A Touch of Country



By Natalie Rietveld

The thought of the country makes one think of wide-open spaces, fresh air, natural beauty, tranquility and just a hint of ruggedness.

There’s something welcoming about the country and whether you’re willing to admit it or not, we all love a bit of country comfort every now and then.

Maybe that’s why barn-style houses are becoming increasingly popular, because it’s all about bringing that tranquil, country-flare home.

A barn style home encompasses all of the features people love about the country.

Beyond the front doors often lies large generous living spaces with exposed natural timbers; its warm and inviting and feelings of restriction and clutter leave the mind instantly.

The height and scale of a barn is very appealing; simple yet grand – everything you’d want in a home.

Customkit founder and managing director, Michael Anselmi, began selling barns and barns with accommodation in 1993.

He says barn-style homes are growing in popularity “without question”, particularly in the rural and semi-rural settings.

“Our look and feel has become synonymous with the [rural] lifestyle and that special rural ambience,” Michael says.

His words encapsulate what a barn style home is all about, being able to live and breathe that “special rural ambience. They fit into the natural landscape and compliment the NZ lifestyle,” he says.

His clients continuously tell him how in love they are with the wide open living spaces and high ceilings that the barns have to offer.

What most people don’t realise is that these homes come in a range of different styles and Customkit is a great example of that.

They are not always your typical American-style barn and although that is an option, there really is a barn to suit every character.


Craig Brown Construction owner, Craig Brown and his wife Lia Brown, chose a barn- style home for their family of five.

As an outdoorsy type family who enjoy hunting and wide open spaces; a barn-style home, to them, fits like a glove.

Though a barn-style home wasn’t originally what they had planned it fit in perfectly with Lia’s dream to live in a large, spacious home.

After “popping out” three children in a reasonably short amount of time they needed more space – fast.

They had an existing barn on their property that with the right design plan would be the ideal space for their family of five. They had the architect for the job and Craig was able to make the final vision a reality.

Craig has built a few barn-style homes in the Canterbury region and Lia believes because of the increasing costs involved in building new homes, people are becoming more open to kitting out sheds/barns to keep their costs down.


It may be the cheaper option to building your own home, but it certainly doesn’t have to look that way.

Barn-style homes can look and feel glamorous, and why they often get a bad rap, Lia doesn’t think that’s because of the homes themselves.

In her eyes they hold a lot of character and putting the time into landscaping will open one’s eyes to the beauty they offer.

“I believe that it is paramount to have suitable landscaping when living in a barn-style home, or it will just detract from the features. All too often people that are living in barn-style houses don’t landscape and it gives barn-style houses a bad rap as they look unfinished,” she says.

It just goes to prove that the large, open plan home you’ve been lusting over all this time is actually more in reach then you would have first assumed.

With the right design, décor and landscaping, you can turn any barn into a luxurious home without having to fork out the funds for a mansion, with the added benefit of that special country charm.

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