Conversion Guide: Barns, Churches, Schools and Industrial

Dining and living area in converted tin chapel
(Image credit: Jeremy Phillips)

Creating a new home from a dilapidated old building thats use was intended for a purpose entirely different takes a great deal of imagination, time, perseverance and foresight as well as a highly flexible approach to budgeting. But if you are creative and resourceful, the end result can be simply beautiful.

Whilst it is true that many disused buildings are in prime locations where new housebuilding simply wouldn’t be entertained – former industrial buildings are often in central urban areas, for example, whilst barns tend to be in idyllic rural settings – at the heart of every conversion project is a desire to create a unique home. The fact that you can also reclaim some of the VAT paid on parts of your conversion work also makes converting attractive from a financial perspective.

Michael Holmes

Michael is Homebuilding & Renovating's Director of Content, Vice Chair of the self build industry body, the National Custom and Self Build Association (NaCSBA), presenter of multiple property TV shows and author of Renovating for Profit (Ebury). He also runs an architectural and interior design practice, offering design and project management services. He is one of the country's leading property experts and has undertaken over 30 building projects including two self-builds and the renovation of a Grade-II listed farmhouse. 

Michael has presented over 150 property shows for BBC, ITV1, Channel 5, UK TV Style, and Discovery RealTime, including I Own Britain's Best Home; Don't Move Improve; Trading Up; Good Bid, Good Buy; Build, Buy or Restore?; How to Build A House; and Hard Sell.

Michael is also a regular expert at the Homebuilding & Renovating Shows. He has written for leading British newspapers, including The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Daily Express and The Independent and has appeared on news programmes such as BBC Breakfast.