The ground floor of the building was seriously damaged and has been deemed structurally unsound, police said.
Eyewitness Steve Graham, chairman of Fairlie Community Council, said: "I walked up and had a look. There was a lorry deeply embedded into the corner of an old Victorian sandstone building. It is a coal lorry which for whatever reason has lost control and has ploughed into the house across the road."
He added: "This was an accident waiting to happen. There have been a number of near misses but nothing on this scale. It is a very narrow road with premises adjacent to the road. We in the community council have been complaining about the weight of traffic coming through the A78 which it's not built for. It would not meet current standards for a trunk road."
Strathclyde Fire and Rescue said large numbers of fire, police and ambulance personnel attended the incident, with resources drafted from across the west of Scotland, including Strathclyde Fire & Rescue firefighters from its Urban Search and Rescue team (USAR). Two Major Incident Support Units (MSU) from Clydebank and Kilmarnock, and the Scottish Ambulance Service's Special Operations Response Team (SORT), also attended.
The A78 was closed in both directions between the north of Fairlie and Hunterston and local diversions were put in place.