I too live in the great Pacific NW. What a wet time we're having this year! I have 2 new KTBH's this year that were started April 15. Both were built to the same dimentions and I chose to use "end" entrances for them both. The only difference is I used a follower board in one and didn't in the other. I feed using the baggie method in both (behind the follower board in one and the open end in the other). The hive with the follower board is way dryer in the "bee space" than the one without. I assume this is due to the feeding with syrup. Both of the hives are thriving in that they are very active and one has built out 15 bars and the other is on 13. I do feel that the follower helps "contain" some of the moisture when feeding in a KTBH and will continue use them to seperate the food from the brood.
Hopefully I won't have to worry about that with these hives as I will be leaving them with all of there own stores. Time will tell.

Personally I don't see why KTBH's would be considered any more difficult for beginers. I don't use smoke (although available just in case) and only use my veil when doing a complete inspection. I do spot checks without and find that the bees are very gentle when I am slow and methodical. They have kept me in check a couple times when I get rushed . I think the KTBH is perfect for the beginer.