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.

The Commons

Many of our clients want a connected space that works well as the living room, kitchen and dining area, and are looking for this in a more intimate volume than some of the bigger great rooms we often see in timber framing and other large houses. We call this the Commons. Done well, it can feel just as comfortable when two sit down to read for the evening or twelve come for Easter dinner.

The Commons_THL April 2016

Net-Zero Timber Frame Homes

Timber frames express structure as craft. We love that. They are also a natural fit for energy saving designs. This is great for the Earth and for money-saving empathies. We’ve challenged ourselves to achieve Net-Zero in energy use, or as close to it as we can get, for every project without compromising design.


Case Study: Lakeside Charm on the Cliff

Years of dreaming and planning culminated in Tom and Maureen’s lakeside home. Situated on a steep slope, down a drive with several switchbacks, the site was both challenging and exciting to our construction group. Porches and decks welcome family and friends to enjoy lake views from outside, while reclaimed flooring from Pioneer Millworks and custom cabinetry by NEWwoodworks offer warm elegance inside. The design takes advantage of the site with large windows and walk-out lake access on the lower level.

Location: Naples, NY
Architect/Builder: New Energy Works
Size: 3,320 sq ft

View the entire case study here.


The porte cochère of Tom and Maureen’s home has become a popular gathering space during parties and large family functions.


Inside the home, the great room offers intimate volumes while capturing views of the trees and lake outside.


Crafted by NEWwoodworks, the cherry cabinetry will continue to deep in tone and character as it naturally ages.



New Energy Works, Pioneer Millworks, NEWwoodworks folks

Folks from each of our companies and groups gathered outside the porch of our Farmington, NY headquarters for a quick photo.

Welcome to our blog, a glimpse of the internal workings and details of timberframing, design, and woodworking!

Nearly three decades ago we started a small timber frame company. Today, along with our sister company Pioneer Millworks, we employ nearly 100 designers, timberwrights, engineers, craftspeople, and community members. We’re excited to bring viewpoints and ideas from our various co-workers and internal groups – we even have plans to post a few timber framing explanations (in laymen’s terms) from our engineers – to this space!

Together, our groups design and build some of the most lyrical and efficient timber frames in the industry, using reclaimed timbers, environmentally responsible practices, and state-of-the-art technology and software. Through the following weeks, months, and dare we say ‘years’, we’ll explore the pieces of the mortise and tenon puzzle, learn about design, and discover the art of fine woodworking through words and images from our folks.

Read on, sign up, join us on facebook, twitter, or our enewsletter, and always be sure to share your thoughts and comments.

Thanks for reading!

To kick things off, here’s a little editorial titled “It’s about the House” from Timber Home Living.

Our Farmington NY Timber Frame Office Raising

Back in 1997, with slightly fewer crew members, we raised the frame for our office in Farmington NY. We connected it to an old bowling alley which we converted into our mill and shop. Reuse: we live it and love it!