7 Ways to Enjoy Your Home This Summer

Summer is almost here and you’ll want to make the best of the all the season has to offer.  I’m sure you’re well past your spring cleaning and want to be proactive about getting outside and about bringing the outside in, so we’ve brought together a few suggestions that will help you to make your summer more enjoyable…whether you live in a timber frame home or not.

1)  Hang a bird feeder and keep it filled.  The hummingbirds are especially fun to watch.

2)  Clean and repair your outdoor furniture.  A little paint (maybe in a new color) and some new (or recovered) cushions will give your outdoor space a great new look.

Timber Frame Porch

3)  Adding a clothesline will allow you to reminisce and to have the sweetest smelling linens imaginable. Not only will you save money, but you’ll enjoy the time spent hanging out the laundry.

4)  Put a chair and table or a glider in your garden. Tuck it into a quiet spot and make it your quiet place.  Take a book and retreat to your own spot when life is hectic.

5)  Add some new lighting and sound to your outdoor space.   Some soft lights and a speaker or two will make you want to stay outside longer. Look at some of the solar lighting options at your local home store.

6)  Rearrange your furniture to take advantage of the views to the outside.   The fireplace was a great focal point during the gray winter months, but the explosion of green and color gives you a ringside seat as nature paints the outdoors.

7) Consider adding an outdoor room.  Of course, a timber frame makes a wonderful outdoor addition.  That’s a shameless plug for Goshen Timber Frames , but a great way to enhance your outdoor space.

So step back and leave behind the winter. Step into summer with the intention of enjoying every day. Slow down, take a deep breath, and relax.

 

Timber Frame Porches – A Nice Addition

Sometimes you just need to give your home a facelift to make it look and feel new again. A timber frame porch will create a fresh look for any home. The timber frame can be designed to compliment the existing design and will definitely bring new definition to your home.

Timber Frame Porch

Timber frame porches can be designed as new entrances, as sitting porches, screen porches, or even outdoor living spaces (attached or separate from your home). Wherever the timber frame addition resides, it will add grace and character to your existing home.

You can take a 70’s ranch style home to new heights with a nice porch, create additional living space with a spacious back porch, or add a sunroom that will serve you year round. The timber frame should be designed to accent the attributes of your home that deserve to be highlighted…and to hide those dated…not so pretty…spaces.

Porches should be built with a wood that is naturally resistant to rot and insect damage. This will ensure that the porch will last a long time and won’t need a lot of maintenance.

A timber  frame porch makes a nice addition to a home, a church, or a business.  They can replace a dated or damaged structure and breathe new life into the building and can lift the heart of all who approach.

Your timber frame plans will help you define the porch or addition.  The existing roof-line and wall heights will be considered, as will the roof pitch and the use of the porch.  All of these things will determine the size and style of the porch.  At the end of the day, the porch should look like it was part of the original structure.

The photos shown here are examples of porches added (or in case of the church porch replaced on an historic timber framed church) to existing homes.  They brought new life to older homes and added style that couldn’t be achieved with conventionally framed porches.

Church PorchSo step back and look at your house with a critical eye and picture it with a new porch addition.  Sometimes something as small as a porch can bring your home to life.  And a timber frame porch will add value to your home or business.

The folks at Goshen Timber Frames will be pleased to help you as you create a new look for your own home.

And whatever you build, Build Boldly…Bonnie Pickartz.

Timber Frames, Heavy Timber, and Post and Beam Construction

You’ll often hear the term “heavy timber” and “post and beam” when timber frames are discussed.  The terms have come to be used interchangeably, but there are also differences.

Heavy timber can be used to indicate large lumber which is usually expressed in actual sizes (an 8 x 8 timber is really 8 X 8 ) instead of nominal sizes where a 2 X 4 is usually 1 1/2 X 3 1/2.    Timber frames are always built with heavy timber.

Post and beam can indicate heavy timbers attached to one another with metal plates, bolts, joinery, or a combination.  While the term is often used to mean “timber frame”, it doesn’t have to be traditional timber framing.

A 12″ X 22″ X26′ timber ridge beam, shown below, definitely qualifies as heavy timber as it becomes an integral part of a timber frame home.

Timber Frame Awning Transforms Main Street

Main Street’s new storefront, Outdoor 76 , offers a timber frame awning as the new look.  The owners rehabbed a great old building and fronted it with the awesome look of a timber frame.

What a great example of going further than just beautiful homes!

Congratulations to the Outdoor 76 bunch and thanks for taking us along on your journey.

Green Building Notes – Designing Your Timber Frame

The design of your timber frame home will determine how well you live in it and how much you enjoy it.  Size does matter and with careful planning, a smaller home can provide more appropriate and more liveable space than a much larger home.  There is much to be said of the “human scale”.  We all live more comfortably in space that fits our scale.

