• Location: Dorset
  • Client: Private
  • Project status: On site
  • Project type: New Build/Barn Conversion
  • Size: 4500sqft

Dorset New Home – Off Grid

This 5 bedroom new house near Shaftesbury is part of an off-grid Class Q barn conversion. It replaces a steel-framed barn that is currently used for agricultural storage. The replacement dwelling will be considerably smaller than the existing barn, and RBA carefully considered its orientation and location. It lies in the southern corner of a large field, and is set back to be less visible from the road and nearby properties.

The new home is a blend of traditional and contemporary architecture. The pitched roof, limestone gables and timber cladding reflect the local vernacular, while the windows and doors are more modern.  Internally, the ground floor consists of a large kitchen-diner, snug, drawing room, office, cloakroom, boot room and utility. The second storey includes a large master suite with en-suite bathroom and dressing area, and another 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

In an exciting first for Richmond Bell Architects, the development will be completely off-grid, with an array of solar panels in the north of the field that feeds a battery bank. These, together with a heat pump, will supply the house with its energy needs and make it self-sufficient. The house will therefore not be connected to the national energy power network. The panels, and a field shelter to house their batteries, have also been carefully sited to reduce visual impact on the countryside. Water is provided by a bore-hole and the building has been constructed using sustainable technologies that will provide it with high levels of insulation and low levels of heat loss.


To further reduce the environmental impact of the building and increase the sustainability of the site, the surrounding field will be rewilded.  This includes the planting of new woodland and the creation of a small pond to provide new habitats for wildlife. The field shelter, and owl boxes in the trees, provide opportunities for barn owl roosts. The client will also install several bat boxes. New hedging to the north of the house will act as a boundary between the domestic curtilage and surrounding land.

Dorset Council also granted permission for a 3 bay garage alongside the house that includes a shower and ancillary accommodation on first floor.


Read the latest progress on the house on our news page.

Get In Touch

If you would like to discuss a potential project, please send us an e-mail and we’ll get back to you.