Luxury Timber Frame Homes
Luxury Homes & Luxury
Mountain Home DesignWe
often have enquiries about
timber frame homes,
mountain home designs,
mountain homes, and
timber frame homes. Different people describe the same idea
differently, but are all talking about the same idea-basically a
frame home. What makes a house a luxury home?
are a few core ideas which separate the good and thoughtful designs,"
luxury", from the simply big house designs which are so often
seen in high end developments.
Many of the large houses
built today still reflect the life style of the 19th and 20th
centuries. Our approaches to life style and living have undergone
many changes over the last half century. Unfortunately many builders
and realtors prolong the adherence to a lifestyle rapidly fading.
Most enquiries now about a new
mountain home design do not ask for a formal dining room or a
formal living room. These are combined into a great room with many
functions-kitchen, gathering, playing, television, meals, and more.
Another difference is that good and thoughtful houses do not include
space just to make buildings have a certain square footage as called
for in many subdivision provisions. Big is not necessarily better.
||Many people mention the
word luxury in describing their ideal home. Luxury means different
things to each of us. To all, though, after some thought, a luxury
house means a comfortable, livable, functional house with no rough
edges. This does not mean it is large, just that it does very well
what is anticipated. So often, a large house means wasted space.
Smaller, well thought out functional and efficient houses often do a
better job, and cost less due to using less material, allowing one
to spend more on personal touches. To define your personal touches,
we would need to list and work through some of your ideas and dreams
you have collected about your dream of a
timber frame home.
All of us have budget restraints.
We need to decide where to save and where to spend our budgeted
money. Space or volume does not make a house desirable or luxurious.
The character of a house is formed by details such as paneling,
wainscoting, wooden flooring, a room for a particular activity,
stair cases, and built in furniture. These details cost more, but
make a home more livable. So in order to meet the budget and have
what is desired, a compromise may have to be reached. Often there is
wasted, overlooked, or unused space which can be used effectively
for built in storage, and the house size decreased to save material
Many people think that
timber frame homes are defined by soaring cathedral ceilings.
This certainly can be a component of luxury timber frame homes, but
does not need to be so. There are times, and these come frequently,
that people need cozy, intimate spaces for conversation,
contemplation, and concentration on particular endeavors, to read
quietly, or to relax and enjoy a quiet view. This feeling of
coziness and intimacy is usually not found under soaring ceilings,
but in a small close low-ceilinged room, comfortable and intimate,
providing a sense of privacy. A space like this can be a bay window
or alcove, a small room with a window and a view, away from the
bustle of a busy house. Christopher Alexander in his book, A Pattern
Language , discusses this as does Sarah Susanka in The Not So Big
House. Both are full of great ideas.
|This timber frame
home in North Carolina was built by Cabin Creek Timber
Frames of Franklin North Carolina. Cabin Creek shows an
entire line of their
timber frame homes.
Objects in a
house should be either beautiful (art or treasured belongings) or
functional, and the beautiful should be celebrated. In a
frame home, the frame itself is both functional and beautiful,
and is worthy of celebration. If a post is required for
strength/function in a particular place, there is no need to hide
it. It can be given a place of honor and celebrated, and the stream
of people and activities can flow around it. Timber frame homes,
well built, are very similar to fine furniture, and can be treated
as an art object themselves with finely polished timbers and posts.
Better than in furniture, however, timber frames present the
opportunity to look at the whole frame of a building and admire the
craftsmanship and the way the array of timbers work together to
strongly support the whole. They are a thing of beauty and a joy
forever.Objects in a house should be either beautiful (art or
treasured belongings) or functional, and the beautiful should be
celebrated. In a timber frame home, the frame itself is both
functional and beautiful, and is worthy of celebration. If a post is
required for strength/function in a particular place, there is no
need to hide it. It can be given a place of honor and celebrated,
and the stream of people and activities can flow around it. Timber
frame homes, well built, are very similar to fine furniture, and can
be treated as an art object themselves with finely polished timbers
and posts. Better than in furniture, however, timber frames present
the opportunity to look at the whole frame of a building and admire
the craftsmanship and the way the array of timbers work together to
strongly support the whole. They are a thing of beauty and a joy
touches turn a bland space into a luxury space. First, a home is a
very personal concept. Few things are as personal as your home. For
a house to become an ideal home, it must include personal touches
which are important to you, and which reflect your interests and
things dear to you--which reflect the way you wish to live your
wife and I love wood. When we built our home, we wished to use our
collection of wood we had accumulated over a period of years, hoping
to incorporate it into our new luxury home. We used walnut for
flooring, trim, stair newel posts, balusters, pickets, hooks and
knee braces. Some of this was sawn wood and some naturally curved.
