Guidelines for the exterior appearance of Yankee Barn Homes are presented in this post. They are suggestions based on what my husband and I found useful when building our own post and beam dream. I would have loved to have seen something such as this article when we were in the design process.
An image that often comes to mind when picturing the exterior setting for Yankee Barn Homes is something along these lines: a post and beam home sitting in a forest of evergreens on the side of a mountain. While this is certainly one way to go, it is by no means the only way, as there are numerous possibilities to consider when planning your timber frame home. While the intense planning phase may seem overwhelming at times, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few guidelines which might assist you in achieving the right look and feel to the exterior of your new post and beam home.
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Allow Your Site To Have Its Say. When considering the exterior appearance of your post and beam home, the choices seem endless, but take note as there is a powerful influence that often goes unheard in this process. Listen to what your build site has to tell you. Take cues from your site, such as its geographical location, light sources and topography. It’s likely you will need to make allowances for how the site will affect the structure anyway, so why fight it? Listen to what your site is telling you from the beginning and you’ll be ahead of the game. The bonus will be this: your dream home will look and function all the better for having done so.
Don’t Cut Down All Your Trees! Often one of the first things to happen when a site is being readied for a new house is the clearing of trees. This is obviously necessary to make room for the home and provide good light sources, but take care when doing so. Find a reputable land enhancement crew. Don’t hire your husband’s nephew because he’s great with a chain saw and is willing to do it in exchange for use of the wood. This is definitely one of those areas where you get what you pay for. Once those trees are down, there’s no replacing old growth for a long, long time. I strongly recommend hiring a company that specializes in site preparation and has at least one person on staff who is a certified arborist.
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The Structure’s Exterior Appearance
Be Aware of Window and Door Placement. While many of us spend time pouring over drawings of our floor plans, picturing where walls will be, how furniture will fit, the layout of the perfect work triangle for the kitchen; this thought process does not necessarily include how these things will affect the outside aesthetics of the home. Have you ever noticed a house with no windows on one entire side? Or a too small window that seems to “hang” in a vast sea of wall space? If so, then you’ve witnessed excellent examples of a home’s interior which dictated the aesthetics of the exterior (this was an area my husband and I spent substantial time considering in the planning/drawings phase and it paid off in dividends).
There may be circumstances under which a long windowless wall expanse or window/door placement has to occur in such a way as to make the exterior look off balance. The planning phase is the time to “fix” these situations by including an exterior alteration such as a trellised garden area, a stone walled terrace, an outdoor shower, or some other creative device that rounds out an awkward space and turns it into one of the “most loved” areas of your house.
Don’t Rush Into Color Choices. Contrary to what some might think, the entire color spectrum should NOT be up for consideration when painting/staining a house. The exterior color of a home speaks not only of the home itself but also of the people who occupy it. It is yet another way for the homeowner to put his/her personal stamp on a house. That being said, there has never been a pink and purple house (outside the Caribbean) that has looked anything other than embarrassed. Consider the neighbors: they are never happy when the full glare of your aquamarine hue bounces off the pool and into their bedroom window!
Be thoughtful and respectful when considering exterior colors. There is one designer who suggests you pick up a handful of soil from your yard and chose a color from its spectrum. It’s a thought, but there are less earthy, yet totally viable, options. Consider the style of your structure; i.e. Greek Revivals always look great painted white. The architecture of the surrounding area and magazine photos can also be helpful when choosing exterior color(s). You can be individualistic in your choice without returning to the “Psychedelic 60s”. It was not a tasteful decade; better we allow it to live large in our memory as opposed to on the exterior of our home.
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The Finer Details
Give The Deck/Porch A Great Body; Or At Least Great Legs! Maybe you’ve seen one of my personal favorites (not!); the deck or porch off the first or second floor of a home with spindly-looking four by four posts as its only means of support. They look like a tacked-on afterthought! Just because the deck is on the back or side of the house doesn’t mean its appearance shouldn’t matter. Go the extra distance and make the deck a real stunner. The only difference between a good looking deck or porch and a bad one is the time and effort taken to figure out how to make it work as an integrated part of the house; one which fluidly transitions interior living space to exterior areas and looks great doing so!
Search home/decor magazines and pictures online. You’ll quickly find a number of ideas for how to make your deck look fantastic! Here are some Yankee Barn Homes that went the extra mile and made their decks/porches become beautiful architectural features.
Invest In Good Landscaping: It Makes All The Difference. Here’s where you can do one of two things. Learn about plants and the environment in which they’ll thrive, or hire someone to do it for you. Do not throw a few shrubs around the foundation of your house and think you’ve completed the landscaping. While shrub-like evergreens can be a good starting point, you’ll need to supplement with additional plants of different heights, colors, and textures for your house to look wonderfully layered and complete.
Again, I refer to suggestions made in The Site section. Let your site assist in determining what will look good and grow well near and around your home. If you’re unsure, bring in someone who knows, even if you want to do the designing and planting yourself. They’ll guide you as to what will work best in your climate. Many garden centers have a complementary design service to assist you in planning your landscaping in return for purchasing the plants from them. This could be a great way to go if you have a green thumb but find an entire house site a bit overwhelming.
These are some of the more memorable recommendations I can make as a result of my own build experience. How about you? If you’ve thought of something I may have missed, please don’t hesitate to comment here, make a post on our Facebook page, or write a suggestion in an email to Yankee Barn Homes.