Everything is Illuminated
One New York couple sets out to build their second timber-frame home, and creates a modern, light-filled masterpiece.
One New York couple sets out to build their second timber-frame home, and creates a modern, lightfilled masterpiece.
When the inspiration for a home design comes from a Japanese Bento box, you know you have something special on your hands.
“There are no walls to the ceilings except for in the master bedroom and powder room, for privacy purposes,” says David Youst of his timber retreat that he shares with his wife Faye in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. “The whole house is open and light — more clean. That was the mission.”
A mission that was years in the making, as David and his wife Faye had
already lived in a timber-frame home before deciding to build this one. In fact, they designed and built their new home with the same company that they first worked with back in the early 90s — Woodhouse of Mansfield, Pennsylvania.
“I met with the Yousts on their site, just a couple miles away from their original house, on the same side of Seneca Lake,” says Pat Seaman, president and owner at Woodhouse. “We went back and forth, working closely with our inhouse architect, and designed a really cool contemporary home. They didn’t want anything rustic; they wanted something bright and light.”
The couple’s desire to bring light into the space was quite literal, adds Seaman. “The way the sun moves over the property and how the light was captured was very important to them. They’re both artists, and they’ll show you how the light and shadows move and change as they work their way across the ceiling of the house and through the timber beams.”
To create this interior effect, the Yousts found inspiration in an unlikely place — a trailer that had sat on their
previous property for years. “It actually worked perfectly,” says Faye with a laugh. “The long, stretched-out structure allowed you to see through the trailer all the way to the lake and take in the amazing views from every spot.”
That simple structure led to the Yousts two-story, wide-open horizontal plan with a walk-out lower level — all with views of Seneca Lake. Although the 3,320-square-foot house only has two bedrooms, it features a main-level master suite and a downstairs music room that doubles as a guest space when visitors come to stay.
The home’s lightly pickled tongueand-groove ceilings, tile floors and pine timbers keep the space airy and bright — just like the Yousts hoped for. “Over the 25 years in our first house, the wood tended to get darker and darker,” says David. “When we first started working with our architect on this design, we thought ‘Does it have to look like a lodge? Can we build without all that dark wood and braces for a more modern, contemporary feel?’ Turns out, we absolutely could — and we did.”