This image from last Fall's Zara Home catalog is still one of my favorites. I love their rustic take on modern furnishings. You can't see the ceiling here, but I imagine it to have rough timber beams against a white plaster. I think a big dose of natural wood can add a lot of warmth to a white space while preserving the minimalism.
Of course wood beams could be a great addition to the high ceilings in any modern living space. But they're expensive and hard to install. Luckily, my brother just sent me a great link to a site that sells faux wood beams. They look very real. Well, at least they look real from a distance. And when they're on the ceiling, how close are you going to get?
These beams are made from casts of real wood beams, so they have realistic tool marks and grain patterns. You can get beams starting at $170. Check out some design ideas here.
PS- this site has some annoying narration audio playing on the home page and main product pages, so turn your sound down.