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Wide-Open Spaces at This Timber Frame Retreat

One family builds a relaxing New York timber frame retreat with plenty of room to spare.

Photography by Scott Hemenway


When you live amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City, it’s natural to want to get away from it all every once in a while. If you’re Rob and Melissa Lewin, that getaway comes in the form of a picturesque timber home retreat nestled into the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York.

“We wanted a place that would contrast with where we live every day,” explains Rob. “Our brownstone in Brooklyn is unique and historic, but it can feel dark and dreary. In this home, we wanted spacious, bright and casual, but still refined.”

To achieve the open feeling they desired, the Lewins worked with the team at New Energy Works that has offices in Farmington, New York, and Portland, Oregon. “We live more than 100 miles away from the site and had never built a house before, so it was important for us to work with a single designer and builder who could handle the entire process for us,” Rob says.

The finished 5,000-square-foot timber frame home has five bedrooms, four and half baths and enough living space to comfortably accommodate 10 to 12 people, per the Lewins’ request. “Like a lot of our clients, they wanted something that was livable for large groups, but would also feel intimate when it’s just their family,” explains Ty Allen, an architect at New Energy Works. 

Noteworthy elements of the design include two separate living areas (one on the main level; one on the lower level), two full primary suites, a bunk room and plenty of outdoor living spaces, including a lower-level walkout patio, an elevated covered deck off the great room and a private screened-in porch off the dining room. Well-placed windows deliver breathtaking views of Cayuga Lake and Cornell University, Rob and Melissa’s alma mater.

“The drive to the house is almost four hours, but we use it all the time,” says Rob. “It’s introducing our children to lots of things that they would have never done in the city. They’re taking horse-riding lessons, learning to ice skate and, when it snows, we have a big sledding hill for them to enjoy. It’s been a great way for them to see that the world is a big, beautiful place — just like our new home.”


Home Details

Square footage: 5,000

Bedrooms: 5

Bathrooms: 4 full, 1 half

Builder; designer; timber provider: New Energy Works


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