Circle in a Square

The broad stroke design of this home harkens to sap houses and agricultural structures of the Northeast and the flare of mountain homes for a balance of rugged and modern aesthetics. Forms evoke the traditional, such as the clerestory and the cylindrical stair tower but are tempered within via the non-traditional great room space and helical, modern stairs.

Transom windows express the Northeast vibe but are combined with big expanses of glass reminiscent of western mountain homes.

“Often I find the most beautiful designs are when you can see the function of a structure. I enjoy thinking of a balance of the purpose of a structure and function, and how the builders achieve that goal,” shared Shannon, homeowner of the Circle in a Square project. “I enjoy seeing the inner workings of things. That’s why I love timber frame structures. Take a home and its many reasons for being; there is an endless way of accomplishing the goal. You need a roof and walls and other parts and ways for them to be held up and attached. The timber frame is probably one of the most unique ways of showing how that can be done.”

Timberframes manifest a balance between the wholesome power of wood the beauty of what can be done with it through the craft and skill of the joinery and embellishments.

Timberframes manifest a balance between the wholesome power of wood, the beauty of what can be done with it, through the craft and skill of the joinery and embellishments.

Ty Allen, AIA, our Design and Construction General Manager explained, “The craft of traditional timber framing with mortise and tenon joinery was key to this home, particularly in the main living areas. The site itself encouraged main valley views with secondary western views of the woods. It was right for the desired northeast and mountain aesthetics. For the exterior, we wanted to respect the New England vernacular but bring in some rugged balance to the modern. Materials, as well as structural forms of the silo-like stair and clerestory, played a role in achieving this.”

Paramount to the overall plan was a centralized living space where the family of five could eat, relax, and entertain with enough elbow room to be comfortable but not overly cavernous.

The ‘circle in a square’ idea for this living area began with pure circle and square forms. “It developed into complex, compound three-dimensional forms to create a basket-like condition of structure overhead, embracing those within the great room,” continued Ty.

Shannon added: “The result is just stunning. It stops everyone dead in their tracks. I spend hours getting lost in the great room. Almost every time I look at it I’m finding something new and amazing.”

The resulting 36’ x 36’ great room is characterized by its “circle in a square” timber frame that is the core to the overall basket-like structure.

Ty further explained the design: “Lower volumes are created, and dimensionality is woven in, with arched timber brackets and curving lines. The curves and arches were realized with a combination of double sawn solid timbers and grain-matched glulams.”

A combination of solid, glulaminated and grain-matched curved timbers, and integrated steel with multiple arched brackets and bracing exemplify the ‘circle in a square’.

A combination of solid, glulaminated and grain-matched curved timbers, and integrated steel with multiple arched brackets and bracing exemplify the ‘circle in a square’.

Frames can be fascinating, as Shannon explains “I often look at just one corner, letting my thoughts run wild thinking of the how’s and whys.”

Shannon continued, “New Energy Works is amazing at integrating unique joinery with a timeless medium of wood leaving you wondering ‘how could this have been done?’”

Our timber framers crafted the grain matched curves from single timbers, sliced to malleable layers, affixed to one another and shaped on the rack.

The home employs a high-efficiency enclosure system and natural materials, including site-harvested stone. On the site the frame is situated to take in views while maintaining seclusion and quite privacy to allow the family respite from the stresses of the outside world.

Ty shared that in the future “A few other buildings are set to be fitted to the site including a timber frame barn and an adjacent garage with pool house. The community of structures continues to evolve.”

Shannon captured this happy image, saying “I cannot imagine a day when I will stop smiling at this.”

To see more pictures of this project, visit our case study. If you’re interested in talking about your timber frame home project, reach out to us today.

The main entry introduces visitors to the wood, stone, and steel elements that are integrated throughout the home.

The main entry introduces visitors to the wood, stone, and steel elements that are integrated throughout the home.