As you plan your timber frame home…

As you begin planning your timber frame home, you’ll have an idea what size, budget, and style home you want.  It helps to get that information on paper.  Your plan will include lots of details, but a good starting place is the worksheet we’ve created to help identify your ideas.

You’ll need to think about the size of each room and how it all fits together.  It’s easy to think we want a 2500 square foot house, but when we bring together the size and number of rooms we want or need, it often exceeds the space we thought we wanted. Looking at the information as a whole will help you to fine tune your plan before you start.

What space do you seldom use?  Could it become part of another room that is not used often?  What space is important and how do you use it?  Do you want more or less room than you live in now?  Keep in mind that the open floor plan of a timber frame “lives” larger than a conventionally built home.

So, take a little time and download our Timber Frame Home Worksheet .  Fill it out and live with it a little while.  Send it to us, if you’d like for our designer to review it with you.  If not, consider it a tool that will help you make some critical decisions.

It takes time and thought to plan a home that will live as well as you hope.  At Goshen Timber Frames, we’ve been known to work with our timber friends for years to get it right.  Don’t hurry and do live with your plan a while before you build.  It’s that important.

So, move on, begin that journey and when you build, Build Boldly!

 

 

Designing Your Timber Frame Home – Around a Special Piece

Designing your timber frame home can be a challenge, especially if you have a special piece that needs that perfect space. As long as you plan ahead, a long-loved treasure can be showcased in your new home. With some time and patience, the perfect design can be brought together.goshen timber frames - custom design

Goshen clients Dale and Susan worked closely with designer Bobby Johns to make sure that Dale’s theater organ was well placed.  It “lives” in a niche created by heavy timber posts, anchoring the living area.  Speakers are mounted behind sidewalls, out of the way, but perfect for the sounds from this wonderful piece.

Whether it’s a family antique, the perfect piece you found years ago and have moved from home to home, a great sculpture or painting,  or a new addition to your collection, it should have a special place in your new home.  Timbers can be carefully arranged to highlight the features you love best.  Wall heights can be easily adjusted to make room for that extra tall cabinet.

So, don’t leave it behind.  Make it shine in your new home.  Design it in and love it where it sits.  Build, and always Build Boldly!

 

 

 

 

Cost to Build a Timber Frame House

What does it cost to build a 2000 square foot timber frame house?   I guess there are two extreme answers…”not much” or “all you’ve got”.   And both are accurate answers to that question.

A timber frame doesn’t cost 20-30% more to build than any other custom home because the final number depends on so many other factors.  It may cost a little more, but those costs are offset by removing tray ceilings, crown molding, and other details that aren’t needed to make a timber frame special.

Houses, even timber frame homes, come in all different configurations.  Let’s consider some options:

Floor Space – That 2000 square feet can be divided into three floors (lower level, first floor, second floor/loft).  The 2000 square feet can become a variation of a rambling ranch.  The 2000 square feet can be on the first and second levels.

Roof Lines –  You can have a straight gable roof, a hipped roof, a roof with reverse gables and valleys, and everything else utilizing these “standard” roofs.

Timber – Timber can be green (most common), kiln-dried, air-dried.  It can be pine, douglas fir, oak, cedar.  It can even be reclaimed timber.

Site – Is it flat?  Is it steep?  Is it heavily wooded?  Is it rural and hard to get to?

Decks/Porches – Lots of decks and porches?  Enclosed?  Screened?

Fireplace(s) – One…more.  Masonry? Inserts? Rock, brick, or cultured stone?

Roofing – Asphalt shingles, cedar shakes, standing seam, metal?

You can see where I’m going here and we haven’t even touched on the interior appliances, fixtures, and finishes.  The possibilities to spend … and to save … money are endless.  At the end of the day, the cost of that 2000  square foot timber frame home will run between $300,000 and $800,000.  We’ve seen 2000 square foot homes built everywhere in that range.

