Antique Barn Homes FAQ

The short answer is that they will add about $1,500 plus GST per square meter of floor area of the frame to the original build estimate for your design. So, if you added a 30’x50′ frame with two mezzanine spaces to your home it would be approximately 230 square meters of floor space that the frame was offering. The frame in the case would cost about $350,000 plus GST plus the cost of raising the frame on your site.

Our antique frames are typically included in “upper range” builds, where people are spending in the range of $6-7,000 per square meter of home.

We do not say this to put you off, if you are serious about having an Antique Barn Home then please contact us – we’re used to being creative in helping people accomplish their dreams!.


Our antique barn frame prices are comprehensive and include: 

1 – All required restoration and any modifications needed to accomplish your desired floor plan:

The frames are typically repaired and modified by our suppliers in North America to our exacting standards. Although the repairs and modifications are made from heritage materials, you should keep in mind that these frames are almost 200 years old and full of character before and after restoration!

2 – Delivery from the original location in North America to your site or our storage facility:

Prior to restoration the frames are power-washed to remove any non-wood organic matter. Following restoration, the frames are loaded into a container and fumigated prior to being shipped to an approved port in New Zealand. Upon arrival the frame may need to be heat treated before being released by MPI and transported within New Zealand.

6 – Scaled Drawings:

We create a set of frame drawings for inclusion in the architectural design process and for use onsite during the raising.

7 – Delivery to the Building Site:

Barn frames are heavy and potentially dangerous to move. We provide all the heavy equipment to carry out this process safely.

8* – Crew and Equipment to Stand the Frame on Location – the “Raising”:

We most often provide an estimate for raising with the initial pricing for the antique frame.  Final pricing is offered nearer the time of the raising due to variables such as builder participation, access around site, and time elapsed since project conception. Should you choose our experienced crew, we will work safely and efficiently to get your historic frame raised in a timely way.

9 – Support and Follow Up:

We are with you throughout the project, even if we sell you only the barn frame without design services. Our affiliated company, Heritage Barns in Texas, have completed over 200 barn home projects. You, your architect or your builder can call on us at any point along the way to ask questions about how to do or where to get something.

We also offer all kinds of antique materials to go with our barns, which are priced as extras.

All of our barns are power washed during restoration. We have never had a problem with residual odors.

One of the wonderful things about these barns is that no two are the same. While each frame follows one of several basic traditional designs, the variations in a barn’s overall size, species of wood, girth of the timbers, etc. are as diverse and unique as the settler who used them, the craftsmen who built them, and the resources of the region in which they were built.

Most of frames date from the early 1800’s. The primary clues that give away the original time period of a barn’s construction are the tools and construction methods used to build them. The types of tools used are known by the marks they left on the timbers. As the Industrial Revolution of the 1800’s began to influence agriculture, changing its focus from self-sufficient homesteads to larger, agri-business farms, it likewise affected the construction of barns. Also useful, but not always available, are historical documents, oral traditions, or family histories that give a date to the building’s construction.

We have been working in traditional post and beam construction in New Zealand since we started outside of Nelson, almost 20 years ago. Since then we have completed over 50 new timberframe projects and have completed 6 antique frame projects with two in the pipeline for 2024.

Our suppliers have excellent photographic and video records for barn frames in their inventory.

Most clients buy from these photographs and videos, or we can provide additional photographs of either the timbers, the original standing barn or similar barn frames fully restored and erected as part of a new build.

Please contact us if you need more information on selecting the right frame.

After the foundation is prepared, we can deliver and erect your barn frame in one week. Once the frame is erected, Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) can be installed, depending on the size of the barn, in as little as 4 or 5 days. Alternatively, pre-nailed frames and conventional NZ construction methods can be used to enclose the frame.  From there, the finish out will take no longer than any other custom home.

With our focus on new timber frames we usually have a new frame being worked on by our team and older frames are in our yard from time to time as projects come on line. It is best to call us to discuss availability. If you need additional heritage material for your build (such as reclaimed roof sarking or threshing floor boards for stairs and shelves) then it is best to order this in with your barn.

Barn homes are now highly regarded in construction and design magazines. Architectural Digest (USA) regularly runs articles featuring restored barn homes, and other articles featuring barn homes appear continually in publications as diverse as Victorian Homes and Timber Homes Illustrated. If you search in Pinterest you will see the rise in popularity of barn homes.

Barn homes have been regularly featured on programs such as “This Old House.” The uniqueness, rustic beauty and timeless craftsmanship of restored, historic timber-frames appeal to a very wide cross-section of custom home buyers and therefore enhance their resale value.

