25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern

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By Luke Hopping / Published by Dwell
We've selected 25 great photos of modern homes with exposed beams.

Exposing beams of wood, metal, and cement can reveal extraordinary architectural details. One of our favorites is Harry Gesner’s house for John Scantlin (1965), in which the structure of the single-ridge beam is highlighted, while its lateral rib-like beams rise up and out toward the view. 

From rustic pine beams to massive metal spans, we think exposed beam ceilings add drama and reveal architecture that's sometimes too easily overlooked from the interior of a home. Exposed beams and a cantilevered loft soar over one of the homes below—how's that for drama? 

Uncovering the original concrete surfacing of the columns, which are unusually thick—thanks to the building’s original industrial function—was a major undertaking. Covered in successive layers of white paint, a team worked for over a week to expose the concrete, revealing the space’s gritty character.

Take a look at 25 of our favorite examples of this architectural feature.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 1 of 25 - The open living-and-bedroom area of Ian Hague’s rural retreat can be divided by a wall that rises from within the master-suite platform. Interior designer Elaine Santos blended her client’s collection of vintage furniture with no-fuss pieces like a Shaker-style bench by Ilse Crawford for De La Espada.

The open living-and-bedroom area of Ian Hague’s rural retreat can be divided by a wall that rises from within the master-suite platform. Interior designer Elaine Santos blended her client’s collection of vintage furniture with no-fuss pieces like a Shaker-style bench by Ilse Crawford for De La Espada.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 2 of 25 - "The inside is, for the most part, concentrated on the local craftsmanship, because I believe it is very important," Vanotti says. "It represents our history." Artisan Vanotti Mauro built many parts of the building, including its most prominent feature: the larch wood accents. A custom fireplace warms the living room.

"The inside is, for the most part, concentrated on the local craftsmanship, because I believe it is very important," Vanotti says. "It represents our history." Artisan Vanotti Mauro built many parts of the building, including its most prominent feature: the larch wood accents. A custom fireplace warms the living room.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 3 of 25 - A custom Stickbulb LED lamp hangs above a kitchen island topped by concrete from Get Real Surfaces. The beams are stained with LifeTime from Valhalla Wood Preservatives, which will oxidize the material over time.

A custom Stickbulb LED lamp hangs above a kitchen island topped by concrete from Get Real Surfaces. The beams are stained with LifeTime from Valhalla Wood Preservatives, which will oxidize the material over time.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 4 of 25 - In Nani Marquina's serene home in Ibiza, Jamaica barstools by Pepe Cortès for Knoll and two Ikea pendants pair nicely with the plaster walls, restored wooden beam ceilings, and polished cement floors in the kitchen.

In Nani Marquina's serene home in Ibiza, Jamaica barstools by Pepe Cortès for Knoll and two Ikea pendants pair nicely with the plaster walls, restored wooden beam ceilings, and polished cement floors in the kitchen.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 5 of 25 - The inverted trusses subtly establish distinct spaces in the great room, with the bottom edges lending an intimate feel to the living area. A simple rice-paper lamp shade hangs above a kauri wood tabletop that the couple borrowed from Stock’s aunt and uncle and set on a set of Taurus legs from Nils Holger Moormann. A Brit Longue chair by Sintesi isat is at the right.

The inverted trusses subtly establish distinct spaces in the great room, with the bottom edges lending an intimate feel to the living area. A simple rice-paper lamp shade hangs above a kauri wood tabletop that the couple borrowed from Stock’s aunt and uncle and set on a set of Taurus legs from Nils Holger Moormann. A Brit Longue chair by Sintesi isat is at the right.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 6 of 25 - The exposed wooden rafters and grid of windows in the living room are original to the house.

The exposed wooden rafters and grid of windows in the living room are original to the house.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 7 of 25 - The second-story, basically a catwalk that threads between the large, exposed trusses, is mostly residual space used for storage.

The second-story, basically a catwalk that threads between the large, exposed trusses, is mostly residual space used for storage.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 8 of 25 - In lieu of a fireplace, the pair opted for an exposed ethanol burner mounted on exposed concrete (the wood is just decor).

In lieu of a fireplace, the pair opted for an exposed ethanol burner mounted on exposed concrete (the wood is just decor).

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 9 of 25 - Reclaimed oak beams dominate the upstairs lounge, which leads to the guest bedroom.

Reclaimed oak beams dominate the upstairs lounge, which leads to the guest bedroom.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 10 of 25 - In the new 2,770-square-foot apartment, original I-beams brace the structure at dramatic angles and collide overhead, and the raw concrete is tempered by blackened steel, white-oak flooring, and bush-hammered Carrara marble—all selected by Willis.

In the new 2,770-square-foot apartment, original I-beams brace the structure at dramatic angles and collide overhead, and the raw concrete is tempered by blackened steel, white-oak flooring, and bush-hammered Carrara marble—all selected by Willis.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 11 of 25 - Stained white oak spreads across the living room under Douglas fir beams. At the far end of the room, a Jonathan Adler lamp stands next to an original limestone fireplace that was restored.

Stained white oak spreads across the living room under Douglas fir beams. At the far end of the room, a Jonathan Adler lamp stands next to an original limestone fireplace that was restored.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 12 of 25 - The Suarezes opted for a cozy bedroom with beautiful details—both old and new—including lustrous mahogany behind the bed and Baker tables beside it. The long beam overhead replaced the original, but the smaller beams above it are authentic.

