1. Avoid valleys
If you are designing the roof of a new house, try to design a roof without any valleys. Valleys concentrate water and often clog with ice. It’s far more common to have leaks or ice dam problems near valleys than in the middle of a simple sloped roof.
Many valleys exist because of a designer’s conceit rather than necessity. Often, these valleys trace back to the mistaken belief that a chopped-up, complicated, multi-plane roof looks better than a simple gable. It doesn’t.
2. Just say no to dormers and skylights
There’s no reason for a new house to have a dormer. When I see a dormer, I conclude that the designer or the architect made a mistake. They didn’t include enough interior space, and the homeowner was forced to cut a hole in the roof because the ceiling was too low to stand up.
If you want to build a multi-story house, that’s fine. If you want two floors, build two floors. If you want three floors, build three floors. Then build a roof over the top floor. This roof shouldn’t have any deliberate holes in it. The “no holes” rule covers both dormers and skylights.