It’s no secret that barns are having a moment. But more than just a trendy passing fad, barn-style homes make sense for the long run, thanks to wide-open, accessible plans and timeless aesthetic appeal.
In fact, it was this combination of qualities that led Ken Zahler and his wife to build their barn-inspired timber home on the north fork of the Long Island Sound. “We’ve built four homes and one of our previous houses was a barn design with timber accents,” says Ken. “We decided, for the next one, to look into companies that did authentic post-and-beam construction. Yankee Barn Homes was a perfect fit.”
In addition to the charm of their designs, Ken was impressed with Yankee Barn’s quality of construction. “We were very interested in the panelized construction method,” he says. “We built this house right on the water and, in the winter, it’s an area where the majority of homeowners leave for warmer weather. We live here year-round, so we wanted it to be comfortable no matter the season.”
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In addition to the inherent “tight” qualities of a true timber frame, the homeowners were drawn to a barn-style home for a number of reasons. “They were definitely attracted to the barn silhouette,” says Jeffrey Rosen, creative director and co-owner of Yankee Barn Homes in Grantham, New Hampshire, adding that the volume of interior spaces in a barn home is key. “The homeowners loved the quirky interior space with big, high ceilings, and the timber really balances that all out. You can go into a two-story with no timber and it could feel cold, but the timber really brings everything back down to scale.”
With the help of Yankee Barn’s design team, Ken started from scratch and came up with the customized 3,845-square-foot original plan that includes three upstairs bedrooms (with the option to add two more), five bathrooms and, most importantly, a main-level master suite. “The main thing we kept in mind was that the homeowners are empty nesters,” explains Rosen, “so the house really lives like a one-story home. The second floor can be completely sectioned off after their company has gone home.”
“The house is laid out in such a way, that the first floor includes the master suite and the second floor includes the rooms for guests,” says Ken. “Every bedroom has an ensuite bath and the room directly above the master suite is actually a sitting room, so there’s virtually no noise overhead when we’re trying to sleep downstairs.”
Even with the smart layout, though, the biggest showstopper is the overall aesthetic of the house. “The barn doors at the front that look through the house and out to the sound — it’s such a beautiful place,” says Ken. “It’s the perfect combination of traditional and modern.”
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And Rosen agrees. “The front elevation with the cupolas and the L-shaped plan and the entryway — it’s all really beautiful and unique. A lot of people don’t realize that a barn structure can look like a barn, but it also could look like another type of house. Regardless, it will be nostalgic and romantic and soothing — almost like you’re stepping back in time, but with modern amenities. It really is the best of both worlds.”
TIMBER FRAME DETAILS:
Square footage: 3,845
Architect; timber provider: Yankee Barn Homes, 800-258-9786
Tour the Long Island Barn-Style Timber Frame of Our Dreams
Reclaimed brick floors in a herringbone pattern strike a rustic note in the kitchen. Neutral cabinets and countertops add to the home’s
The home’s oak wood floors, showcased here in the great room, are not dimensional lumber, but engineered. “The engineered lumber is more stable for conducting the radiant heat that we installed beneath the floors,” Ken explains.
The home’s double-sided, see-through fireplace is faced with the same reclaimed brick that’s found in the entryway and kitchen. Unique light fixtures bring a modern, artistic flair to the home’s interior living spaces.
It’s such a beautiful place. It’s the perfect combination of traditional and modern.” – homeowner, Ken Zahler
"All of the shutters were custom made within a quarter of an inch of the windows, so they’re a perfect fit,” says Ken.
Sliding doors and shutters (an authentic barn feature) were installed in many of the doorways and windows on the second floor
Ken crafted the 8-foot-long American flag from driftwood he found on the beach