The Suarezes opted for a cozy bedroom with beautiful details—both old and new—including lustrous mahogany behind the bed and Baker tables beside it. The long beam overhead replaced the original, but the smaller beams above it are authentic.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 13 of 25 - New York–based architect Andrew Franz undertook the renovation of a landmark circa-1884 former soap warehouse in Tribeca, originally designed by George W. DaCunha in the Romanesque Revival style. Franz reorganized and modernized the six-story building—which retains its original 16-foot beam ceilings, brick walls, timber columns, and elevator winches from the former freight shaft—by incorporating steel, glass, handmade tile, and lacquer to complement the masonry and heavy timber. An interior courtyard and rectangular mezzanine are situated below the original 16-foot gull-wing ceiling planes.

New York–based architect Andrew Franz undertook the renovation of a landmark circa-1884 former soap warehouse in Tribeca, originally designed by George W. DaCunha in the Romanesque Revival style. Franz reorganized and modernized the six-story building—which retains its original 16-foot beam ceilings, brick walls, timber columns, and elevator winches from the former freight shaft—by incorporating steel, glass, handmade tile, and lacquer to complement the masonry and heavy timber. An interior courtyard and rectangular mezzanine are situated below the original 16-foot gull-wing ceiling planes.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 14 of 25 - "A high-performance, heavily tinted glass was used within the skylights’ double-glazed units to reduce summer heat," Simpson says. Autex Industries provided the insulation for the year’s cooler months, and the addition of a second, more geometric ceiling hides modern-day electrical and mechanical cords.

"A high-performance, heavily tinted glass was used within the skylights’ double-glazed units to reduce summer heat," Simpson says. Autex Industries provided the insulation for the year’s cooler months, and the addition of a second, more geometric ceiling hides modern-day electrical and mechanical cords.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 15 of 25 - "We didn't want to diminish the openness and height and feeling of a great expanse of space," said the owner of this resurrected 19th-century barn house in Pine Plains, New York. Fortunately, the barn frame's horizontal beams perform a domestic function by creating the illusion of a lower ceiling. An abundance of furnishings in rich materials fills out the space. 

"We didn't want to diminish the openness and height and feeling of a great expanse of space," said the owner of this resurrected 19th-century barn house in Pine Plains, New York. Fortunately, the barn frame's horizontal beams perform a domestic function by creating the illusion of a lower ceiling. An abundance of furnishings in rich materials fills out the space. 

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 16 of 25 - The living and kitchen areas were reconfigured to seamlessly join a terrace surfaced with artificial turf and Nature Teka decking by Disegna. The beam was coated in a shade of turquoise paint that matches the Acapulco chairs.

The living and kitchen areas were reconfigured to seamlessly join a terrace surfaced with artificial turf and Nature Teka decking by Disegna. The beam was coated in a shade of turquoise paint that matches the Acapulco chairs.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 17 of 25 - "At first, we thought we might not need that much space, but then we started thinking long term. We look at this house as the home of our lifetime." —Guido Chiavelli

"At first, we thought we might not need that much space, but then we started thinking long term. We look at this house as the home of our lifetime." —Guido Chiavelli

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 18 of 25 - The master bedroom includes an armoire by Kastella and a chandelier by Lambert & Fils. A portion of the ceiling was pared back to expose the underside of the original roof.

The master bedroom includes an armoire by Kastella and a chandelier by Lambert & Fils. A portion of the ceiling was pared back to expose the underside of the original roof.


25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 19 of 25 - In Harry Gesner’s house for John Scantlin (1965), the structure of the single-ridge beam is highlighted, while its lateral rib-like beams rise up and out toward the view. 

In Harry Gesner’s house for John Scantlin (1965), the structure of the single-ridge beam is highlighted, while its lateral rib-like beams rise up and out toward the view. 

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 20 of 25 - A massive pine beam defines the master bathroom.

A massive pine beam defines the master bathroom.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 21 of 25 - Angled beams are a fixture of the structure, both inside and out. The beams "are an expression of the design, so they’re reinforcing view lines," Winkelman says, "but they’re also weaving together the different axes of the site."

Angled beams are a fixture of the structure, both inside and out. The beams "are an expression of the design, so they’re reinforcing view lines," Winkelman says, "but they’re also weaving together the different axes of the site."

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 22 of 25 - The travertine floor for the guest bedroom came from a De La Espada showroom in Soho. When moving stores, the owners were considering throwing out their travertine floor, but Dealtry offered to install it in his home. Along with exposed ceiling beams, the tiles provide a sense of texture and warmth to the space. 

The travertine floor for the guest bedroom came from a De La Espada showroom in Soho. When moving stores, the owners were considering throwing out their travertine floor, but Dealtry offered to install it in his home. Along with exposed ceiling beams, the tiles provide a sense of texture and warmth to the space. 

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25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 24 of 25 - Inside, cedar beams add warmth while polished concrete floors provide easy passage for Matthew’s wheelchair. Other universal-design features include drop-down mechanisms for the kitchen counters and cooktop from Freedom Lift Systems.

Inside, cedar beams add warmth while polished concrete floors provide easy passage for Matthew’s wheelchair. Other universal-design features include drop-down mechanisms for the kitchen counters and cooktop from Freedom Lift Systems.

25 Homes With Exposed Beams: Rustic to Modern - Photo 25 of 25 - A very steep and narrow flight of stairs leads to one of the best parts of the room at the Dylan in Amsterdam: a big bathroom tucked into the attic that has original wooden beams arching overhead.

A very steep and narrow flight of stairs leads to one of the best parts of the room at the Dylan in Amsterdam: a big bathroom tucked into the attic that has original wooden beams arching overhead.