For barn style house or barn conversion, see Barn house.
A postcard photograph inside a Maison landaise
Kliese Housebarn in Emmet, Wisconsin, U.S.A. Built ca. 1850 for Friedrich Kliese, an immigrant from Silesia

A housebarn (also house-barn or house barn) is a building that is a combination of a house and a barn.[1][2]


There are several styles of housebarns. One style is a building where the barn portion shares a wall with the house portion.[3] Sometimes the house portion will extend into part of the loft on the second story of the barn portion.[3] Another style features the barn as the lower portion of the building and the house as the second floor[3] such as the Black Forest house And, similarly but for different reasons, some defensive house structures like the Bastle house and some tower houses combine animals on the ground floor and living quarters above.


Housebarns were built beginning in prehistoric times after people discovered that the body heat of animals helps to warm human living areas.[4] Living with livestock in the combined building also allowed people to be able to prevent thieves from stealing their animals.[1] Housebarns were developed in western Europe, Scandinavia, and the British Isles[5] and continued being built into the 19th century. The first three designs in the 1839 edition of An Encyclopædia of Cottage, Farm, and Villa Architecture and Furniture... were for combined living space for the farm family and their animals.[6] Immigrants to North America rarely built housebarns; they typically divided the barn and house functions into separate buildings[5] although part of New England in particular is known for its connected farms.

Advantages and disadvantages

Owners have stated that they find it convenient to not have to walk outside while feeding or watching a medical issue such as birth of animal young.[3] They often can hear the animal noises, which can be disruptive or helpful when an animal has problems.[3]

One American builder estimates that 5% of its buildings have an attached living area, some of which are small apartments.[3] They cite several concerns about building a housebarn. Since fewer people are interested in owning a living quarters attached to the house, housebarns have a more limited marketability.[3] This causes lending institutions to be less likely to grant a loan.[3] Bankers are less likely to accept housebarns as collateral.[3] Housebarns are more costly to insure since they are treated like barns, which have a higher risk of fire.[3] The house portion may get unwanted pests that are common in barns like mice, flies, and birds.[3]



A housebarn listed as a historic building in Schwarzenberg, Austria



Northern type of Estonian traditional farmhouse (Rehielamu põhjatüüp). 1. is the "kiln", 2 and 3 are living space, 4 is an entryway, 5 is the barn.

France and Catalan Countries

An unidentified type of barn house in the Basque country of southern France. See also Category:Farmhouses in the Northern Basque Country


Housebarns in Germany are generally called an einhaus (single-house or "all-in-one house"), eindachhof (one-roof-house) or wohnstallhaus (residential barn house).

The Middle German house group includes:

The Middle German houses have a floor plan transverse to the walls where the Low German houses are longitudinal floor plan, three aisled buildings (dreischiffige).

The Low German house group extends from the Netherlands to East Prussia and includes:

The Gulf house (Gulfhaus): Named for the storage area called a gulf. Its range extends across the North Sea coastal regions from West Flanders to Elbe-Weser Triangle. The Gulf house developed from the Old Frisian farmhouse.

The Geestharden house named for the geography of part of the region it is found, the geest, in Northern Germany, Denmark, and northern Netherlands. The Geestharden, Gulf house (including its variant, the Haubarg) and the Low German hall house are the three basic, historic farmhouse types in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Other house types in southern Germany include:

The Upper Lusatian house or Umgebinde is another barn-house type found in a region in part of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic, a wider range than the historical region of Upper Lusatia. This house is a transversely divided Middle German houses with unique construction features.

The Black Forest house group are found in southwest Germany in the black forest region and include:

Housebarns were common in the Schleswig-Holstein region of German in the 17th and 18th centuries.[7]



United Kingdom


Combined farmhouses and barns in a number of different styles can be found in several areas of the Netherlands.[9] A general list of farm types in the Dutch language is here

Hall-farmhouse group (hallenhuisboerderij) also known as the Low German house group:

Cross house group (dwarshuisgroep):

Northern house group (noordelijke huisgroep) also called the Frisian house group (Friese huisgroep):

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Architectural drawings from the Netherlands of farms.

United States

Housebarns are more prevalent in areas that were settled by German immigrants. There are twelve historic housebarns in the United States.[2] Many of these housebarns are listed on the National Register of Historic Places:


See also


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Housebarns.
  1. 1 2 3 "Wisconsin Barns:Stories". January 15, 2010. Wisconsin Channel/Wisconsin Public Television. WPNE-TV. Missing or empty |series= (help)
  2. 1 2 3 "Pelster Housebarn". Friends of the Pelster Housebarn. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Whittington, Kay. "Living with Horses - Literally!". Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  4. Enstad Rommelfanger, Karyl. "The Lutze Housebarn". Max Kade Institute for German-American Studies. Retrieved 16 January 2010.
  5. 1 2 Green, Thomas A. (1997). Folklore: an encyclopedia of beliefs, customs, tales, music, and art. ABC-CLIO. p. 43. ISBN 0-87436-986-X. The longhouse or housebarn tradition is deeply ingrained in the shared cultural heritage of western Europe, Scandinavia, and the British Isles.
  6. Loudon, J. C.. An encyclopædia of cottage, farm, and villa architecture and furniture; containing numerous designs for dwelling ... each design accompanied by analytical and critical remarks .... London: Longman, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longmans, 1839. Print.
  7. Ruggiero, Brenda (June–July 2009). "Special Delivery from Germany". German Life. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  8. 1 2 3 Noble, Allen George. Traditional buildings a global survey of structural forms and cultural functions. London: I.B. Tauris ;, 2007. 29-30. Print.
  9. Tourist Guide Netherlands. Watford: Michelin PLC. 1995. pp. 33–34. ISBN 2-06-157401-7.
  10. Lutze Housebarn
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