Interview with an Architect: Richard Brown, AIA

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Richard Brown AIA, founder of RBA, about a newly completed project in Portland, Oregon. The modern, yet traditionally inspired design has a reclaimed timber frame core combined with stick built spaces. Nestled along the hillside with views of Mt. Hood, Richard explained that this will be the main home for a creative couple—a modern house with traditional queues. We conversed about this project and the broader driving forces behind his architectural creativity:  

What can you tell us about this project’s build site?
It’s a really beautiful site in Portland, which are getting to be rare in major cities as our population grows. This site had a home removed a few years back in anticipation of a development which never happened. There are great views to Mt. Hood and good access to sunlight. The homeowner is an avid gardener, so we intentionally sat the home into the shade away from where sun falls to leave space for gardens and a meadow area.

read more

The Big Finish – Part 7 in the Welcome Home Series

Timber Home Living magazine continues coverage of the Olsen family home, a reclaimed timber frame raised in 2014. The Olsen’s are nearly complete with their timber frame retreat home near the Berkshires. They’ve combined a mixture of materials and custom fine woodworking for a striking and modern tone. Read more:

the-big-finish-austerlitz-build-part-6-pg-1the-big-finish-austerlitz-build-part-6-pg-4 the-big-finish-austerlitz-build-part-6-pg-2   the-big-finish-austerltiz-build-part-6-pg-3

In Their Words: Sal and Jackie, Canandaigua, NY

Last week, we shared an article from Rochester Magazine all about Sal and Jackie’s timber frame project in Canandaigua, NY. This lakeside home is the second timber frame we’ve raised for a couple on Canandaigua Lake. It is crafted of reclaimed Douglas fir timbers sourced by Pioneer Millworks from the deconstructed 1930’s United Embroidery factory in New Jersey. The timbers were smooth finished and treated with oil to bring out the natural patina for a rustic, yet refined look. We recreated many of the details from the homeowners’ first home, including all interior doors, crafted from reclaimed wine vat stock. Other details include reclaimed oak flooring (also from Pioneer Millworks), a live edge island top, mantle/fireplace surround, custom built-ins for the great room and office, hand-crafted entry door, and bunk beds by NEWwoodworks.

Here’s what the homeowners Sal and Jackie had to say:

“Everyone we worked with at New Energy Works was warm and professional. We would not have the special home we have today without the guidance and workmanship of the wonderful N.E.W. teams. ”

Check out a case study written about the home here.

canandaigua_lake_timberframe_great_room

 

 

canandaigua_timberframe_raising

New Home, Deep Roots

Rochester Magazine featured one of our local, reclaimed timber frame homes in a recent edition of the publication. This lakeside home is the second timber frame we’ve raised for a couple on Canandaigua Lake. It is crafted of reclaimed Douglas fir timbers sourced by Pioneer Millworks from the deconstructed 1930’s United Embroidery factory in New Jersey. The timbers were smooth finished and treated with oil to bring out the natural patina for a rustic, yet refined look. We recreated many of the details from the homeowners’ first home, including all interior doors, crafted from reclaimed wine vat stock. Other details include reclaimed oak flooring (also from Pioneer Millworks), a live edge island top, mantle/fireplace surround, custom built-ins for the great room and office, hand-crafted entry door, and bunk beds by NEWwoodworks.

Read their take on the project below.

Lecesse - Roc Magazine, Page 1 Lecesse - Roc Magazine, Page 2 Lecesse - Roc Magazine, Page 3 Lecesse - Roc Magazine, Page 4

The Persuader, aka: Beetle, Mallet, Hammer

In honor of naming our blog, we wanted to post about The Beetle. No, we’re not talking insects. We’re talking about the giant wooden hammer that appears at every raising.

Beetle wooden malletWe have several beetle mallets around the shop all weighing in between 20 to 30 pounds, sized around 12″ x 12″ x 6″. This is one serious hammer (or mallet, whatever you prefer). A vital tool, beetles are used to help seat joinery together, shift posts or beams, and on occasion drive in pegs. The beetle has various names throughout the timber frame industry, most commonly the “persuader” or the “commander”.

(At my very first raising I was asked to pass the persuader over. Once I knew what ‘the persuader’ was, I reached for the handle with confidence and pulled. I was astonished when it barely moved. It was an oak beetle, weighing about 35 pounds, which is reasonable…if you’re expecting the weight of it. I was saved from a second effort by a nearby timber framer who hefted it up easily and handed it over.)

master timber framer with beetle

Master timber framer Mike Gullace makes handling the beetle look easy from the ground or on a timber. Notice the angle on the end of the beetle head? Part of crafting a custom beetle is in the details and some feel the angle cut helps achieve better weight distribution when swinging the hammer.

Swinging wooden beetle mallet

It takes a good bit of muscle to swing the beetle as Will demonstrates during a west coast raising. This view also shows the how the handle is driven through the head of the mallet for a friction fit, much like a pickaxe.

read more