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Timeless Designs Architecture: Making Dream Homes a Reality

09/30/2023 05:00PM ● By Joe Siess

Most people move south to get away from the cold, but Charlie Hugo and Joey Howard are moving to Vermont from South Carolina, where they plan to settle down in their forever home and share a love of the changing seasons. 

The couple decided to build their new home along the idyllic shoreline of Lake Champlain on a piece of land with a sweeping view of the water and the Adirondacks in the distance. Charlie and Joey are building on about two green acres that back up to a wooded shoreline. The land has been in Charlie’s family since the early 1950s and belonged to his grandmother. The couple’s goal is to build a traditional yet contemporary home where every room has a view of the lake.  

Thanks to designer Raymond Boutin, they are well on their way. 

Farmhouse Design 

Ray is the owner of Timeless Designs, LLC, where he translates the homes of his clients’ dreams into a physical reality. Ray’s homes are timeless in the sense they adhere to the classical, and it’s also the reason Charlie and Joey came to him. 

“I have a strong background in classical design,” Ray says. “Charlie and Joey came to me because of my background in classical New England farmhouses.”  

Joey said when they decided to relocate to Vermont, the couple contacted and arranged meetings with five or six local architects but settled on Ray’s classical design expertise and his good nature.  

“Ray was more approachable,” Charlie says. “We related to him because his past experiences were similar to ours.” 

The thing that connected the couple with their designer was a shared interest in big biking adventures. Ray has ridden his bike from Salem, Massachusetts, to Albuquerque, New Mexico, something Joey and Charlie had done in their RV. 

“So, we connected that way and had a lot to talk about,” Charlie says. “And looking at the service he provided and the guidance he was making available to us in the early stages, it seemed like a very good fit for us.” 

Charlie and Joey went for the classical farmhouse design, but with a contemporary spin.  

“They asked, ‘can we make it more contemporary?’” Ray says, “which is quite easy to do, assuming you have the overall proportions correct for a traditional farmhouse. Ultimately, we went even more contemporary than we originally thought we were going to,” he says. 

Attention to Detail 

The couple is particularly excited about the master bath and the great room.  

“The interesting thing about the master bathroom,” Joey laughs, “is the tub is in the middle of the room.”  

The great room will be a large open space that will include the kitchen, dining, and living rooms, a design element they decided on after spending time in Joey’s home state of South Carolina, where many homes have dedicated dining rooms. 

“We noticed that a lot of people don’t use them,” Charlie says of the more traditional dining room layout. “We didn’t want that in our house, so we abandoned the dining room idea.”  

“The kitchen, dining room, and living room are all in one. The central public area of the house will be a common, open feeling that we are excited about,” Charlie says.  

The pair worked closely with Ray on capturing the openness of the floorplan and selecting the right windows as well as four big panel doors to maximize views of the lake.  

“The lake view was something central to the design of the house, so we’re very excited about the windows,” comments Charlie. 

The master bathroom and the master closet will have a set of sliding barn doors, and the kitchen will feature wood beams on the ceiling, capturing the traditional farmhouse vibe, according to Ray.  

Ray also designed the house to be energy efficient with high-quality windows and doors and a double wall system paired with heated radiant slabs throughout the house, resulting in an airtight home that is easy to heat during Vermont’s cold winters. Piping that circulates hot water will run through the slabs, heating the house, in addition to being naturally heated by the sun, which will shine through the many windows as part of the home’s efficient design. 

The windows and doors are situated across from each other, so that in the hot summer months, air blowing off the lake can cross-ventilate the house.  

“The actual energy needs from a cooling standpoint will be minimal,” Ray points out.  

Charlie, who is originally from Vermont, moved to Greenville, South Carolina in 2001, where his husband, Joey, was born. 

“Joey has spent a couple of winters up in Vermont, and we both kind of like the winter,” says Charlie. “You’d think it would be me trying to get home, but Joey is excited to move from South Carolina to Vermont and was perhaps the driving force behind the move.”  

Once they move to Vermont, Charlie and Joey plan to get back into winter sports, a pastime they both enjoy. They expect to move into their new home on Lake Champlain sometime in January or February of next year, just in time to catch plenty of winter. 


Timeless Designs
9 Dodge Road 
Wolcott, VT 
(802) 793-8061

Photos courtesy of Timeless Designs

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