Cost per square foot?  It’s smoke and mirrors.  Which square foot are you talking about?  The kitchen?  The entry?  The bedroom?  The real cost to build a timber frame house is calculated by the “cost to construct”.  It’s a real number reached by working as a team to identify all the components as closely as possible.  That team can start with you and your timber frame company’s design team and once preliminary drawings are in place, grow to include your contractor and any pertinent tradesmen.

So, next time someone tells you that you can build for X$ per square foot, ask them “which square foot?” and see what answer you get.  In the meantime, start your process to design and build your new timber frame home with an appropriate budget and work with people who have been through the process to develop plans that work with that budget.  You may not get everything you want…or you may get more.   But the cost to build your timber frame home will be much smoother as you work through the process.

The truth is, there is no easy, fill in the blank answer to the question…”What will it cost to build a timber frame house?”…, but there is an answer to what it will take to build YOUR timber frame home and that answer takes some work and investment on both your part and the part of your design/build team.

Give me a call at 828-524-8662 or drop me an email if I can help you plan your timber frame home, Bonnie Pickartz,  Goshen Timber Frames

 

 

 

Beautiful Timber Frame Videos

Sometimes you just have to step back and marvel at the beauty of a timber frame home.  When Neal and Pam started their timber frame journey, they had a vision….a vision of beautiful, elegant, rustic mountain homes that brought together strength and character of timber frames with the charm of the mountains of Western North Carolina.   To say that they succeeded would be an understatement.

The Pond and the Cottage are beautiful examples of timber frame homes.  They are both available for sale and for rent here in Franklin, North Carolina…just west of Asheville.

So today we’re sharing videos of these beautiful homes.  Walk through them and enjoy the beauty…it is certainly worth sharing.

Thank you for allowing us to share the beauty!

 

Questions to Ask About Timber Frame Plans

If you are ready to move forward with your new timber frame home, the first step will be developing your timber frame home plan.  You’ll be working with someone from the timber frame company you’ve chosen or with an independent designer or architect.   You’ll ask many of the same questions, but if you are working outside of a timber frame company, you do need to ask if the designer or architect has any heavy timber experience.  This can greatly affect the efficiency (and cost) of your new timber frame home.

Will you be working directly with the designer or will there be others involved? A team effort works well.  Each member of the team (and you are the key member of the team) brings insight and experience.  Do the designer and the rest of the team (the person who sold you the timber frame) work from the same location?  Can they easily exchange ideas and information?

Who will own the copyright to the plan? Typically the copyright will belong to the company who is doing the design and you will have the right to build the home once.  If you expect to own the copyright, this must be negotiated up front.

Can you build the timber frame with another company (if you are working with a design/build firm)?  This varies greatly across the industry. At Goshen Timber Frames, clients can take the design to another company once they have paid for the plan and the proper release is signed.  Some companies will not transfer the right to build.

If you are building from a distance, is the company prepared to provide you with electronic files, online meetings, and shared folders for you, your contractor, and any other suppliers?   This is critical to a smooth design process unless you live close to the designer/builder.

Can you purchase a plan at an online plan service and adapt it to work with timber frame construction?  The short answer is “yes”.  The long answer is that some plans work well and others don’t easily become timber frames.   If you do want to purchase a plan from outside the industry, work closely with your timber frame plan designer to determine whether the plan will work as a timber frame and how the timber frame will be incorporated into the plan.  It usually works better to work with a stock timber frame plan in that case.   Custom design is always an option and should be considered if you don’t find a plan that can be easily revised for you.

Will the plans meet your local building code?  The designer/architect should work closely with an engineer registered in your state to make sure that the plans will meet/exceed all applicable codes.  At Goshen, we work with an engineer who is registered in every state.  All Goshen timber frame designs are overseen by an engineer who is experienced in timber frame and structural insulated panel construction.

Will the design fee be hourly, a flat fee, or is it part of the timber frame package?  This is an important question.  Design fees can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.

