High Performance Enclosures on an 1800’s House

Recently we did a project with Black Oak Builders and Barry Price Architecture in Saugerties, NY. Interestingly for us, the majority of the project was not timber frame (though they do have a sweet little timber piece off the side of the garage that may someday house a small maple sugaring operation). No, in this case Black Oak Builders reached out to us to partner on the enclosure system for three additions to this 1800’s home; a master bedroom suite, an office/bedroom wing, and a two-story garage.

Our goal with High Performance Enclosures (HPE) is simple—to help builders achieve better building performance for their clients and to make the projects go as smoothly as possible. With our knowledge in systems building (from years in timber framing, as well as construction experience in our Finger Lakes backyard) we can bring the nuances of off-site construction to enclosure building and pre-panelization to those looking for custom solutions. Our construction team built 66 panels in about 2 weeks and headed out in a snowstorm to install the them in January. This off-site minimizes the time needed on-site, saving projects weeks and speeding up the deliverable of a finished space to a client.

The enclosure was our MartixS wall system. Built of 2×6 framing, ½ OSB, 60mm wood-fiber insulation (Steico in this case), house wrap, and vertical strapping for attachment of the siding. All designed to fit within the 8’6” shipping constraints. The Steico wood fiber insulation allows one less petroleum-based element in the system and an opportunity for carbon sequestration—both pieces that help our buildings carry a load in slowing climate change. Used with the Mento Plus house wrap (a weather resistant barrier that is extremely waterproof and air tight while allowing the wall to dry to the exterior) and the tightness of the panels themselves, the performance of these new spaces should make a sizable impact to the client’s comfort, HVAC costs, and do a favor for our planet.

From a timeline standpoint there are advantages for off-site enclosure construction as well. “Framing of all three structures was achieved in six days. This significantly reduced the schedule timeline, as well as the inconvenience to the owners living on the site. These are not small considerations from an owner’s standpoint,” says Barry Price.

As with all of our projects, there had to be a twist. Because of the tight site, the panels were delivered to a parking lot up at the main road and shuttled to the site on smaller trailer. We then strategically began installation of the master bedroom before raising the garage walls which restricted access to the back of the site with equipment. Then, in order to allow Black Oak Builders to delay demolition of the existing stacked stone walls until they were closer to having the new additions dried in, we left off on installing the tie-in walls for when construction was a little further along.

To us, it’s just another day and the challenges are what keep projects interesting. If you have a custom project you’re looking and you’re looking for an enclosure partner, be sure to give us a call or email and let’s chat about what’s possible.

A Hudson Valley Modern Barn Timber Frame Home

Inspired by barns familiar to the New York countryside, this long, linear home situated on rural acreage overlooks the rolling hills of the Hudson Valley. Designed by Amalgam Studio of NYC and built by Black Oak Builders, the cadence of a series of repeating trusses define the high, light-filled, and airy interior canvas.

“The open setting and the rural, agricultural, and historic nature of the property brought us very quickly to the concept of a “modern barn”, explains the project architect, Ben Albury, Principal of Amalgam Studio. “I researched vernacular barns of the area and looked at three historic forms in particular: the New World Dutch Barn, the English Barn (or 3-Bay barn) and the New England Barn. These contextual archetypes informed the overall form.”

 

read more

Putting Children First: RCN Timber Pavilion Classroom

As we’re looking forward to more of the holiday season, we wanted to share on a local community project we are thankful to have been part of: the Rochester Childfirst Network (RCN) Capital Campaign.

We practice the Triple Bottom Line business model of People, Planet, and Profit, putting equal importance on each with the belief that the mission of a for-profit business shouldn’t solely focus on profit. If sustainability is about benefitting people and planet in the long-term, community engagement is a vital component. We’re stronger when we work together. The RCN Capitol Campaign has rallied many companies and with good reason as this organization has been supporting the education and welfare of children in urban Rochester, NY since 1857.

The effort to revitalize and create “Natural Play” for the children of RCN an outdoor pavilion/classroom was conceptualized and developed collaboratively with support by local partners including Broccolo Tree & Lawn Care, IDEX Health & Science, and Barton & Loguidice. The outdoor pavilion/classroom will act as the centerpiece of RCN’s backyard play environment, a new initiative to incorporate more natural, accessible play opportunities.

Marsha Dumka, RCN’s interim Executive Director said, “This new pavilion will provide endless possibilities for true outdoor learning for our children. During the raising the children talked about all the ways they could use the pavilion in the spring – talent show, play, art studio, classroom for messy STEM experiments, picnics. We can’t wait!”

read more

Cottage Life: High Craft, Low Impact

The owners of this timber frame lakeside retreat enjoyed the original lake farmhouse on the site for many years. When it became apparent that their beloved lake house had outlived its use, they made the bittersweet decision to deconstruct it in favor of a new home.

The land, the lake, and home’s impact there was a driving force in the design. Our design team started with respecting the local vernacular and maintaining existing trees and then included advanced enclosure and mechanical systems, FSC-certified® and reclaimed wood flooring and siding, roofing made of recycled wood fiber and rubber, and a geothermal heat system—all resulting in energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact.

In keeping with local vernacular, the road side facia of this cottage home is modest and welcoming.

From the road, the home is quaint and charming, modest in scale much like the neighboring cottages and the original home. The garage and parking area are accessible via a sloping drive, resting a level above the lake shore, neatly tucked away from the passerby on the lake road above while allowing a closer entry point to the home–especially appreciated after a grocery run. Entering from the road places one at an open sitting area and staircase. Sometimes referred to as an “upside down” design, this road level has guest bedrooms and bath as well as the master suite. A gently curving staircase funnels those entering at the street level downwards to the public shared spaces.

read more

It’s About the Journey. Stairs: furniture that flows.

Transitioning from public to private space, from one level to another, from inside to outside: the staircase. We enjoy the creativity that can be expressed in the functional and essential staircase. Stairs are like furniture that flows, curving, lifting, descending; solid, floating, short, or lengthy…and always dependable.

Our fine woodworkers and our designers think of stairs as sculptural and architectural elements. Often a focal point in the home the options for customization are many. Materials, shape, location, and integration with the frame.

The stairs play a large design element and integration with the frame in this NJ home.

read more