California Raising: From the Homeowners

We offer our sincere thanks to Tom & Karen for their thoughtful and touching letter of appreciation–and for allowing us to share it here. No one can tell the story of their home better than those who dream it, live it, and love in it…

To all those who were a part of our timber frame home:

This letter is long overdue. Recent events have kept us pre-occupied. This evening as we did out traditional walk through of our home, our eyes gravitated (as usual) to the superb timber frame work you completed.

We would like to share our experience with you in the hope you would share it with your future clients.

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Fine Crafted Happiest Hours

A short walk across the parking lot from the main office is the shop for our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks. While the walk stretches the legs, wandering through their space feeds every type of woodcraft obsession. On a recent visit to the shop, I was drawn to a thick live-edge slab, smoothly finished and awaiting shipment to its new home as a bar top. This led me to Rob, manager of NEWwoodworks for a chat about how this group of skilled woodworkers arrives at happy hour creations:

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Sweeping Spans for Meditation

Kim Son Meditation Center, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist place of repose and worship, will be taking delivery of their 10 glulaminated and steel trusses very soon. The trusses are just over 60’ long, and 16’ high. As seen in the accompanying images, the community’s goal was to express a sweeping sense of structure and space, perhaps a bit like clouds moving across an overhead sky.

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‘Overgood’ Revisited

Maxine, Jake, and Dexter trying out the ‘driveway’ of The Vermont Street Project in Portland, 2008.

In August of 2008, my wife Maxine, our son Jake, Dexter the dog and Annie the cat arrived in our new home of Portland, Oregon with a plan to open a west coast New Energy Works Timberframers.  In retrospect, the idea that we could just pick up everything, move to a city across this big country, find schooling, the grocery store, a place to start a new timber frame shop, customers, design and build our new home, and still be a solid co-worker and leader to our headquarters back in the beautiful Finger Lakes of NY seems a bit outrageous. It was. In the Fall of 2008 the economy was in the biggest downward spiral we’ve seen in our lives, so what at first seemed hard quickly became a challenge of far more epic proportions.

Looking at the backyard. Our build site was on a flag parcel in SW Portland, a lucky find at a time when land was hard to come by.

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