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3 Ways to Build a Barndominium


a new shop in Kelowna BC
A shop with potential to be made into a barndominium

Barndominiums or shouses have become increasingly popular as versatile and often cost-effective alternatives to traditional homes. These structures blend the rustic charm of a barn or shop with the comfort and design flexibility of a house, offering a unique living space. Whether you're dreaming of a cozy countryside retreat or a functional residential space with ample room for creativity, understanding the different ways to construct a barndominium can help you make the best decisions for your needs and budget.


1. Full-Service Home Builder Approach: Ease and Expertise

The simplest yet most expensive option is to hire a full-service home builder. This approach is ideal for those who prefer a hands-off building process. A professional builder will handle every aspect of construction, from initial design to the final touches. This method not only ensures a streamlined building experience but also provides a layer of security through professional warranties and the assurance of high-quality craftsmanship.

Key benefits of this approach include:

  • Minimal Personal Involvement: The builder oversees all aspects of construction, reducing your workload and stress.

  • Professional Coordination: The builder coordinates all subcontractors, ensuring the project meets timelines and quality standards.

  • Warranty Protection: Most reputable builders will offer a warranty, providing peace of mind regarding the durability and quality of your build.


2. Owner-Builder with Professional Shell Construction: Balancing Cost and Effort


For those who are comfortable taking on some of the work but still want to avoid the complexities of full-scale construction, the middle-ground option is to act as an owner-builder but hire a company to construct the building's shell and exterior. This includes the foundation, framing, and exterior cladding. After these elements are completed, you can take over to finish the interior according to your preferences.

This method is particularly beneficial if you have specific skills or want to save money by handling the interior work yourself. For example, if you're skilled in drywall installation or electrical work, you can significantly reduce costs by applying your expertise.

Advantages include:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: It’s more affordable than hiring a full-service builder for the entire project.

  • Personalization: You have the freedom to customize the interior to suit your taste and needs.

  • Sweat Equity: You can increase your home’s value through your own labor, adding personal satisfaction to the financial benefits.


3. DIY Build: Total Control with Maximum Savings

The most cost-effective but demanding option is to build the barndominium yourself. This choice is best suited for those with a strong background in construction or those who are particularly ambitious and have the time to dedicate to a large-scale project. Building a barndominium on your own allows for complete control over every aspect of the design and construction process, which can be incredibly rewarding.

However, this approach is not without challenges:

  • Time-Consuming: A DIY build is likely to take a considerable amount of time, especially if balancing with other responsibilities.

  • Skill Requirement: Comprehensive knowledge and experience in construction are essential to tackle everything from plumbing to electrical systems safely and effectively.

  • High Responsibility: You are entirely responsible for all planning, legalities, construction, and problem-solving throughout the project.


Choosing the right method to build your barndominium depends on several factors, including your budget, time availability, skill level, and how much personal involvement you wish to have in the construction process. Each approach offers distinct advantages and considerations, and your decision should align with your long-term goals for the property. By carefully evaluating these options, you can embark on your barndominium project with confidence, ensuring that your new home meets all your expectations.

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