Spalted sycamore, maple, and beech were used for flooring, trim, and
wainscoting. These personal touches transformed a generic space into
a very personal luxury space at little cost, some personal labor and
elbow grease, and helped create a luxury timber frame home.
are empty nesters. We designed, built, and live in a 2800 square
frame home with structural insulated panels (SIPs) for
insulation. There is a cathedral ceiling in the living room with
large windows opening to interesting views of the Appalachian Trail
ridges and the stream. My work often keeps me away from home for a
period of time. I noticed after a series of winter snows that the
relatively small guest bedroom of our home, with low ceiling joists
overhead, spalted maple wainscoting, and handmade furniture, had
been converted to a "nest" with soft lighting, curtains
drawn across the window, sewing table/sewing machine/laptop set up,
offering a cozy space with a feeling of warmth and comfort. When I
commented on the room, she said, "This is my nest" and
grinned. We all welcome a space of our own. Her plan for her "nest"
would not have worked well in the soaring family room. This concept
is one which differentiates a large volume house from the luxury
home many are seeking. Even our family room with its high ceilings
has three distinct seating areas for quiet, closer conversations.
aspect of a smaller but more functional house that saves space or
volume and therefore money in construction costs, is the use of
built in storage or furniture in spaces many would not think to
employ. This allows the use of possibly neglected space. This allows
too the saving of money which can be put toward those special
personal touches or a more efficient heating/cooling system to save
more money through efficiency.
example of our cozy, no space wasted area, is our library. Built
under the sloping gable roof sides, the outside walls do not offer
headroom until one moves back a few feet. This would have been
wasted space, but we used the outside spaces for an attic storage
area, and on the inside built bookshelves for our library
collection. One can stand now with headroom beside the library
shelves. This was much less expensive than building a separate room
for a library.
mountain home designs in general are energy saving, (that is,
efficient and therefore money saving), durable or long lived
(expected to last well for centuries), and functional (or
thoughtful) meaning that people and activities flow easily and that
all spaces are commonly used, not neglected as a formal dining room
might be. This description sounds much like that of a
but goes a step farther, that is, in the sense of being functional
cost of building a house should be looked at in a way not often
considered. When one builds or buys a house to live in over years,
one must consider the cost of building or buying plus the cost to
operate this house. A cheap house is often quite expensive to
operate, and very often, well built and efficient houses are much
less expensive to operate, saving the owner much money over the
to make a house last for decades and centuries is a concept not
often employed in this country. In Europe, many structures built
from the 12th century on are still in comfortable use today. A few
people here are beginning to think of building for future
generations and it makes great sense. The long lived buildings in
Europe have lasted for a reason. They were well crafted. Now with
modern building materials, we can expect timber frames with SIPs
(structural insulated panels) insulation to last and save much money
over the years. It is not unusual for a well insulated (SIPs)
building (1800-2800 square feet) to cost $50-$75 per month to heat,
cool, and power. It is also not unusual for a stud wall/fiberglass
building to cost $400. per month. The difference of $350 per month
comes to $42,000. over 10 years. SIPs panel insulated buildings
usually cost half as much to heat and cool as stud wall/fiberglass
buildings, and often even less. This monthly saving adds up over the
years to considerably decrease the lifetime operating cost of the
these concepts and ideas into a coherent luxury timber frame design
takes work. We will be happy to work with you and your architect or
designer to offer our opinions, ideas, lessons learned, advice, and
even whimsical ideas we have had over the years. Together with your
ideas and your designers, we can help construct a luxury mountain
home of your dreams.
text and photos are the property of Cabin Creek Timber Frames
2010 © Cabin
Creek Timber Frames, all rights reserved.
published here with permission
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