Gathering Lodge: Game Time!

State College, PA: Homeowners Jim and Cheryl came to us with a dream home request: design and craft a home for two which could also easily accommodate much larger gatherings with family and friends. The resulting simple and classic cruciform plan for their hybrid timber frame home fits the couple while incorporating space—inside and out—for others.

Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

Jim and Cheryl, their children, and their friends attended the same university near State College in PA where game season is a great reason to join together. The couple found a site nestled at the base of a long rise to the mountains on one side, and open to expansive views into Nittney Valley on the other. “We wanted to take advantage of the views and offer additional space for intensive entertaining to flow outside,” explained Ty Allen, our design/build manager. “The result is nearly 2,000 sq ft of outdoor deck, porch, and patio space in addition to interior living areas.”

Screen porches and a terrace for grilling connect to the fire pit stone patio area which in turn is tied back to the rec area with connecting landscaping. The lower level of the home offers guest and rec space with overflow sleeping ready in the bunk house over the garage. Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

Football season brings weekends of fervent pre-tailgate time with Jim and Cheryl’s new timber frame home serving as big game headquarters. Kitchen, living, and dining areas flow as one—and can expand into a covered screen porch for the traditional seasonal gatherings. The wide expanse of space is possible thanks to a parallel chord truss with metal struts which spans the gables. “The parallel chord truss expresses the volume of the space while lowering the height somewhat and drawing the eye to overlook the valley.”

The parallel chord truss with metal struts helps create the open space in the common areas spanning between the gables to support the roof forms as they come together. Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

A closer view of the parallel chord truss before lighting was installed.

Parties can easily spread from inside the timber frame home’s common areas out to a large porch connected to a grilling area. Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

A skilled hobbyist woodworker, Jim stopped in our shop to sand and work a few timbers for the frame alongside our timber framers. He also snagged a not-so-perfect timber for a woodworking project. The result: a Douglas fir timber vanity!

Jim sent us this image saying, “This is the sink built with the “defect” timber!”

The wine room is another space where Jim applied his woodworking skills using wood his brother supplied:

“We are fortunate to develop a relationship with each client and their enthusiasm is often infectious,” shared Ty. “Jim and Cheryl were excited to be involved in the whole process from design to raising to final details.”

In time-honored tradition, at the end of the raising a pine bough was tacked to the highest point of the frame in honor of the trees used for the structure and is also thought to bring health and happiness to the inhabitants. With Cheryl steadying the ladder, Jim headed up and nailed the bough in place before giving onlookers a hearty thumbs up.

Raising days are exciting, a culmination of months of effort and years of dreaming, often full of smiles. Above: Ty’s youngest son joined him on-site to see the frame go up and discovered some fun new-to-him tools.

Our build team followed our timber framers to Jim and Cheryl’s site, installing one of our High Performance Enclosure systems around the frame. “Optimizing comfort, health, and energy efficiency has always been the standard for our building enclosures at NEW,” Ty said. “We’re continuing to evolve our efforts with what we’re calling HPEz—we’ll share more on that as we move forward this year.”

Pre-fabricated walls include a “smart” vapor barrier system to create the perfect airtight and watertight membrane that allows vapor to pass in either direction.

T&G was topped by SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels), both installed by our build team under bright summer sun.

Photo (C) Scott Hemenway

The New Energy team was a pleasure to work with. We started the design from scratch and the process yielded a first iteration that was close to the final design! Ty and the team helped us work through all the tweaks to the design so that we got exactly what we wanted. We feel lucky to live in our house. We intend to keep doing so until our kids force us to move into an old age home!” – Jim & Cheryl

“From design through enclosure, our teams enjoyed collaborating with Jim and Cheryl,” shared Ty. Thanks Jim and Cheryl for the kind words and especially for sharing your dream home project with us!

If you’re interested in seeing more projects, check out our case studies. Want a little daily infusion of timber framing? Our Postcard of the Day is a good place to start. We’re always open to questions; let us know if there’s something we can help answer.