Building an arch and saving our heads

We’re blessed with beautiful original beams at The Barn and we love the character and warmth they bring to the space. In the parlour the beams are an ecclectic mix of different woods, with pieces added to strengthen the construction, telling the story of the house in wood and metal.

Low beams in the parlour

But one particular beam in the parlour has been giving us a headache – literally! The archway between the parlour and the kitchen was incredibly low and we had to duck underneath whenever we walked through it. In the hustle and bustle of family life we often forgot and OUCH!

Sketching our the new arch

It was becoming a health hazard so we decicded that we had to find a solution that would work both for us and for The Barn.  It’s important whenever you start planning a project like this to know what you’re dealing with, so we worked with our contractor – RE Butler – to understand how the existing arch was constructed and establish how it could be modified safely. They confirmed with some preliminary investigations that the support strutt in the picture below could be removed and we decided on a new archway that would give us the height we needed without compromising on the aesthetics of The Barn.

Checking the structural support

Removing the heavy oak beam that ran across the original archway was a big job. It was a bit sad to see it go but the resulting height is wonderful.

Inside the arch

If you’re a regular reader here you’ll know how important it is to us to reuse original elements of The Barn during our remodelling work whever we can – such as repurposing the original mezzanine into a stunning 12-seater dining table. In this instance we didn’t have any wood that was suitable for remaking the arch but we used reclaimed oak that is in keeping with the history and style of the space.
The new arch in the parlour

We’re so delighted with the new archway – it fits in beautifully with the rustic style of the parlour, creates a statement feature and, importantly, saves our heads!
The new arch blends in

Building an arch and saving our heads pinnable image

Have you remodelled an area of your house that you didn’t like? Leave me a note and a link in the comments – I’d love to see it!

Linking up with The Dad Network, Mama and More, The Twinkle Diaries, Honest Mum, Let’s Talk Mommy


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  1. Jenny August 9, 2015 at 8:17 pm Reply

    That looks beautiful and full of character. Lovely wood on show too! Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me. #sharewithme

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) August 12, 2015 at 6:19 am Reply

      Thanks Jenny, we are certainly blessed with a lot of very old oak here at The Barn and you’re right, it does add a lot of character!

  2. Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) August 7, 2015 at 7:40 am Reply

    Awww thanks so much for saying so Beth – we feel blessed to live here everyday x

  3. Beth August 5, 2015 at 5:20 pm Reply

    That looks absolutely beautiful and stunning. x

  4. Merlinda Little (@pixiedusk) August 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm Reply

    Amazing character of the wood! I love what you did and it gives the space more shape and movement =) #sharewithme

  5. mummyofboygirltwins August 4, 2015 at 2:25 pm Reply

    WOW! Love this. Looks like a great solution. We have just moved into a brand new build so not a beam in sight! We left a cottage and so no wonky walls or uneven lines anymore! Yours looks stunning and full of character. Jess x


    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) August 5, 2015 at 6:59 am Reply

      Thanks Jess we moved here from a staight-lines house too – it was a big change but I can’t imagine living anywhere else now! x

  6. Sara | mumturnedmom July 30, 2015 at 1:14 pm Reply

    Wonderful solution, we have a couple of odd areas in our house, but nothing quite as painful (!) as that 🙂

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) August 7, 2015 at 7:38 am Reply

      So glad we decided to make this change although it was a bit of a risk initially – thankfully it wasn’t structural! x

  7. martyn July 30, 2015 at 9:42 am Reply

    Great post. And wow your home is so beautiful!! Glad the arch has helped! Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky hope to see you there this week.

    • Michelle Reeves (The Essex Barn) August 3, 2015 at 7:32 am Reply

      Thanks so much Martyn! The arch has been one of our best remodelling projects so far (and our heads are very grateful for it!)

  8. Stephanie July 29, 2015 at 9:23 pm Reply

    Glad that you’ve stopped bumping heads on the beam 🙂 the new arch looks great too x #homeetc

  9. Midnighttuna Mama July 29, 2015 at 11:02 am Reply

    wow stunning barn…on my to do list now to read the rest of your blog. We renovated a 17th century Cornish cottage and it takes lots of love, care, attention oh and that little thing called money! So lovely though to be surrounded by so much history and character!

  10. Carol Cameleon July 28, 2015 at 9:57 pm Reply

    Yay to no more headaches! It looks so in-keeping with your lovely, beautiful home Michelle.

  11. Chloe July 25, 2015 at 7:55 am Reply

    Wow this is stunning. I love where you live. I love wooden beams and this style of property. What a great project and definitely worth doing, especially because you’ve saved those bumped heads haha. xxx #bigfatlinky

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