Thinking About the Timber Frame Home You Want to Live In

With careful planning, your new home design will reflect the way you want to live.  We’ve listed some areas below that will help you think through your “must haves” as well as what you desire in a home.

Think about how you’d like the home to feel.  Talk about your lifestyle, how you like to entertain and which rooms you spend the most time in.  How do you want life to be different in your new home?  Do you want to create an outdoor living space?  Thoughtful planning in the design phase will result in a home that truly works for you.

Our timber frame home designer will listen to your ideas, and ask some questions.  The task at hand is to guide you through the maze of wants vs. needs and cost vs. budget.  With our knowledge and expertise, we promise you a well designed custom timber frames home to fit your budget.

1. Is this new timber frame home a single story home?  Do you need a basement, or just a crawl space?  How would you describe your building site?  We prefer to do site visits before the design process begins.

2. Do you prefer an open floor plan with the kitchen and dining areas combined with living areas?  Or do you favor separate rooms with easy traffic flow?

3. What is a comfortable ceiling height for you?  Would this new home have cathedral ceilings?

4. How do you entertain? Is the family / living room the main gathering place, or is it the kitchen?  Do you need a formal dining area?

5. Do you require a spot for a piano or large pool table?  How about other large pieces of furniture or wall art?

6. Are you a reader and have lots of books?  Is there a need for a quiet room away from the rest of the house, such as an office or library?  Need a space for crafts?

7. What type of heating / cooling system do you see in your new home? Do you intend to heat with a wood stove primarily, or for back-up? Are you interested in using ceiling fans?

8. How important is the need for a mud room or larger than average laundry room?

9. How important is the kitchen in your home?  Are you a person who frequently cooks and needs lots of counter space or large island?  Is a big pantry in order?

10. How do you envision the master bedroom?  Is it just a place to sleep, or do you need a space for reading chairs or a desk?  Is access to the outside important in this room?

11. Do your bedrooms need large walk-in closets, or just standard size closets?  For storage considerations, do you need larger and / or more closets or see some built-in furniture?

12. How important is the size of the master bathroom?  What are your requirements?  How many other bathrooms do you need?  How large?

13. Windows can be a large portion of your budget.  Does your property have views that you want to take advantage of? Are there areas of the home where you see a need for custom windows?

14. Is an attached garage a necessity, or do you prefer a detached garage that can serve multiple purposes? How large do you need this space?

15. Outdoor living areas range from attached covered porches and / or terraces to landscaped gardens with a pavilion a short walk from the main house.  Describe how you see your home and lifestyle fitting into these transition areas.

After you have answered most of the questions here, let us sit down together and go over your ideas.  We will listen to your requests and make suitable suggestions that we think will help save you money or steps in your building process.  Together, we can be a team that has your best interest at heart.  Together, we can craft this timber frame home based on your thoughtful ideas combined with our creative talents.

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Windows for Your Timber Frame Home

trimber frame home windows

The Timber Frame carries all of the structural weight of your house. That allows for large spans of windows and open interiors, which let light flow from one room to the next. However, poor placement of windows or windows of the wrong size can increase utility bills. That’s something we all wish to avoid.

You want to enjoy your views without dwelling on whether or not dollars are flying through the glass. Study on the location of your windows. Position them for maximum passive solar heat gain by orienting a majority of windows facing the south. That allows for the most solar exposure for winter heating, which minimizes your heat loss.

You can also save money on your windows by grouping commonly sized windows together rather than buying one large custom window.  The commonly sized windows are more affordable because they’re produced in great numbers.

There are many options and ideas for windows in your timber frame home. Privacy windows that are located close to the ceiling (or even in your ceiling) are a great way to get the light you want with the privacy you also desire.  An arched window echoing the exterior timber frame is a beautiful way to tie your house together.

My favorite idea is stained glass windows / panels, or reusing a vintage window for personal added flair.

Timber Surface Treatments

By: Bruce Gardner, Co-Owner of Homestead Timber Frames

The first decision to make regarding the look of your finished timber frame is the texture of the timber surfaces.  Here are some of your choices:

Smoothly Planed – This most common choice is the result of a portable planer, sharp blades, and patient technique.  The timber framer sets the planer blade height to a minimum setting to minimize grain tear – out and planes each visible timber surface while advancing slowly.  Areas around knots may require additional attention from a belt sander.

Sand Blasted – Timber frame timbers can be sand blasted to mimic weathered timber surfaces without the graying.  A steady stream of an abrasive agent such as sand or baking soda is directed under pressure against the timber surfaces.  The abrasive agent removes the softer ‘early wood’ leaving the ‘late wood’.  The result is a timber surface that looks and feels like corduroy with the ‘late wood’ grain raised.

Hand Hewn – Best described under the heading, “How to make a timber framer wince”, this surface treatment is achieved by using an adze.  The adze wielder chops along the length of the timber taking small divots of wood.  The aim here is to replicate a timber that was produced by hand from the log.

Rough Sawn –  Timbers are joined straight from the saw mill, saw marks and rough grain intact.  Barns and sheds often display timbers that are rough sawn.