A Barn – A Disused Norwegian Cowshed Gets Transformed into a Modern Retreat

This barn from Norway seen a recent intervention to convert it from a dilapidated cowshed to a modern tiny retreat. It’s part of a growing trend among Norwegians, who are seeing the potential of these old disused structures to act as modern getaways.


Simply titled “A Barn”, this project was completed in 2016 with the help of architecture firm OPA FORM arkitekter. It saw the restoration of the barn, and a modern addition to make it fit for use for overnight stays.



The barn the set in the valley of Myrkdalen, found along the west coast of Norway. In recent years the area has been developed as a ski resort, and the barn can be found in the very heart of it. It’s got a small footprint of 376.74-square-feet (35-square-meters) – just enough space for a living room and sleeping area.



A Barn now serves as a unique retreat for visitors from all over the world. To make it fit for use, the architects retrofitted the interior with a new sleeping area, while the exterior was touched-up in order to maintain the authentic stable-like aesthetic. The finish on the inside is much more clean and crisp, a world away from the rustic exterior.


The two simple rooms feature few windows, as disruption to the existing structure was to be minimized. They have however introduced an unusual portal that juts out from the the face off the building and provides outwards views from the living room/tea room. The window captures views of the spectacular landscape.


The living room/tea room looks to take hints from Japanese design – it’s minimalist, has what looks to be tatami mats, and places emphasis on the use of wood. Ceiling height is limited, but opens up in the sleeping area thanks to the renovations.


From the architects: “Travelling the norwegian west-coast one can easily spot worn-down buildings scattered across the scenery fjord-landscape. Old barns clinging on the steep landscape don´t make any useful agricultural buildings anymore since the farming industry changed. But these barns make an excellent tourist destination.”


For more retreats, check out this hideaway from Bali, which is set among the trees of the jungle. Or, Krane, a one-of-a-kind retreat set within a disused harbor crane. See all retreats.

Photos © Espen Folgeroe, Virre Dahl, Marina Bauer, Finn Borrows, Rune Saevig

Niall Burke

Structural engineer by day, tiny house designer by night. Niall has a keen interest in small spaces, green design, and sustainability. He started developing Humble Homes while studying for his masters degree in engineering. He is the founder and managing editor of Humble Homes.