The style of your new home will be your next critical decision.   The style should fit with the local vernacular.   It should look and feel like it belongs in the area.  If you are building in an area of eclectic  homes, many styles built over many years, you have lots of options.  If you are building in an area where the homes are more similar than dissimilar, think about a home that will blend in.  Mistakes, such as building a log home in an area of very traditional homes,  will decrease the value of your home.   Keep colors and finishes in mind as you work on the design of your home.  While we each want our homes to be unique and charming, we don’t want to own the home that everyone means when they say “oh, yes, that house”. Timeless architecture will serve you much better than a trendy style.   By building a home with fewer corners and using simple geometry you maximize your budget and minimize building materials.

The size of your home should be determined by the needs of your family.  If your family visits twice a year and there are sixteen people in your home for three days, do you need to build to accomodate sixteen people for the other three hundred and forty six days of the year?  A timber frame, hybrid, or panelized home will feel larger than a conventionally framed or modular home.  There are fewer structural wall requirements, fewer halls, higher ceilings with more volume.  Open spaces accomodate groups of people more easily than smaller, enclosed rooms.  Think seriously about the long term issues of energy usage and maintenance and about the shorter term costs to build and the extra materials required to construct your home.  Smaller requires fewer resources to build and fewer resources to maintain.  Careful planning as you design your home will pay off long term.

Energy efficiency will be designed into your home.  Design a well insulated home with high performance windows.  Design for sustainable energy with passive solar, daylighting, and natural ventilation.

Green Building Notes – Your Timber Frame Journey

Green Building, in it’s new and sometimes abused persona, is not really a new concept.  It has always been important to use resources wisely, to build with the materials at hand, and to conserve energy.  New technology has helped us to achieve some of these goals, but if we look back, we see that many before us have built green, without all the hype.  Adobe homes protected Native Americans in the Southwest from sweltering heat, wattle and daub homes used materials at hand to build shelters, skyscrapers built in the late 1800’s made use of urban space.  So while architects, designers, and builders today would like to take credit for this movement, they are truly just making the public more aware of the importance of building green.

The goal of Goshen’s Green Building Notes is to inform and educate.  Choices are many and often confusing.  Whether you choose to build a home that is certified by one of the many certification programs, (LEED, NAHB, many local and regional options), or to build a home using best practices without certification, is a very personal and budgetary decision.

Goshen Timber Frames has designed and built green homes for many years.  We’ve helped our clients design and build homes that fit their lifestyle and budgets while not encouraging them to overbuild.  Our material and energy efficient homes sit quietly nationwide, enjoyed by families of all ages and economies.   

Your site will be all important as you move forward with your project.  Whether you own your land or you are just beginning the search for a site for your new home, you need to consider how the land lays, how your home will be sited, and the impact of building on the site.  If you are building in the mountains, The Mountain Home Guide is a good place to start.  This guide was created with much input and thought by professionals in North Carolina.  

If you are looking at land, consider how you will live in your new home.  Are you a “house mouse” or a “field mouse”?  Will you spend much time outdoors or do you prefer to spend your time inside?  This will impact everything from how your home is sited to how it is designed.  Don’t hurry this process.  Changes after the fact are time consuming and expensive.  

The smallest footprint will have the smallest impact.  This is critical to your new home and should be taken very seriously.  But, just as you shouldn’t build too much home for your lifestyle, don’t underbuild either.  Your home won’t serve you well if you have to add on to live comfortably.  There is a perfect fit for everyone.  

Designing your home to work for you and to fit on the land will take time and energy.  You will need to walk the land, visit with local builders who are familar with not only building, but with the regional landscape, have a local excavator out and discuss the impact of building on the site and how the landcape will change in order to accomodate your new home.  If you are building for a view, take a ladder to the site, climb up and look around.  This will likely be your first floor view.  If the site is challenging, consider renting a lull or bucket to get an even higher view.   Take your time.  If you have the luxury of visiting the site during all four seasons, you are far ahead of the game.

Building green encompasses every aspect of designing and building your home.  As you move forward, you will have to make many choices.  We’ve listed some of these choices and offered some suggestions.  There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of books and other resources available on green building.  It is a touch phrase and has become a hot topic.  In our next few posts, Goshen we will to offer some of the simplest decisions you can make that offer the largest impact.

Building a Smaller Timber Frame Home

Building a smaller timber frame home isn’t rocket science.  Timber frames lend themselves to smaller, more efficient space.  With many homeowners making the choice to build homes that require less space, less maintenance, and are more cost efficient to build and to maintain, timber frame homes are a practical choice.

