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The Barn

Maria Gigney, the Architect for this project, refers to us on her website as the 'insane' builders who were willing to work with her on this difficult project and transform it into the treasure that it is today. Having previously worked with Maria Gigney, we were invited to assess this project for its feasibility.

Preliminary drawings were provided and at first assessment appeared possible, but difficult. The project involved the conversion of a sandstone ’barn’ (circa 1840’s) into a single bedroom dwelling. Further examination revealed the need of a bulldozer, not a builder! After much discussion, deliberation and consultation between Maria Gigney, Michael Galloway the Building Surveyor and the management of Merlin Constructions, some hope glimmered and we agreed to take up this enormous challenge. Perhaps it was the Architect's confidence in our ability or just a moment of madness on our behalf that persuaded us to take up this 'extremely difficult if not impossible' task.

The project included extensive recycling of the existing materials, including the original mezzanine floor boards being cleaned up and reused in the living room ceiling, highlighting the rich colour of this 160 year old timber. Artefacts found on site during construction were kept and are now featured in a display mounted on the living room wall. The original loft floor joists that could be salvaged were used to build a dining table which now stands proudly in the meals area. The original timber ladder used to access the loft is now relocated and used as the towel rail.


  • The National Award for Small Project Architecture
  • Vic/Tas Timber Design Award for Best Renovation
  • The Tasmanian Award for Small Project Architecture
  • The Roy Sharrington Smith Award for Heritage Architecture
  • Honourable Mention in the Henry Hunter Triennial Prize 2011
  • 2011 Winner, Renovation / addition project under $250,000. HIA-CSR TASMANIAN Housing and Kitchen & Bathroom Awards.

Architect: Maria Gigney, MGArchitects
Building Surveyor: Michael Galloway
Photography: Mathew Newton

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