As the baby-boom generation progresses to the retirement-age generation, lifestyles in the United States are undergoing a dramatic shift. Exploring long-term-care options includes an age in place choice. Yankee Barn is at the forefront, designing homes which meet age in place needs.
Granite Ridge is a single story post and beam home built overlooking a lake in New Hampshire. To say this home has presence would be an understatement. Built on a granite ridge overlooking a lake, the house is sited between water and ledge.
The Perfect Equation
Granite Ridge was designed by Bob and Susan, both retired university engineering professors. Their background gave them a leg up on the design/build process. Also, having built a home in the past, they were not new to the experience. They came to their first meeting with Yankee Barn Homes with a definite design in mind. The build site was a beauty, both literally and figuratively. Bob graciously agreed to tell us their story.
From the Homeowner
“We designed this home as our retirement home. It sits about 80 feet above Eastman Lake on a lot that slopes steeply down to the lake. We had several design goals, but first among these was a house with all of the basic necessities for living on a single level. With three adult children, we also wanted adequate space so that each of them felt like they had a place in our home and enough space for all of them to come here together. One reason we picked Eastman was the community it provides, so we planned an open, spacious living, dining and kitchen area to enable entertaining. With the sloped lot, it seemed natural to use the lower level for the extra bedrooms and baths for our children or guests. With a fully walkout lower level and every bedroom having large windows looking out toward the lake, it does not feel like a basement.
Details of the Design
This is actually the second home we have designed. Almost 40 years ago we designed a house in Potsdam, NY, where we raised our three children and lived prior to moving here. The experience of designing and living in that house provided some valuable insights which we incorporated into this house. The Potsdam house was a more traditional design with a full, unfinished basement, living areas on the main floor, and bedrooms and baths upstairs. The main living area had a living room and a family room, but over time we realized that the living room was seldom used. So, in this house, we combined these into a single, large Great Room, with two seating areas. If the need arises, chairs can be added to either or both to expand the space. We also learned that when entertaining, the kitchen is often the focal point, and therefore the kitchen needs to be spacious enough to support having guests while also doing final food preparations. We have sufficient space around the counter that people standing or sitting at the counter do not block access within the kitchen. Our children and their spouses enjoy cooking together so the kitchen space comfortably supports two or three persons working at the same time.
In the long New Hampshire winters, sunlight is a precious resource. The house and the internal layout of rooms were specifically designed to take advantage of available sunlight. The north end of the house has few windows, and the laundry/mud room and garage are located there. The topography of the lot and its location relative to the lake were also factors in floor plan design. Because of the steep slope down to the lake, the house is a long structure stretched out along a granite ridge.
As a retirement home we made provisions for aging in place. The doors and spaces were all designed to accommodate mobility assistive devices that might be needed in the future; in the master bathroom there are multiple grab bars and a curbless shower with a bench.
Working With Yankee Barn Homes
We began this process with a meeting at YBH in which we saw the details of their manufacturing process and the various components used in their house construction. Given our past experience, one of our first questions was could we provide YBH with our desired floor plan while they did the structural design. We found the process of working with their design staff to be a very cooperative endeavor. We did multiple iterations with excellent feedback and suggestions from the YBH designer. We were able to exchange emails of plans and comments so that we kept the number of trips to their offices to a minimum.”