Of the more than 200 barn homes our affiliated company Heritage Restorations have built, very few have been on the market because the owners are in love with them. The few that have been offered for sale sold readily.

Our almost 20 years experience with traditional post and beam construction in NZ encourages us that it is a very unique and special project that includes a traditional post and beam frame made from new or historic timber.  We are not aware of any of our past clients ever having any difficulty in selling their houses. The constant influx of UK, European and North American immigrants to NZ also provides a steady stream of potential buyers.

No, aside from the “givens” of post locations, bay sizes, tie-beam heights and knee-wall heights, etc. in your final frame configuration. For some, the given characteristics of the barn frame actually help in the design process and become features in the final project.

We select barns where these existing characteristics either fit with attractive floor plan design or can be easily modified to not limit the design in any way. Additionally, you can use one barn or several, add lofts, and even use conventional framing to make additions to the barn frame.

Our Modular Barn Home Range can give you an idea of the flexibility offered with either antique or new barns.


Yes, Heritage Timbercraft offers a complete design service. We work alongside the Heritage Restorations Architectural team and/or NZ qualified designers/engineers to produce Architectural and Engineering drawings and details.

Yes. We are able to work with you to design and build whatever other architectural elements you want to include in your home. Entry ways, veranda posts and diagonal braces, additional trusses for bedrooms and additional exposed rafters are common additions to barn frames.


We have worked with many councils throughout the country throughout the years. Historic timber frames are typically signed off by our NZ Chartered Engineer.  The only time they wouldn’t be is if the frame was completely non-structural, in which case an engineer can include steel portal frames to carry the structural load. We can offer guidance with this, as this is the solution that some of our clients have used. Our new frames are typically part of structural design and we have no problems getting them engineered to meet council requirements all over New Zealand.

It depends on the frame – if it is still standing then it must be dismantled outside of winter, restored and shipped to NZ. Even in this case the barn can typically arrive in time not to hold up your project.

Outside of some major transportation delays such as occurred with Covid, the frame can typically be in New Zealand 6 months after the frame contract has been signed.

If you have an urgent need for an historic frame then please contact us.

We commit to being available throughout the building process and are always available to you, your contractor and your architect.

Not at all. You can use any type of roofing, siding, and interior finishes available for conventionally constructed buildings. Barns wrapped in SIPs  can have roofs of metal, slate, cedar shingles, copper, thatch and asphalt shingles. Exterior siding can be stone, wood, stucco, brick or any combination of materials. Interior finishes also can be anything from textured and painted gib board to stone and antique barn wood.

Barn homes can be built on concrete slabs, on wood-framed floors sitting on piles and bearers, and on full basements. You can finish the floors in anything you like, including carpet, tile, wood or stained concrete.  Typically in NZ with a flat-ish site, concrete foundations with a concrete slab will be your most economic option. Slabs of about 100mm thickness usually suffice with thickenings under each post.


Structural Insulated Panels, or SIPs, are a highly energy-efficient and labour-saving way to enclose an historic timber frame, and have been used in new construction for decades in North America. They are basically panelized walls, replacing in one step: framing, sheathing, and insulation.  They typically consist of two layers of OSB (oriented strand board) or similar with a high density polyurethane foam sandwiched between. Since the Christchurch earthquake they are more readily available in NZ and are becoming a viable option for a barn homes wall and/or roof systems. A number of our clients are including this in their barns.

No, you can use conventional 90/140 x 45 framing around the timbers and insulate with fiberglass, wool, polyester or other insulation.

It is worthwhile to consider SIPs for the roofing due to the high insulation values and speed of installation.

SIPs have several energy-saving advantages over standard construction methods. Their R values are at least 30-40% higher than fiberglass insulation of the same thickness, but this is only half the story. Their greatest energy-saving advantage over conventional framing and insulating is they create a seamless, insulated envelope around the timber frame.

If you choose SIPs for your home then location of plumbing is a key decision. In most cases plumbing is not run inside of the panels but is located inside internal wall frames or in wall framing attached to the panels which form a suitable void.

The panels usually come with vertical chases every 400mm for wiring.

.You can, but rarely do people apply a finish to the beams. They have a deep, rich patina that has been acquired by years of exposure and they do not need a finish.

We have worked with a number of councils around New Zealand to ensure that the frames we erect meet the local council’s earthquake requirements. Much of the earthquake resistance in a building comes from the bracing elements including wall linings. If the building is going to have a lot of glass in it, then extra structural bracing elements will be needed and can be designed into the build.

We have a large inventory of antique materials, including weathered barn siding, 50mm thick threshing floor boards, and many other types of materials.  We also have hand-hewn timbers, hand-forged iron hardware, barn doors, and more. These are available to import with your barn.