The Barn Yard Is Raising Customized Post and Beam Barns

Its cutting-edge timber frame builds are cropping up all over the country — including here in Maine.

exterior of custom post and beam home by The Barn Yard
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When JoAnn Lapoint became a grandmother, she decided to make good on her long-held desire for a guest house on her seven-acre riverside property in Kennebunk — for visiting family and to potentially rent out as an Airbnb. Her research led her to The Barn Yard, a company that builds custom post and beam structures. She viewed their catalog, chose a model, and customized it to transform it from a carriage barn to a living space.

The Barn Yard president Everett Skinner IV says the company expanded into the post and beam space from stick-frame construction about a decade ago. This time honored form of building relies on wood-to-wood joinery without the use of metal brackets. After completing a couple projects using traditional hand-cut methods, they invested in the latest computerized manufacturing equipment, cutting production time for a single barn from months to days. “We set up what’s now one of the most state-of-the-art timber framing facilities in the country,” Skinner says.

The Barn Yard invited Lapoint to its shop in Ellington, Connecticut, to watch the components of her barn house being cut. “Timber framing is traditionally a community event,” Skinner says. “This is our way of letting our customers be a part of the fun.” Lapoint was impressed with the end-to-end system that provided her with wood chips cut from the beams of her barn to be used as kindling. When the crew arrived in Kennebunk for the build, Lapoint’s father watched from her living room with binoculars. “It was so fun,” Lapoint says. “And they were as professional as can be.”

Lapoint worked with local contractors to finish the barn, allowing for independent living spaces on each of its two floors, to benefit smaller groups of renters. Outside, a stone patio and firepit are surrounded by plantings for privacy. Lapoint debated staining the full interior, before deciding the raw wood best enhanced the building’s use of wood connections. Instead, she stained select posts within the living space to complement the barn’s rustic and timeless feel.

Lapoint thrifted much of the home’s décor, with a desire to further accentuate the post and beam construction. “I wanted to avoid decorating it too coastal, which is most of what you see in the area,” she says. She chose a sliding door outfitted with a porthole for the custom bunk room for seven. The house’s focal point is a stone fireplace with a large, salvaged mantel that Lapoint had in storage for 10 years.

The Barn Yard builds its barns, garages, and other structures throughout New England and ships timber frame kits across the country — and many now find a purpose similar to Lapoint’s. “It’s funny that the main use for a barn nowadays is not parking vehicles,” Skinner says. “The more common uses are having a family event space or an Airbnb.” For Lapoint, the hope is that renters — who can search for “Deer Cove Barn” on Airbnb or VRBO to book a stay — will appreciate the level of workmanship that went into the dwelling. Says Skinner, “We’re blending the old-time craft with a lot of modern technology.”

Browse The Barn Yard’s catalog of post and beam kits at 120 West Rd., Ellington, CT. 1-800-628-BARN.