Discover how, with Woodhouse, you can design a timber frame vacation home now that can transform into your forever home later.


This North Carolina home was built as a mountain-modern getaway for family gatherings, but with universal design principles at play, would also be a stunning and safe home for aging in place.


Timber frame homes have captured the hearts of homeowners for centuries. Masterfully combining craftsmanship and nature, these beautiful abodes are much more than a place to live—they are an experience. And thanks to their timeless nature and design flexibility, they can be custom designed for both vacations today and full-time living tomorrow.


Vacation-to-Forever Home Floor Plans

Designing a getaway home that serves two purposes at different times requires careful consideration of several key components.  It must work as a vacation home, potentially accommodate renters (if this is part of your strategy), and support a smooth conversion into your dream retirement lifestyle—with safety and style.

Vacation homes should harmonize with their locales and make the most of a unique property’s attributes. This is why the character of coastal homes is different than that of mountainside ski chaletsLake homes are another breed altogether.  We can even translate elements from your favorite iconic resorts and destinations into your timber frame getaway.

While home styles and certain amenities may vary, there are some fundamentals that apply to any floor plan. For one, vacation homes need adequate storage for toys — skis, inflatables, sleds, wakeboards, surfboards, fishing poles, snowshoes, games, and more. Furthermore, dining spaces should comfortably accommodate the number of people who sleep in the home, if not more. Speaking of which, you’ll want to make sure there’s enough sleep space to host a crowd; bunk rooms and multiple primary suites make sense in both a vacation and forever home. Finally, the addition of bonus spaces, like game rooms, gyms and bunk rooms make for fun family gatherings—whether it’s a weekend getaway or you’re hosting the family holidays.



 The HemlockRun, a prime plan for a home that’s a vacation destination for now and a forever home in the future.


For a vacation home to function efficiently as a forever home, it’s critical to think ahead about what you will need to age in place and accommodate a changing lifestyle; this design approach, guided by accessibility for all, is called universal design. It’s smart and seamless to incorporate into your timber frame’s plan, as timber frames carry the weight of the home entirely in the exterior walls, so the interior can be configured and customized to your specific needs. This makes the timber frame building system and Woodhouse design process particularly suitable for elements that can adapt over time. For instance:

  • Strategically stacked storage closets can convert into an elevator shaft in a multiple-level home.
  • Wider traffic lanes, doorways, and great rooms with square footage that lets vacationers stretch out comfortably also accommodates those who use mobility assistance devices.
  • Flexible spaces, such as an office that becomes a media room or a guest room that becomes a hobby room, help a home adapt to its new, full-time role.
  • Multiple primary suites can make a home more comfortable for couples’ trips or family gatherings but also host a live-in caretaker one day.
  • Design that’s compliant with the American Disability Act, such as zero-step showers, can be an important consideration for many renters.

Some Woodhouse floor plans that are perfect for a vacation-to-retirement home include the  Whispering Pines V2, HemlockRun, and BirchRun. “Plans like this are compact and allow for aging in place and think about the possible need for caretakers that can live in when needed,” explains Woodhouse Architect Diana Allen.


Exterior, horizontal, south elevation from ski slope with skier in foreground, Schimel residence, Windham, New York; Woodhouse Post & Beam

Timber frame homes are simply a natural fit in spectacular vacation destinations.


Make a Smart Move

Building a vacation home that will eventually become your forever home is a ripe opportunity. Renting it out now can mean paying for your home in full before you move in. As a timber frame, your home will also likely be a hot commodity on the vacation rental market as people seek accommodations that are just as memorable and attractive as the destination. A timber frame is just the ticket.

There’s another bonus. Vacationing in your timber frame gives you a chance to begin integrating into your retirement locale. When you’re ready to move in full-time, you’ll have local knowledge and connections, making the transition to a new retirement lifestyle that much easier. At the point your getaway home adopts its new role, you’ll already feel like it’s a familiar friend.


Vacation Starts Here

The right itinerary helps you make the most of your vacation. If you’re ready to live the vacation life today and years from now, contact Woodhouse or your Woodhouse regional project manager to discuss where, what, and how that process can work for you. We can build anywhere in the U.S.  Finally, don’t miss our gallery page for real-life Woodhouse projects, ideas, and inspiration.