If you mention “timber frame buildings” today, most people associate the term exclusively with large and dramatic, resort-style homes. While that style of home is undoubtedly a beautiful application for timber framing, this association doesn’t scratch the surface of the full spectrum of timber frame opportunity and history.
The guesthouse at the Day House property (check out more on the Day House property here) will be a timber frame. As an historic property – in the midst of a Victorian neighborhood in Durango, Colo. – I’ve received lots of inquiries as to what the final aesthetic will be.
The answer: The exterior will perfectly fit the Victorian tone of the area and match the historical accuracy of the main house. The interior will do the same, with the added aesthetic bonus of having the option to leave the beautiful wood beams exposed. (Come by and check it out for yourself at our Timber Frame Raising Party on Saturday, June 11. Check back with this blog for more info.)
Bottom line: a timber frame construction allows for a wide array of stylistic options.
Timber framing has been around for over 2000 years. There are examples in nearly every culture, from the most basic of structures (upright timbers surrounded with animal pelt) to the most ornate (temples and cathedrals).
One of the earliest surviving architectural feats of timber framing is the Kiyomizu-dera Temple, in Kyoto, Japan. The original structure dates to 798 A.D., with a significant addition and restoration in 1633.
Timber framing in Europe took hold in the Middle Ages (approximately 500-1500 A.D.). In the wet European climate, this construction method prevented wood exposure to ground moisture. The practice was most popular in Northern Europe, namely northern France, Germany and Britain.
In Germany, the timber frame method of construction was so prevalent, there is now a recognized “German Timber Frame Road.” It runs the length of the country, linking towns with outstanding examples of modern and historical timber frame homes.
Perhaps one of the most famous timber frame examples, worldwide, is London’s Westminster Abbey.
In North America, settlers found abundant timber and the method was widespread. Small homes and great estates used timber frame construction. Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, is a timber frame.
Today, with an increasing appreciation for homes that “fit” into the physical, historical and cultural tone of their surroundings, timber frame structures are making a comeback. Size and style are limited only by your imagination.
I work with Woodhouse Timber Frame Company. While we regularly build custom timber frame homes, take a look at the affordable Smartwood Plans, too. Beginning at 300 square feet, there is a size and a style for everyone. Even if your dream is to design a fully custom package, these Smartwood Plans serve as great inspiration.