Christian Schwienbacher’s Tiny Barn-House Conversion

This tiny, multistory house set in the village of St. Ulrich, Ortisei, Italy, was originally a small barn that had been abandoned and left in a state of ruin. Upon acquiring the site the client contacted Brixen-based architect, Christian Schwienbacher, to transform the dilapidated building into a two bedroom home.


Christian Schwienbacher - Small House - Ortisei - Italy - Exterior - Humble Homes

The site had many restrictions placed on it. The barn is attached to an adjacent building through party/firewall, leaving the architect with only three walls for openings. The volume and layout of the structure was also restricted – it couldn’t be increased in size and the original floor plan had to be used.


Christian Schwienbacher - Small House - Ortisei - Italy - Kitchen Dining Room - Humble Homes

With so few options available for the rebuild, Schweinbacher took full advantage of the 4-by-5.5 meter (13-by-18 feet) floor plan and 8 meter (26 feet) building height. The home is now composed of six different levels, each of which serves a different function/acts as a different room.


Christian Schwienbacher - Small House - Ortisei - Italy - Staircase - Humble Homes

The lowest level of the home contains a single bed bedroom, followed by the bathroom and entrance on the second floor. The kitchen and dining area are on the third and fourth floors respectively. A large exterior deck that doubles as sheltered car parking can also be accessed from the dining area. The living area is found on the fifth floor, and the last level is dedicated to the master bedroom.

Christian Schwienbacher - Small House - Ortisei - Italy - Bedroom - Humble Homes

Due to the limited space, the architect has designed the staircase to serve double duty at times. For example, the stairs are intended to be used as additional seating in both the living and dining areas. By diving up the levels the transition between each floor is made to seem smaller, and requires less effort.

Christian Schwienbacher - Small House - Ortisei - Italy - Floor Plan - Humble Homes

The interior mimics the exterior; the floors, walls and ceilings are all clad with knotty pine. The walls are punctured with long shallow window openings, providing views of the outside world and allowing plenty of natural light into the home, while also maintaining the occupant’s privacy.

For more tiny houses check out this contemporary billboard home that’s been designed to house the homeless. Or this rustic tiny house that’s available for rent through AirBnB. See all tiny houses.

Via Trendir
Photos: Jurgen Eheim

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.

1 Comment
  1. Very well-designed! The space is too small but it looks like everything fits in. Such a good strategy on the design. I like the wood theme, too. Very consistent and it makes the house feel more cozy.