barndo with shop

Building a Barndo with Shop: Considerations and Costs



As home construction concepts continue to evolve, structures like shipping containers and 3D-printed homes are garnering attention. However, one novel structure that is gaining popularity is the barndominium, which is a fully furnished living space combined with a workshop within a restored barn or barn-type metal building. Barndominiums are large in scale, with living areas that can reach up to 5,000 square feet. They are especially well-suited for acreage or larger pieces of land, such as farms, wineries, or weekend ranches. In this article, we will discuss the cost and considerations for building a barndominium with a shop.

What is a Barndominium with Shop?

A barndominium with shop is a barn or metal structure that has been restored or built to contain spacious living quarters along with a workspace, vehicle bay, or storage area under the same roof. They are also referred to as “shop houses” or “barndos” and are known for their unique style and functionality.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a Barndominium with Shop?

Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $130 per square foot to build a complete barndominium that is fully outfitted and ready to move into. The cost of a barndominium can vary widely because it depends on factors such as land ownership, availability of core services like electricity, water, and sewer, and the type of barndominium you plan to build or restore.

Building a barndominium from scratch can save on labor costs. Usually, at least half of the building cost goes towards the foundation and building shell. You can also save on the cost by purchasing pre-engineered barndominium shell kits. The cost of building a large barndominium (72 feet by 40 feet) can range from $153,000 to $182,000 for key elements including the building shell, foundation, interior structure, electrical, insulation, kitchen, doors, HVAC, flooring , plumbing under slab, drywall, inner structure, water treatment, bathrooms, plumbing materials, and lighting. It is important to note that the cost of building a barndominium will depend on the materials used and the level of finishes desired.

For many buyers, the low price point of the metal barndominium shell is a major draw. Sample metal building prices that are uninstalled can vary widely. For instance, a 30 feet by 50 feet by 14 feet metal building can cost around $26,000, while an 80 feet by 100 feet by 16 feet metal building can cost around $91,000.

Barndominium Considerations


Acquiring land is often part of building a barndominium since building in developed residential areas can be challenging due to zoning and permitting. The average value of farm real estate reached $3,380 per acre in 2021, according to the USDA. However, the cost of land may be less for a barndominium since the USDA estimate includes land that already has buildings. Location matters too, and you can expect costs to vary widely depending on the state. The bulk of the western United States is below the national average with a few states exceeding $12,000 per acre.


The site will require access from the public road, and you may need to build a road if there is no existing access. The cost of building an asphalt road can range from $70 to $170 per linear foot while the cost of a gravel road averages $14 to $25 per linear foot.

Zoning and Permits

Residential zoning may not always permit the building of large metal-structure barndominiums. The permit process for barndominiums is typically similar to that of residential construction, which includes submitting plans and paying for permits. Architectural plans need to include a floor plan, elevations, a basic electrical plan, and often a plumbing plan. You will also need a site or plat plan, and engineer drawings for metal buildings will be required.


Unless the site already has power, you’ll need to have the electric company bring wire at a price ranging from $25 to $50 per foot. For sites that are a half-mile back on the property, this can mean bills of $67,000 to $132,000 – just for the power. You may also need to install a septic tank and leach line, costing around $6,800 on average. If the property lacks a municipal water supply, you may need to dig a well, which can cost about $6,000 for a well dug about 100 feet deep.

Barndominiums: Blending Work and Living Space

Barndominium exteriors are often utilitarian and understated, with design emphasis placed on the interior instead. Work areas are spacious and customizable, with ranchers, farmers, and businesspeople reserving as much as one-third of the ground floor for vehicles and large equipment. Meanwhile, owners with non-commercial interests may need less of the barndominium devoted to work use. Living and work areas are always accessible through inner doors or hallways – without having to step outside, a bonus during inclement weather.

Barndominium Exteriors and Interiors

The barndominium’s exterior and interior design will depend on whether it is a restored barn or a metal building. Restored barns can have rustic-chic farmhouse features such as horse hitches, natural wood siding, industrial lights, and double-hung windows. Metal structures, on the other hand, are typically sturdy, non-combustible shells with no-frills exteriors that protect against natural elements like rain, snow, sun, and fire. Metal structures can be built large and high, with open interior space.

Barndominium Sizes

Barndominiums come in different sizes, with smaller ones measuring at 30 feet by 40 feet, which provide for a 1,200 square feet ground level space. Adding a second floor can bring the interior space to 2,000 square feet, allowing for two bedrooms, a small kitchen, a bathroom, and a floor-to-ceiling work bay of about 400 square feet. Large barndominiums measuring 60 feet by 70 feet can have up to 8,200 square feet of customizable space.


Building a barndominium with a shop can be a cost-effective and practical solution for those who want to combine living and working spaces under one roof. However, you need to carefully consider the costs and other factors before undertaking this project. With enough planning and effort, building a barndominium with a shop can provide your family or business with the space needed to operate successfully.

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