There’s a new craze in modular construction barnstorming the world of social media, with interest in ‘barndominiums’ going through the roof.
What’s a ‘barndominium’, you ask? As the name probably suggests, the word is a portmanteau of barn and condominium.
And that basically sums up what the structures are, too. Simply put, they’re sheds – or shed-like structures – that have been converted into liveable dwellings.
We’re probably more likely to refer to them as livable sheds in Australia, but expect the term ‘barndominium’, which is in common usage in Canada and the US, to catch on here.
According to Google trends, the search term has already reached “peak popularity” twice so far this year, and it’s on its way back to the top of the charts at the moment (see below).
As Trends explained recently, barndominiums are sheds or warehouses that serve as homes, and they are known for being affordable, energy-efficient, flexible, and low maintenance.
Although they are usually constructed from steel, the site noted that there was a ready-made market for those looking to differentiate their product by using sustainable materials, or adding interior design modelling.
US company Metal Building Homes, which specialises in barndominiums, says on its website that the prefabricated homes have risen in popularity because they can “be built faster and more efficiently while also being much cheaper”.
“When you start thinking of more efficient ways to build a house, you will end up looking at modular construction,” the company’s website says.
“It simply makes more sense to prefabricate a home in a professional shop and move it in pieces to the construction site.”
Back in 2016, when the concept was in its infancy, Metal Building Homes had predicted barndominiums would become “one of the hottest ways to build a new home”.
“In hindsight, that was more accurate than we could have imagined,” their site reads.
Barndominiums had a big boost in popularity when Joanna and Chip Gaines of popular US reality-TV show Fixer Upper featured one on their program.
A barndominium swept the pool at the recent Las Cruces Home Builders Association awards in the US state of New Mexico and realtor.com is even compiling lists of top 10 barndominiums.
But if you need more convincing that barndominiums might be the next big trend in alternative housing in Australia, Americans apparently now commonly refer to them as ‘barndos’ – doesn’t sound like something an Aussie would live in?