Photo by Damian Russell, via .


Ochre Barn is a multi purpose development that houses a retreat, studio space and a private residence for Carl Turner, principal of London based studio , and his partner Mary Martin. Despite it’s rural setting at Norfolk in England (see previous project in the same area I blogged about before), let me tell ya there is nothing remotely “agricultural” about these buildings. No sir!

Admittedly, this project caught my eye a couple of weeks ago, however I wasn’t really sure whether to post about it or not. Why? Because of the abundant use of the ever so controversial Oriented Strand Board (OSB) all over the interior, and I simply didn’t know how I felt about it. So I decided to sleep on it for a few days and… here we are! I’ve managed to make peace with it and, even more so, actually start liking it.



The OSB is intended to be reminiscent of the straw bales that fill many adjacent barns in the Norfolk area. And even if we put this “romantic” conceptual idea aside, I like the way the OSB elements are executed – pure and crisp forms sit quite comfortably with polished concrete floors, exposed brick, black pre-finished plywood boards, high ceilings lined in white plaster etc. Everything does get a bit more intense in certain parts where OSB “attacks” – every wall, floor and ceiling surface inside the residential barn extension (Stealth Barn) is lined with it – but somehow this still works for me. There is something right in it’s wrogness and deliberate overuse – it creates an immersive interior landscape which doesn’t feel too precious or takes itself to seriously.

Besides, isn’t it great to see a project which breaks the established rules and commits wholeheartedly to a material others are so fearful of? These kinds of examples are exactly what pushes other architects and designers forward, and helps generate new and exciting ideas for all of us to build on.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this… Anyone?

See more projects on Yellowtrace with OSB joinery/ interiors.


Photo by Tim Crocker and Jeremy Phillips, via .

Photo by Tim Crocker and Jeremy Phillips, via .

[Unless otherwise noted, all images via . Photos by Christoffer Rudquist.]

About The Author

Dana Tomić Hughes
Founder & Editor

Dana is an award-winning interior designer living in Sydney, Australia. With an unhealthy passion for design, Dana commits to an abnormal amount of daily design research. Regular travel and attendance at premier design events, enables Dana to stay at the forefront of the design world globally. While she is super serious about design, Dana never takes herself - nor design - too seriously. Together with her life and business partner, Dana is Boss Lady at Studio Yellowtrace, specialising in Design Strategy, Creative Direction and Special Projects. The studio takes a highly conceptual and holistic approach to translating brands & ideas into places & experiences.

16 Responses

  1. Avatar

    To me it feels like one of those spaces where an architect has designed the interior, when he really should have have employed an interior designer. I don’t have a problem in refined minimalism, but it’s like he’s sucked the life force out of the place. I mean, c’mon, look at the shot of them having dinner, it’s like some sort of Amish wake. Does any one actually live here? The only shot that remotely feels like there’s any energy in the place is the second one where there’s some framed prints & photos on a sideboard. For me, having to liveg here would feel like a prison sentence. Meh!

    • Avatar

      haha! ‘amish wake’. I like a lot of it but its visually too homogenised. Too much of the same thing to look at…bit boring. I love the moveable bed pod the best. The black exterior part is nice though.

  2. Avatar
    Kathy Joyce

    I really like how the OSB has been used in this space. A lot of it, however it works, although not sure I could live with it?

    I am starting to use OSB in smaller pieces of joinery eg bathrooms with pops of grass green. The green compliments the material well.

  3. Avatar
    allison barclay

    hmmm, well there is a part of me that really likes the whole concept, but I think I’m going to sleep on it… thanks for sharing…

  4. Avatar

    Wow, it’s certainly a striking project ad look at the emotion it evokes… Like art architecture is subjective and well done for posting something that pushes people’s boundaries and challenges traditional concepts. At first my thought was “oh my you wouldn’t want to get it wet as it would swell and look terrible” however then it’s in the bathroom and someone commented about use in wet areas. It must be more environmental than traditional timbers being made of recyclable materials? And therefore should be promoted as a viable building material! Greening it up!! It’s pretty cool!

  5. Avatar

    I’d be interested also to find out if it is infact a “green” product. When you think about what holds together all of the recycled material to make a board may be some sort of resin or glue, perhaps it is not as environmetally friendly as it looks. Might be high in VOC’s and emit toxic gasses?
    Having said that, there are elements of this design that I like…

  6. Avatar

    Usually, particle board is quite toxic, though there might be some non-toxic varieties out there. That would be the main reason for me to stay away from it. I don’t mind the look, but here there is just a bit too much of it. Perhaps if the floor were polished concrete or something else for balance. I quite like the exterior, though.

  7. Avatar

    I think if I lived in this building, all that “speckledness” (hope thats a word) of the OSB would probably eventually grow on me.

    I do like how using such a raw honest material actually liberates you from the perfectionism of the usual clean white walls. You really feel free to live here without being too precious.

    It’s like one big cubby-house- but in a good way- no fuss, and only the minimum of walls and fixtures needed to live.

    Haha- yes abit Amish! But I get the intent. So I do like it.

  8. Avatar
    Architecture in Costa Rica

    Thanks for your marvelous posting and great pictures! I really enjoyed reading it. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great job!

    Our Company in Costa Rica works to promote sustainable and efficient architecture.

    Congratulations for this good post.

  9. Fonda LaShay » Ochre Barn

    […] Ochre Barn by Carl Turner Architects | Norfolk, England. /* (function($) { $(function() { if (!$('#fb-root').size()) { $('body').append(''); (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); = id; js.src = "//"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', '-jssdk')); } }); $.post(';, { action: 'fbc_ping', post_id: '20833', nonce: 'f29f7f498d' }); })(jQuery); […]

  10. Avatar

    would have liked to have seen a floor plan.
    The inside material is what we call “particle board” in the US. I have a very hard time accepting it as finished furniture. Sorry, but I cannot abide anything HARD and that is rough enough to snag clothing fabric. Seeing it used as a wall is not such a problem, however, a bit more variety inside the whole house would have been nice.

    The outside of one building looks like it is ‘charred wood’. Also note another build uses used bricks. Many barns in the US are painted red, and weather to a more somber, less flashy red. Perhaps a chalk based red (?) Not sure of terms.

    Could see this red used as transition from dark of charred wood to red/brown/orange of bricks.

    I’m not a builder at all, so I have no idea if the struts and cables on the inside are easy to build, or cheap. Any help?

    Love the large multi purpose tables, however– benches are made for churches, not homes. Like the idea of a Parsons chair. What are tables made of? How are they finished ?

    I will say that the use of particle board did really show creativity of what can be done with it. As a series of projects you should come up with items that can be made with one or two sheets. Connectors should be very simple- glue- nails- or brackets. Use as much of sheet and have a purpose for any left overs- lamps, book shelves, litter box holder, or raised garden holder for outside. ( along side the deck area.)


  11. Avatar

    The question everyone should be asking…how did they detail the roof such that the wood boards completely wrap the exterior without penetrating the roof and potentially creating potential leaks? How do they deal with water run-off? Where are the gutters? Any insight on how these details were dealt with?

  12. Avatar

    If you can dump all the baggage associated with OSB, it’s really quite pretty. I’ve caught enough clothing and skin on the edges (and even the middle) of it that i’m suspicious of it’s use use for furniture. The versions that don’t outgass much would be best. What would really be cool is a bendable version that didn’t result in the edges of the chips poking out.


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