Welcome Home: Crafting Doors of Distinction

Doors are the transitional pieces, the welcoming elements, the room dividers, the barriers against intrusion—be it weather or other diversions. A highly-crafted door is designed to function flawlessly and be in service for decades.

While chatting about the overall presence a home has—how it speaks to family, visitors, and neighbors alike—entry doors became a pointed topic. This sparked a more in-depth conversation with our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks general manager, Rob, and Jay, the team’s door guru.

Rob (left) and Jay (right) talk custom wooden entry doors.

Entry doors, barn doors, interior doors, flat track doors—NEWwoodworks crafts them all. What drives passion for wooden entry doors? Aesthetics, customization, tradition…Jay explained, “You can do a lot more with wood than you can with metal or fiberglass. Yes, they can at times be more expensive and may require more maintenance, but that door is going to be the first thing your guests will see and touch when you welcome them into your home. Wooden doors feel warmer, they shut with a solid feel, and there is so much more character and story in wood than any other material.”

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Lake Living on Allen’s Point: Raising the Timber Frame

Onlookers huddled in their coats and chatted excitedly on a cool breezy day in upstate New York while our craftsmen raised the frame for Jim and Tina’s home on Cayuga Lake. Multiple generations of the family were joined by a few guests at the site. Seeing the timbers come together and their home take shape brought plenty of smiles from Jim, Tina, their children, and grandchildren.

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A Community Raising: The Benedictine Brewery, Mt. Angel, Oregon

I had taken to saying this project was moving at “monastery time” for Mount Angel Abbey’s Benedictine Brewery. Meaning, of course, it was progressing at its own pace, and not overly concerned with a particular speed or efficiency the secular and commercial world might expect. It had been three years since Chris Jones, the project manager and enterprise guy for the monks and I had started talking, excited at the idea of doing a traditional timber frame raising with people from the monastery, the community of Mt. Angel, friends and coworkers, and more. I had this crazy vision of 50 or so monks in flowing red robes with pike poles and ropes.

On a recent Saturday, it (almost) all came true. No robes. This was likely a good thing.

One hundred volunteers gathered early on November 11th, listened thoughtfully to a strategy introduction, a safety meeting, and got at it. November in Oregon is dicey at best, but I really laughed as I watched the weather forecast. Here’s a screenshot from a day or so ahead of time:

I couldn’t help but acknowledge the amazing timing of sunny weather to some of the brothers. “We worked really hard on that one,” they laughed.

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Find the Beetle: Cayuga Lake, NY

Earlier this week we spotted the elusive beetle mallet at the raising of Jim and Tina’s timber frame hybrid home on Cayuga Lake in New York:

Interestingly, though it looks like sunset, it was 2pm when this image was taken. The odd cloudy-yet-warm-and-windy Fall day and low angle of the sun created some unexpected light along the shore.

Timber framer Bruce made quick work of persuading a beam into place with this trusty mallet:

Where will this tool appear next? Perhaps in a town near you!

Custom Crafted At the Heart of the Home

In a previous post we talked about ‘island living: pull up a stool’. Kitchen islands are a popular spot for wood tops, but what about the overall kitchen materials and design? What considerations are made to keep the chef(s) connected with family and guests? What about  storage space? Wood species and finishes? Rob, GM of our fine woodworking division, NEWwoodworks, and Andrew, interiors specialist in our design group, offered some insights.

“Why custom?” Rob clarified before answering: “We like to tailor the kitchen to exactly what the client wants and needs. We can match, and hopefully enhance, the way they cook, serve, eat, entertain and live.”

Kitchen islands—central for gathering, food, and when necessary a spot to perch for a great photo op as Jonathan demonstrates!

Kitchens are often considered the heart of the home. Andrew shared a little history: “Interestingly enough the kitchen has gone full-circle in the lifespan of our country. In the span of 200 years we’ve gone from one room cabins where gathering around the hearth was simply a way of life, to the affluent days of the to-be-left-unseen butler’s pantry and galley kitchen separate from the dining/social areas of the home, to a revival of the central hearth concept appearing today in the form of ‘open plan living’.”

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