A smaller home doesn’t have to be cramped and crowded.  It can live large with open spaces and less wasted space.  Timber frame design typically makes the best use of space that might be a hallway in a conventionally framed home.  With no bearing walls, there a few barriers to the way a home flows.

Of course, if you are building on a lot suitable for a basement, including living space both above and below the  main floor means you can minimize the footprint of your home.  Your first floor may include the more public areas, living room, dining room, kitchen and often the master bedroom.  Within your timber frame, the living room, dining room, and kitchen are all “rooms without borders” and flow easily from one to the other.

Porches and decks, extended outdoor living spaces, are important in a smaller home.   Expanding the living space outdoors is another way to make your home live larger.  Timber frame porches and outdoor living space create shelter from inclement weather, but let you enjoy nature at its best and sometimes most violent.

While homeowners across the country are beginning to realize that smaller homes can be the direction to take for more energy efficient, sustainable living, our timber frame homes have always been designed to make best use of space and to allow their occupants to live large without wasted space.

Visit http://www.buildingatimberframe.com to see how large a 1700 square foot home can live.

And however you build, whatever you build, just Build Boldly.

Timber Frame Carport

Sometimes it just makes sense to update an older home.  The addition of a timber frame carport added protection from the weather and panache for updated curb appeal.

Timber frames bring drama and character to all sorts of homes. A timber frame carport, a timber frame porch, or a timber frame pergola are all nice ways to update a home…and the neighborhood.

On Friday in just a couple of hours, this great carport was raised.  By Saturday afternoon, the decking was in place, felt on the roof, and the painters started oiling the frame.  What a difference this new timber frame already makes!  Once again, timber frames shelter…just this time it shelters not only the owners, but also their vehicles, from rain and shine.

So, don’t think you have to build a new home.  If you love where you live, don’t move, just enhance.  Add some “structure” to your life with a timber frame addition.  It just doesn’t get any “greener” than that.

Just remember, however you build, Build Boldly.

Timber Frame Workshop

Just as timber frames are to be shared, the craft of timber framing is to be shared.  The craft has been passed down for centuries.  The Bible speaks of joining timbers and in Europe and the Far East, timber frames built many hundreds of years ago are still in use.

At Goshen Timber Frames, apprenticeships and workshops have been incorporated into the program for years.  Many timber framers started their journey here and timber frame companies across the country are run by past Goshen apprentices.

Last week six people gathered here in Franklin to learn basic timber framing. Many of the Goshen staff, Toby, David, Don, Adam, Joel, and Mark, along with a talented and dedicated Goshen homeowner, Mike Skahan, made this happen. 

The students worked as a team.  They were taught about the tools (and caring for them), joinery, design, and raising timber frames.

The week went by quickly and at the end of the workshop they received not only certificates, but a personalized plaque designed and crafted by Mike Skahan.

When asked how they would use their new found skills, the students answered with enthusiasm.  Whether they are going to build a shop or outbuilding, use their skills to add some “trimberframing” to their services, or just talk about how they spent their vacation, they all left with a sense of accomplishment.

The small “workshop frame” that they cut and raised provided each of these men and women the chance to learn a craft and to use tools similar to those used for centuries (with a few additions…like the chain mortiser).  They shared this week with others interested in the craft and with craftsmen dedicated to timber framing.  This will be a week worth remembering for most of them.

Jim, Liesel, Luis, Mark, Steven, and Matt are shown here with Joel Scott and Mike Skahan in front of the frame they cut and raised.   As they departed for five different states, you can be sure that their minds were filled with thoughts of heavy timber, chisels, and mallets.

Goshen’s next workshop is scheduled for October 10, 2010.   There are a limited number of spaces available.   More information is available here.

Timber Frames Are Not Disposable Homes

How many homes have you lived in that were well past their prime?  Maybe they were drafty or maybe the floors weren’t quite level.  Maybe the windows leaked badly or the ridge was beginning to sag.  Many homes that have been built in the past century were not built to last.  They were built quickly with little oversight.  Timber frames are still standing…and still useful…centuries after they were carefully crafted from the materials at hand. 

Timber frames are not disposable homes.  They are sustainable in every sense of the word.   Today, we understand what our ancestors understood, that a building should last, that it should serve generations.

As we hear the words “green building” and “sustainable”, we need to focus on just what that means to the building process.   We can conserve energy and resources by building efficiently and we can conserve even more energy and resources by building a home that will withstand the forces of nature and time.  A timber frame won’t have to be shored up or torn down.  A timber frame can be renovate without destroying the structure.

So, think about what is going to the landfill today from homes that just couldn’t be saved.   Don’t add to that problem.  Think of the future as you plan and build your new home.

And whatever you do…build boldly.