Your Dream Home Starts Here

Pre­pare for the road ahead by ed­u­cat­ing your­self on avail­able op­tions.

Timber Home Living - - Annual Buyer's Guide -

Dream­ing of a tim­ber home of your own? Cre­at­ing a home from scratch is a sig­nif­i­cant un­der­tak­ing, one that mer­its a lit­tle re­search, which this mag­a­zine will help pro­vide. For much of the process, build­ing a tim­ber home is nearly the same as build­ing a stan­dard stick-frame cus­tom home. But there are a few key dif­fer­ences to keep in mind.

AD­DRESS YOUR OP­TIONS

In gen­eral, tim­ber homes fall within a few dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories, based on how the tim­bers are used. All tim­ber homes show­case the beauty of the wood, which adds abun­dant char­ac­ter to a home’s in­te­rior.

Tra­di­tional tim­ber frames are fash­ioned by skilled crafts­men who carve the tim­bers’ in­ter­lock­ing wood joints by hand or with the aid of power tools.

In some homes, a sys­tem of post and beams form the struc­ture. These tim­bers might be fas­tened to­gether with metal hard­ware, plates or rods.

Other tim­ber homes fea­ture heavy wood trusses as part of their ceil­ing struc­ture. These trusses might sup­port a roof load or might be in­stalled just for looks.

Hy­brid homes com­bine the beauty of tim­ber fram­ing in some ar­eas of the home with the use of stan­dard con­struc­tion in other parts of the home. De­sign­ing a hy­brid home can help keep costs down.

GET TO KNOW THE PLAY­ERS

Be­fore your home project is com­plete, many peo­ple will have con­trib­uted to it. Here are just a few key play­ers:

The loan of­fi­cer you work with should be able to help guide you through the process of build­ing a home. Re­mem­ber that you might need a large chunk of your con­struc­tion loan right at the be­gin­ning to make a de­posit on your tim­ber home.

Your real-es­tate agent will help you find the right spot for your home. If you’re buy­ing an un­de­vel­oped lot or ru­ral acreage, you should work with an agent who is ex­pe­ri­enced in land sales. (For more in­for­ma­tion on pick­ing your prop­erty, turn to page 24.)

Per­haps the most im­por­tant de­ci­sion you make will be the choice of a

tim­ber pro­ducer to man­u­fac­ture your tim­ber frame. Once you start re­search­ing com­pa­nies, you may dis­cover that dif­fer­ent tim­ber com­pa­nies pro­vide a wide va­ri­ety of prod­ucts and ser­vices. Some tim­ber-frame com­pa­nies of­fer com­plete de­sign and gen­eral con­tract­ing ser­vices. Some of­fer de­sign and fab­ri­ca­tion ser­vices only. Some just de­sign and erect the tim­ber frame it­self but do not han­dle over­all con­struc­tion ser­vices. De­cide if you want to assem­ble and man­age your own team or whether you would pre­fer to hire a con­trac­tor to take on these tasks.

With great in­put from you, your

de­signer or ar­chi­tect will cre­ate the plans for your home. Your de­signer might be on staff at a tim­ber com­pany, or you might choose an in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sional. Ei­ther way, the per­son de­sign­ing your home needs to work closely with your tim­ber pro­ducer to make the fram­ing and the home de­sign co­he­sive. If you choose to work with a de­signer/ ar­chi­tect who is not a part of your tim­ber com­pany or if the tim­ber com­pany does not of­fer de­sign ser­vices, make sure that the de­signer un­der­stands tim­ber-frame sys­tems, how they work and how to de­sign them. It is best, how­ever, to have this per­son work di­rectly with a tim­ber com­pany early on in the de­sign process to avoid any du­pli­ca­tion of ser­vices and to en­sure the in­te­gra­tion of tim­ber-fram­ing de­tails into your plans.

Your gen­eral con­trac­tor’s job is to take your home from start to fin­ish. He or she co­or­di­nates all the sub­con­trac­tors who will work on your home, or­ders ma­te­ri­als, meets with in­spec­tors and keeps you ap­prised of the bud­get. Dur­ing the con­struc­tion process, the con­trac­tor will man­age your job site, su­per­vise all the work­ers in­stalling plumb­ing, roof­ing and elec­tri­cal ser­vices, and much more. These work­ers may be on the gen­eral con­trac­tor’s staff, or they may be hired as sub­con­trac­tors.

You can be­gin your search for all these key peo­ple by look­ing at the di­rec­to­ries and ads found in this spe­cial is­sue. Al­ways re­mem­ber to ask po­ten­tial team mem­bers for ref­er­ences. Go to a job site and visit a tim­ber pro­ducer’s shop, if pos­si­ble. Ask to see a de­signer’s com­pleted homes and talk to the home­own­ers about the de­sign process. Lis­ten to your gut: You will work with each of these peo­ple for many months,

so make sure your per­son­al­i­ties and vi­sions for the project mesh.

DE­FINE YOUR STYLE

What­ever aes­thetic you pre­fer for your dream home, you can find a tim­ber style that will set the tone. Pay at­ten­tion to the pho­tos of homes in this guide. You’ll dis­cover that you fa­vor some more than oth­ers, so note what you like about them. Fol­low up these ini­tial lean­ings by con­sult­ing other books and tim­ber pro­duc­ers’ web sites. You’ll be­gin to hone in on a clear di­rec­tion for your home and its tim­bers. From there, you should com­pile an on­line folder or notebook of ideas, in­clud­ing clip­pings, that demon­strate the lay­outs, styles, color com­bi­na­tions, fur­nish­ings, ap­pli­ances and fin­ishes that ap­peal to you.

If you like the clean lines of con­tem­po­rary or mod­ern styles, you might choose tim­bers that have clear grain, sim­ple lines and very lit­tle carv­ings or dec­o­ra­tion. If a dream home for you means a coun­try or rus­tic style, look for a barn-style tim­ber frame or one with hand-hewn tim­bers or round log posts and beams. Old-World style might call for the hand­crafted feel of carv­ings and or­na­men­tal tim­bers. If the Mis­sion or Arts & Crafts style moves you, you will find many tim­ber pro­duc­ers who have cre­ated homes in those styles from coast to coast.

Don’t have a clear fa­vorite? A beau­ti­ful frame can be the uni­fy­ing theme for an eclec­tic style home that buzzes with vis­ual in­ter­est.

DO YOUR RE­SEARCH

You will have plenty of home­work to do be­fore you break ground. For­tu­nately, you will find lots of in­for­ma­tion in the many re­sources avail­able.

On­line, start at tim­ber home liv­ing. com to find more in­for­ma­tion in our ar­ti­cles, back is­sues and photo gal­leries.

In per­son, visit home shows (th­el­o­gand­tim­ber­home­show.com) geared to­ward tim­ber homes, or check com­pany web­sites for open house dates or frame rais­ings in your area.

At­tend a work­shop or sem­i­nar. The Log & Tim­ber Home Shows also of­fers a Univer­sity course for peo­ple who want to learn more about the process. Many tim­ber com­pa­nies also of­fer ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties and tim­ber­frame schools sprin­kled around the coun­try to lead stu­dents through the steps of build­ing a home or carv­ing tim­ber-frame join­ery.

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