These are just a few of the questions that you should consider or ask as you move toward designing and building your timber frame home. We’ve developed our design/build process to work well for the homeowner.  At Goshen we believe in the team experience and understand the importance of making sure that the plans work for the individual. Communication is critical and the Goshen team excels in communication.

Just remember this home will be around for centuries and Build Boldly!

Five Steps in Choosing a Timber Frame Company

As you begin the design/build process, you’ll talk to one or more timber frame companies about building your timber frame home.  How those conversations go will often determine which company you work with as you move forward.   If you..or they…aren’t asking the right questions, you could miss an opportunity to work with a great company or you might end up with a company that might not work well with you.

1)  Educate yourself.  Your initial meetings will go much further if you’ve spent some time on the Internet educating yourself about the timber frame building process, styles of timber frames, and the difference between timber frames, log homes, and conventionally framed homes.  This will help you to better understand their answers in the “timber frame” context.

2)  Narrow down the companies you want to consider to two or three.   You might send off an exploratory email or make a call to a few more to help you narrow down your choices.  There are great timber frame companies all across the country.  Each one has their own “package” and business model.  The differences may be subtle or blatant, but if you look at too many, you’ll only be confused, not better served.

3)  Don’t be intimidated or insulted if they ask about your budget somewhere in the early conversations.  They aren’t doing you a favor by making you think you can build more home than you can afford.  Be frank and be willing to listen to them when they tell you that you can build within your budget, but you’ll need to make some tough decisions if you are trying to build more home than the budget will sustain.   However, if their focus seems to be on your budget and time frame and not on you and your project, you might want to think twice.

4)  Build with someone you would like if you met them outside of the timber frame context.  Designing and building a home can be stressful.  If you are working with someone that you can communicate with on a very personal level, then you are ahead of the game.

5)  Make sure that they have a system in place to share plans and work in progress with you and your builder.  Whether it is by emailing PDF files to you as updates are made or having web meetings or phone calls, determine what works for you and go with a company that is can keep things moving forward easily.

All of that said, just move forward confidently and when you build…build boldly…Bonnie Pickartz

Timber Frame Plans – Designing Your Timber Frame

Planning a new timber frame home?  You may have looked at magazines, been to home shows, perused the Internet and even visited timber frame companies.  Timber frame plans are unique.  They offer the opportunity to build a home in any style and the flexibility to define your space to fit your particular lifestyle.

Putting together a file, either electronic or paper, is a good start.  As you go through the photos and plans, a pattern will emerge.  You’ll find that you are drawn to a particular style and certain details in the floor plan. This process will allow you to focus on what appeals to you and works for you.

Don’t discount the styles of other homes in the vicinity.  Having a beautiful home that doesn’t fit with the site or local vernacular has it’s drawbacks.  Of course, timber frames can be designed in any style.

You’ll find thousands and thousands of home plans are available.   As you review them, you’ll find that there are a limited number of styles and all plans are modifications of these styles.   Most American homes are styles that have borrowed from earlier architecture and built on what works.  Details have been added and revised and architectural styles have evolved.

Your home should feel right to you.  When you drive up, you should feel comfortable and happy.  You should design your home to this end.

So you have ideas and know how you want your new home to look.  Now focus on the function of your new home plan.  The key here is to remember that “form follows function”.  Your lifestyle and how your home will work will determine the final style and size.

Whether you work with an architect or timber frame designer or choose a pre-designed timber frame plan, you can end up with a home to celebrate.   A stock plan can usually be revised economically. The advantage they offer is that much thought has been put into these plans before you viewed them.  The designer and other homeowners have worked together to develop the floor plans, homeowners with similar lifestyles and even challenges.  With these plans, you aren’t reinventing the wheel, you’re just making that wheel work better for you.

We’ll get into the details of designing floor plans and refining the style of your home in future posts.  In the meantime, just remember to Build Boldly.

