A model home, intended to inspire prospective buyers, was so perfectly designed and constructed that a New Hampshire man snatched it up — but not until he looked at 72 other houses first.
To shield the windows of this 1,830-square-foot house, shed dormers were selected over peaked gables. Jeffrey believes shed dormers allow the scale of the house to feel smaller and more cottage-like. The illuminated cupola that tops the garage is purely decorative, contributing to the distinct Yankee Barn Homes look. “I call it a ‘beacon,’” Jeffrey says with a smile.
Photos: Courtesy Yankee Barn Homes
It’s not unusual for timber home companies to design and build model homes. After all, walking through a three-dimensional structure gives buyers a better idea of how a design will function and flow than simply looking at a floor plan ever could. Plus, they get a peek at the level of craftsmanship they can expect.
Models are intended to inspire buyers so that they can plan their own homes, but there are those rare times when buyers don’t find inspiration. They don’t want to build one like it, they want THAT one — the one they’re standing in. Such was the case with this picture-perfect Yankee Barn home and a lucky buyer named Keith.
As it turns out, Yankee Barn Homes designed and built this house with a little head start of its own. The company was looking for land near their Grantham, New Hampshire-based headquarters when they learned of this property, which originally contained another house that was lost to a fire. The foundation, however, was intact, so when the company’s design team set out to craft the floor plan — deemed the “Eastman House” — they created it expressly to fit that footprint.
“Because the foundation was pre-existing, all the site work was done, and all the approvals were in place. That cut off a good six months in terms of our build period,” says Jeffrey Rosen, Yankee Barn Homes’ co-owner and creative director. “Design-wise, I wanted to create a home that felt barn-like, but was contemporary in terms of an open-concept plan. I call it a ‘little-big house’ because it appears really small when you drive up to it, but it unfolds once you walk inside.”
One step over the threshold and you can see exactly what Jeffrey is talking about. The foyer immediately opens to the great room, which is spectacular, thanks to its Douglas fir post-and-beam frame. To the immediate right, the staircase is smartly tucked against the wall so it doesn’t eat into the 1,830-square-foot home’s living area. To the left, a modern take on a farmhouse kitchen, with its semi-custom Crown Point cabinetry, satin-finish Vermont soapstone counters and hand-glazed subway tiles, greets guests.
But despite the elegant fittings and fixtures that give this home so much charm, it’s the solarium-style window bank and skylights in the lounging area that give the interior its “WOW” factor. “New Hampshire is such a cold climate, we wanted this space to feel warm and bright all year round. The winter days are really short here; there’s something nice about the inside-out feel of this room,” Jeffrey explains. To prevent the cold New England temps from penetrating the interiors, highly insulated Marvin Thermopane windows were specified.
Quality windows aren’t the only things keeping this cottage warm in the winter. A radiant in-floor heating system was embedded in the existing foundation and wasn’t destroyed by the fire. The Yankee Barn Homes crew was able to repurpose it for the Eastman, and the entire home is heated by this system. There was no need for forced-air HVAC unit. It doesn’t even have a fireplace.
Also contributing to the home’s warmth is the company’s proprietary insulated panel system, which encloses the frame, making it weather tight and extremely energy efficient. For the exterior façade, they chose flat-board cladding, while the entry alcove is covered in cedar shakes left over from another project, creating a low-cost focal point that draws visitors toward the front door. “The cedar treatment makes the entryway say, ‘Hello!’” says Jeffrey.
Each of these elements, from the solid construction to the timeless finishing materials, are what compelled Keith to purchase the model, rather than use it as a template to build a copy from scratch. He looked at 72 houses before walking through the Eastman’s front door. In an instant, his search was over.
As with any home that’s bought post-construction, there are a few things Keith would have done differently, but not many. In fact, he says, “This is the first and only home I have not had to completely repaint to fit my personal color palette. The designer/builder has impeccable taste.”
Square footage: 1,830Builder/Designer/Timber Provider: Yankee Barn Homes