The English Mediaeval House

The English Mediaeval House 

By: Margaret Wood – Preface by Sir Mortimer Wheeler

Bracken Books – 1965

In this book you will find an absorbing study of the evolution of the English house.  Filled with Margaret Wood and other workers’ meticulous research, the book covers the period of time from the Norman Conquest to 1540.  Sixty pages of beautiful and instructive photographs are included as well as 150 plans and drawings that can only enhance such a wonderful book. This is the first major book on medieval domestic architecture for over a hundred years and is definitely worthy of its great subject!

 

Manor Houses in Normandy

Manor Houses in Normandy

By: Yves Lexcroart
Photographs By: Regis Faucon

Konemann – 1995

Open this book and you will be blown away by beautiful photographs that have captured the undulating woodland and lush meadows of Normandy.  Pays d’Auge is a region of Normandy that is a treasure-house of architecture in which the amazing manor houses are among its best-kept secrets.  Some are surprisingly small and some very grand.  They are built of timber or brick and stone. Very few of the manor houses are open to the public so grab this unique opportunity and enjoy this breathtaking pocket of Normandy.

The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625 – 1725

The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625 – 1725

By: Abbott Lowell Cummings

Harvard University Press – 1979

An absolutely superb work of history on the early homes built in North America.  Mr. Cummings covers the English background, the House Plan, the Builders and their Resources and the Assembly and Rearing of the House Frame.  As you can imagine, you will read about our country’s first timber frame homes – some of which are still standing.  Spanning over 200 pages, this book ends with a detailed Appendix where you will find even more books on this splendid form of construction.  You will enjoy the many black and white photos, drawings, and maps of interiors, timber post and girt carvings and furniture of the era.  We use this book as a reference for carvings and timber sizes.

American Bungalow Style

American Bungalow Style

By: Robert Winter and Alexander Vertikoff

Simon & Schuster – 1996

If you’re looking for some great interior or exterior ideas for cozy nooks, fireplaces, porches, window nooks, etc., then this book can help.  Filled with over 300 color photographs of that charming Craftsman Style architecture, we are immediately drawn to its warmth and effortless design.  “The idea that simplicity and artistry could harmonize in one affordable house spurred the bungalow’s popularity – a rare movement in which good architecture was found outside the world of the wealthy.”  This remains true today – especially with a timber frame home.  Turning the pages of this beautiful book shows you how just a simple door can become a thing of beauty you could enjoy each and every day.

Our Fall Newsletter

Reading Tree Rings with Woody

Every single spring and summer, each tree grows another layer of wood that is added onto the trunk. In the spring the wood grows quickly and is a lighter color because it is made of large cells. During the summer the wood grows much slower, has smaller cells and is darker in color.

  • To tell the age of the treeCount the dark rings!
  • When a tree is getting plenty of sunshine and rain it will have rings that are broad and evenly spaced.
  • If a tree has went through a forest fire it may have some scarring on  the bark right along one of the rings but every year the tree will add more wood to cover the scar.
  • Very narrow rings that continue through several seasons can indicate a drought or maybe an insect infestation.
  • If a tree has rings that seem wider on one side than the other it may suggest that something pushed against the tree as it was growing.  The tree will build what is called “reaction wood” to prop up and support the side that is leaning.

Choosing Timbers for your Timber Frame

 

Submitted by: Bruce Gardner, Co-Owner of Homestead Timber Frames

You have a wide array of wood species to choose from for your timber frame.  Some of the factors to include in making a good choice are:

  1. Strength characteristics of the wood
  2. Color, texture, and durability of the wood
  3. Availability of the wood
  4. Environmental impact of harvesting, processing, and shipping the wood

All timber framing companies have wood species preferences.  Homestead Timber Frames is located in the center of the grandest hardwood forest area in North America.  Our location choice was spawned by access to local timber.  Specifying and using timber local to us minimizes transportation costs, uses trees locally harvested from forests that naturally recover, allows our competence to grow by working within a narrow range of wood species, and provides our clients with a beautiful timber frame using timbers of known provenance and quality.

Homestead Timber Frames employs local White oak for interior timber frames.  The timbers are graded by us and carefully stored until use in a timber frame.  White oak can be planed to a smooth surface and beautifully finished with our natural oil finish.  Construction blemishes are easily renewed; White oak is traditional and durable; and the strength of the wood allows beautiful design flexibility.  A properly designed White oak timber frame becomes an heirloom cherished for generations.

Exterior timber frames are most often built by us of Baldcypress.  Exterior timber frames include pavilions, porches, exterior brackets, bridges, and gates.  Baldcypress is available in large timber sizes of good quality and grows regionally.  Baldcypress timbers gracefully accept surface treatments such as sanding or sand blasting and stain or paint well.  If no finish is desired, Baldcypress weathers over time to a pleasing silver gray which requires little maintenance.

 Homestead Timber Frames avoids using timber species that grow thousands of miles from us.  Timbers from species such as the Redwoods may be sourced from ancient trees, irreplaceable in a dozen human lifespans.  The same may be true for Western Red Cedar.  The environmental impact and expense of transporting all Western woods across the Continent is easily avoided by using our excellent and locally available timber species.  Come visit us and see the wood for yourself.  We will give you a wood sample to take home with you and you can decide what’s best for your timber frame.

Click here to visit our World of Woods for more information on different woods.

Creating a Homestead for Generations to Come

Submitted by: Cyndy Gardner

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary- Homestead- (noun)

Snow Scene

a: the home and adjoining land occupied by a family

b: an ancestral home

The first known use of the word HOMESTEAD was before the 12th century.

Home·stead·er noun

Homestead-transitive verb: to acquire or occupy as a homestead - intransitive verb: to acquire or settle on land under a homestead law

As you can see, the word homestead has been around several hundred years and means many things important to our culture.  Our country was formed by people living in and caring for their homesteads – inherited by some and started by others.  But the homestead was the center of their existence – the hub of daily life – the heart of the family.  Some of the inhabitants built their own furniture, wove their rugs and bedding, and made ‘pretties’ for the children to play with.  Others brought these household items with them from all over the world when they came to settle on the frontier.  But all of them put great value on their homestead.

Today there are among us those who still envision living on and working a true homestead.  The outbuildings surrounding the main house would serve their useful purposes to provide income for the family living on the land.  John Seymour in his book, The Forgotten Crafts does an excellent job of describing these practices.  Some of us just want the ‘look’ of the old homestead in order to create the image of a working small farm, but use the outbuildings in a different manner such as a woodworking shop or an artist studio.  We may have a few animals to care for, but we work outside the home for the bulk of our income.

Most of us can still create our own personal homestead just by owning a piece of land on which we build our ‘dream’ house where we find sustenance of a different kind.  Within this wonderful home, we can fill it with what we love; what we find interesting; what brings peace at the end of the day – a sanctuary where we bring our friends and family to celebrate joyous events or to discuss the issues of the day.  We naturally want it to be a beautiful dwelling with attention to detail.  Not such a big house, but large enough to hold us comfortably within.  This home should inspire you to grow – to plan adventures – to learn more about yourself and the world around you – but also a place that welcomes you home with the ‘warmth of the hearth’ just like our ancestors experienced in their quaint old ‘homesteads’.   Our solid oak timber frames can furnish you with this quiet strength in which to create your sanctuary.  Traditionally joined with wooden pegs and handcrafted by skilled joiners, we still value what makes a home handsome that will last several generations.