sharing all your information. We are looking to also build a polebarn cottage in Michigan, did you need to put anything under the concrete before pouring, to keep out moisture or whatever may happen to it over time? We too are doing the radiant heat. Also since you've now lived in it for awhile any changes you would recommend? Thanks so much. Janet

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Hope7777, I wish I could answer that. Your project will depend on where you build and how you approach your project. I would start with getting a plan that you can take to a general contractor or if contracting yourself take to subs and get estimates.

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      The plywood was attached directly to the frame then stained. No layers. Hope this helps.

    • profile image

      T.O. 

      5 years ago

      I really like the outer plywood idea. Is it stained plywood screwed directly to the frame, or is there other layers?

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 

      5 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      I love this idea. I always wanted a small affordable house. I've lived in a mobile home for decades. Voted up.

    • profile image

      Hope7777 

      5 years ago

      How much do you think it would cost to build a 1100 square ft pole barn house roughly? Very small, but still 3 bedrooms. As my husband is disabled, most of the work he cannot do, therefore what do you think it might cost? Thanks!!!

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks tobin44. I hope your ideas are coming together for your build on the family farm. Simple and efficient ... the best way to go :-)

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for the input polebarnguru. I like that, as a whole, pole barns lend themselves well to the average weekend warriors!

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Polly there is a lot of "barn conversion" going on right now. I love it! My fondness for barns comes from childhood. I grew up on a farm that had a lot of pole barns. Share a mutual fondness for the acorn shape as well :-) Don't let go of your dream to buy land with a barn to convert!

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for sharing about your pole barn house! It sounds wonderful! Nice on the white roof, "safe" room, garage / man cave, radiant in floor heat, and geo thermal :-)

    • profile image

      wags5 

      5 years ago

      We built a pole barn house last summer...drywall inside, open rafters, wood ceiling, 3,000 square feet of living space, 2,500 square feet of garage/man cave....never thought I would live in a barn but LOVE it! Living/kitchen/dining area all open with windows along the wall for a view of the pond...radiant heat floors so your feet are always warm and geo thermal for air conditioning,,,which this building seems to stay remarkably cool in the hot summers (hubby says it's because of white roof)...also, no crawl space, so built a "safe" room in one of bedroom closets, solid steel placed into concrete, vented on ceiling, solid steel door, so in case of bad weather, this room isn't going anywhere! Out pole barn is absolutely amazing and would build again in a heartbeat! Absolutely love it!

    • tobint44 profile image

      Tyler Tobin 

      5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great Hub, My wife and I are looking for house ideas as we are planning to build on her family farm. Simple and efficient!

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      6 years ago

      Thank you fellow Michigander. I share your appreciation of old post and beam construction!

    • homesteadpatch profile image

      homesteadpatch 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Hello fellow Michigander. I would certainly live in a pole barn house. I've always been fascinated by the old post and beam construction. This is a really neat idea that could be adapted to just about anywhere. You could even take the sustainability to the next level and use trees harvested from the property. Voted up!

    • profile image

      Lisa 

      6 years ago

      Online this is the only pic. I do offer the study plan for sale. Contact me if interested via email. Thanks!

    • profile image

      ricoseda 

      6 years ago

      Lisa: ,many thanks. any way to get a bigger pdf file to see the dimensions and detail better?

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks, glad you liked it!

    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 

      6 years ago from Northern California

      This is great! I've never heard of this before but it makes a lot of sense and is a great option for people with smaller budgets!

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Your welcome! Best wishes and have fun on your micro passive solar pole house!

    • profile image

      kaye 

      7 years ago

      thanks for the great info. I plan to build a micro passive solar pole house soon.

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Your welcome CHS!

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 

      7 years ago from Ireland

      Persuasive argument in favor of the pole barn. Thanks for the hub.

    • inbo5599 profile imageAUTHOR

      Lisa 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for the warm welcome Polly!

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 

      7 years ago from US

      Great! Something different. I always wanted to buy land with a barn and turn it into a house and my husband always laughed at me and not long afterwards everyone was doing it. I have always loved barns and acorn shaped roofs. Welcome to hubs! Polly

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