Just give me a call at 828-524-8662 if you’d like to discuss your design.  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.

Green Building Notes – The Materials in Your Timber Frame Home

Choosing the materials you will use in building and finishing your timber frame home will be a critical next step. Using high quality, environmentally responsible materials is key to building a green home.  Sustainability, energy efficiency, and the impact of the products you use on the health of the homes occupants are the key elements in building your new home.

High performance products that are produced by companies committed to the environment have been and continue to be developed.  Building with regional materials is a responsible way to build with lower embodied energy.  Products that have increased durability and reduced maintenance will continue to pay off long term. Energy efficiency is important in all decisions from appliances to windows.  Be sure to use Energy Star rated components whenever possible.

As a client of Goshen Timber Frames, you will choose to build a home that is either a timber framed home wrapped in R-24 wall and R-40 polyurethane structural insulated panels, a hybrid home consisting of some timber framed areas and other areas built with the same structural insulated panels with timber roof support, or a panelized home built with structural insulated panels with timber roof support. Any of these options have given you a head start on building your home in a green, responsible fashion.

Explore the options for finishing your new home carefully.  Take your time in making these decisions.   Even when you are looking for a cost effective option, you will have many choices.

*  Durability is key to the materials and products you use.  Durable products are less likely to end up in the landfill in a few years.  The manufacturing process is very energy intensive.  The more durable, longer lasting a product is and the less maintenance it requires, the more energy it saves.

*  Gather samples so you can compare the color and quality of your choices.

* While it is comforting to buy from companies with a responsible track record and with names that we’ve heard for years, don’t rule out a newer company who is offering a product that is comparable and is getting good reviews.

*  Buying a product that is available regionally can help keep your project timeline on target.  Waiting for a special order product that has to be shipped from another country or region can cause delays.  Transportation is costly and polluting.  Locally or regionally produced materials save money and are more environmentally responsible.

*  Keep in mind the long term maintenance and longevity of the products you choose.  No matter how much you like a product, research how much time and money will be required to keep it looking good.  Will the product need to be replaced in a few years?  Will the maintenance be a drain on time and resources.

*  Recycled and salvaged building materials can add charm to your home and reduce landfill use.  Sacrificing energy and water efficiency by reusing windows and plumbing fixtures isn’t a good idea, but interior doors, moldings, cabinets, hardware, and lumber are all good choices.

*  High efficiency heating and cooling equipment, properly sized for your home and insulation values, save money and produce less pollution.  Mechanical ventilation is necessary in today’s tight homes.  Energy or heat recovery ventilators will ensure healthy indoor air.

*  Water efficient plumbing fixtures (water conserving showerheads, toilets, and faucets) save water and reduce the demand on septic systems and sewage systems.  Reducing water usage saves on the water system and reduces energy costs to heat the water.

*  Listen carefully to your own voice as you make decisions.  The input of the professionals is critical, but you and your family will live in your home.  Accept their suggestions and advice, but use only what works for you and your family.

The above items are the big picture.   The harder decisions will be smaller, more detailed, but every bit as critical to building a sustainable, energy efficient home.  Your home as a whole is the end result of many, many smaller pieces.   We will start defining energy efficient and sustainable building products early in the design/build process and will be available to help you evaluate your choices.

Building a sustainable, energy efficient timber frame home doesn’t have to be difficult and isn’t rocket science.  Just spend the time and energy necessary to make good choices and you’ll end up with a home built for generations.

And when you build…don’t forget to build boldly.

Topping Out a New Timber Frame Home

The weather cooperated and Howard and Cindy topped out their new timber frame under brisk Carolina blue skies on November 5th.  Timber frames are stunning and when the frame is standing proud, without any enclosure, it is absolutely magnificent.

This new timber frame will provide shelter for them, shelter unsurpassed in beauty and comfort.   But, for today, it just provided an amazing backdrop for their smiles.

And their smiles tell it all. They decided to build and to build boldly!