Dezeen Magazine

Distance view of DU18 by Turner Works

Turner Works converts Cotswolds barn into creative retreat DUT18

Architect Carl Turner has teamed up with the founder of creative agency Accept & Proceed to transform a Dutch barn in the English countryside into a holiday home set in a rewilded landscape of wildflower meadows.

DUT18 is a seven-bedroom retreat in the Cotswolds that facilitates wellness retreats and creative workshops, as well as family stays.

Exterior of DU18 by Turner Works
The house is a converted Dutch-style barn

Turner's studio, which recently rebranded as Turner Works, created the venue by taking apart an old shed and putting it back together with a new steel cladding and internal layout.

Accept & Proceed founder David Johnston and his wife Laura initiated the project after attending The DO Lectures, an annual event in Wales that brings together creatives from around the world.

Front elevation of DU18 by Turner Works
Large windows reveal the building's new use

"I was inspired to create a similar space where creatives and pioneers could get away from it all – refresh, rethink, rewire – in order to tackle the huge problems, we face as a society," said David.

At the same time, they wanted to create a versatile space that could also accommodate other activities, from yoga retreats to workshops with children and families.

Black steel cladding of DU18 by Turner Works
The walls and roof are clad in corrugated steel

"Laura and I live in London, so we conjured up DUT18 to give us what we don't get in the city," David explained.

"As a family, it's an amazing place to go and spend time together, share experiences and explain to the kids our place in nature. As the leader of a studio, it's a great place for the team to connect and talk about our plans for the future."

Interior of DU18 by Turner Works
The ground floor is an open, adaptable living space

Turner's design sees the shed become a two-storey, 275-square-metre house, with an open-plan ground floor that is large enough to be used for a wide range of activities.

There is one bedroom on this lower level, accessible for guests with limited mobility, plus a further six upstairs. There are also four bathrooms, plus a first-floor lounge, ensuring that guests can find privacy and comfort when they want it.

Lounge in DU18 by Turner Works
An atrium is overlooked by a first-floor balcony

Corrugated steel clads both the walls and the roof, giving a clean matt black finish to DUT18's exterior.

"Corrugated steel lends a rhythm and texture to the 23-metre long elevations and curved roof," said Turner. "It unifies the facade and roof, simplifying the overall volume, and reducing the appearance of the barn to its purest form when seen from a distance."

Curtain partition in DU18 by Turner Works
Curtains allow the space to be partitioned

The new window opened have been made as large as possible, to take full advantage of the views and allow ground floor rooms to extend out into the landscape.

"Facade openings have been positioned and sized to respond to the barn's new use as a living space, giving the overall building a human scale," added Turner.

"Where original openings accommodated large agricultural vehicles, they now carefully frame views across the rolling hills and countryside."

Furniture in DU18 by Turner Works
Furniture is made from durable Douglas fir, with some pieces on castors

This industrial materials palette continues through the living spaces, creating spaces that be easily adapted.

Furniture pieces are custom made from durable Douglas fir, with some mounted on castors for easy mobility. There's also a grey wool curtain that can be used to subdivide the ground floor space.

Bedroom in DU18 by Turner Works
The house contains seven bedrooms, with six on the upper level

Turner has previously worked on a variety of both housing buildings and workspaces for artists and designers. These include a barn conversion and extension project of his own and the Peckham Levels development.

This experience, plus the fact he previously designed David and Laura's home, made him the obvious choice for this project.

Bathroom in DU18 by Turner Works
There are four bathrooms in total

The architect is currently working on further additions to DUT18, including a children's play area made from repurposed components and a series of external sleeping pods.

There are also plans to install a wildflower meadow and a series of meditative walks, as part of a rewilding project by designer and environmentalists Julia Watson and Marie Salembier of Watson Salembier.

The 5-7 hectares of restored meadows will form part of the wider Glorious Costwolds Grasslands project to recreate the UK's largest expanse of wildflower-rich Jurassic limestone grassland, which will eventually cover an area of around 100 hectares.

Landscape surrounding DU18 by Turner Works
The house will soon be accompanied by outdoor sleeping pods

"I feel we are in a time of great revealing, where everything is being unearthed but there is no new story to replace it," added David.

"Workshops at the barn will hold a space to shape a new vision and be connected to others who are also looking for a new story and a better way. It's really a magical place to help create a better future."

Photography is by French + Tye.

Project credits:

Architect: Turner Works
Project team: Carl Turner, Robert Guest, Simon Cadle, Calvin Scherer
Client: David and Laura Johnston
Structural engineer: Ian Wright Associates
Main contractor: Mirus Construction (Adam Smith)

More images and plans

Ground floor plan of DU18 by Turner Works
Ground floor plan
First floor plan of DU18 by Turner Works
First floor plan
Roof plan of DU18 by Turner Works
Roof plan
Furniture designs in DU18 by Turner Works
Furniture designs
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
Bedroom in DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works
DU18 by Turner Works