Nestled in Vermont

vermont timber frame rendering apr 2017

In our experience, homes are most successful when they adapt, age, and grow with their inhabitants. It’s always pleasing when we can plan ahead for changes, such as transitioning a weekend vacation space to full-time home. Hank and Julie have given us such an opportunity. The couple has a delightful build site in Fayston, VT and enlisted our team to design their vacation home, which will eventually become their full-time retirement retreat.

Sublime views of Slidebrook Basin between north and south ski areas of Sugarbush Resort guided the overall home orientation, and specifically the great room layout, for Hank and Julie’s project.

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Careful consideration was also given to the traditional Vermont farmhouse vernacular. The design acknowledges this aesthetic with a main gable roofline that intersects with an asymmetrical salt box gable roofline. It incorporates the couple’s desire for mountain-rustic style with mixed exterior materials and subtle timber elements. The corner of the home’s “L” shaped layout is defined with a stair tower that has evenly stacked windows and will feature shou sugi ban siding.

The stair tower anchors the corner of the home's "L" shaped layout.

The stair tower anchors the corner of the home’s “L” shaped layout.

With a combination of woodlands and open agricultural space, the site will allow the home to be set partially within the trees at the end of a curving drive through open land. A banked garage is angled into the hillside, giving the front of the home a modest street-side facade.

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Meeting individual needs is always a design driver which, for this project, lead our team to incorporate a craft room on the lower level walk-out. This space was a must-have to support Julie’s non-profit and grassroots organization, Sewpportive Friends. The group creates kits vital to feminine hygiene for young girls and women in Zimbabwe; a necessity for both health and education. We can’t tell the story as well as the Sewpportive website and blog. Julie will be headed back to Zimbabwe with a team this July to distribute to more schools and villages. We’re excited for their continued success.

sewpportive web

Hank and Julie are avid outdoor enthusiasts leading to another need: storage. Large storage on the lower level will be used for housing/maintenance of skis, hiking gear, canoes, snowshoes, and other equipment. Walk-out access eases the transition to/from nature with or without gear.

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“We are having a very enjoyable time working with Ty, Pete, and the rest of the NEW crew. Their focus on creating a relationship with us, rather than making a transaction, is evident in their overall approach to the design/build work: from their site visit to our VT property, our trip to the NEW facility in Farmington, NY, and all additional communications. They are inspired, honest and professional. They understand that attention to what WE want in our house is of utmost importance, and are happy to share their knowledge and experience by providing creative ideas that we could explore or not.” – Hank and Julie.

An overall open floorplan ensures a relaxed, easy, flow when family and friends visit to sample local Vermont brews and views. It also allows for commanding views of the surrounding landscape from all common spaces.

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We sat down with Pete, lead designer for Hank and Julie’s home, who explained that a key to open floor plans is accentuating areas with details, often flooring or in this case, with timber. Overall the timber frame directs views and differentiates spaces. In Hank and Julie’s home, two keyed beams flank the dining room and kitchen island (image below). This change in ‘ceiling’ visually separates the spaces from the great room which features canted queen post trusses with curved bottom chords (image above). Pete continued to verbally draw the home, describing flitch beams, a combination of steel and timber, used in the lower level to create a larger clearspan while defining the circulation of space from the family room. Moving up two levels, he noted that guest rooms have bunk loft beds over the closets, a fun feature that will likely be a fascinating novelty for kids and adults alike.

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Other build details include roof SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) and our Matrix Wall enclosure. We’ll be raising the frame this summer and working with Brothers Building of Waitsfield, VT to complete the project.

The home will include a master suite, craft room, great room, game room, and ample storage. 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths.

The home will include a master suite, craft room, great room, game room, and ample storage. 5 bedrooms and 3.5 baths.

Many thanks to Hank and Julie for the kind words and for allowing us to be part of your project!

 

Modern Adirondack Lake Home

oseetah lake color renderingThe design for Jim and Regina’s home on Oseetah Lake (connected to lower Saranac Lake in NY) is affectionately referred to as a modern take on Adirondack style architecture. Oseetah Lake is well-known for paddling and fishing, as it has a mean depth of 3 ft. This build site is one of nine lots on a 500 acre privately owned natural preserve around the lake. The home will be situated on a small swale off a ridge with lake views.

The couple referenced both contemporary and traditional mountain style architecture as they described their vision to our team. Adding to our road map for design was their design questionnaire – one of the most thoroughly completed we have ever received. These questionnaires are an invaluable tool when we’re beginning the design process.  Many thanks to Jim and Regina for sharing their time and attention to detail!

Oseetah lake timber frame View 7The resulting first draft plan is very open with with overlapping living spaces. The form of the home calls for opposing sweeping lines in a contemporary, ‘lighter’ timber frame full of natural light and lake views.

Oseetah lake 3D View 6Starting with the entry the home shrugs tradition with a “void” of space rather than an outreaching covered porch. Immediately upon entering, the plans call for a 90 degree turn that open to lake scenery and, as one steps further in, it becomes capacious, with clear volumes to upper level. Planning focused on eliciting views and letting the space grow as one progresses deeper within the home.

Oseetah Lake interior 3D View 8In total the home is about 2,650 sq ft. It will primarily be a two-person residence as the couple enters a ‘work from home, transitioning to retirement’ phase of life. A full-time home office will occupy a ‘tower’ and provide space for various work and play interests. For visiting guests, there are two guest bedrooms and a few spaces that could serve as additional accommodations when the house is full.

Oseetah Lake sat imageJim and Regina are avid outdoors people and, of course, enjoy paddling. Approximately half the lower level of their home will provide storage for outdoor gear and paddle needs. There will be space for several water vessels with walk-out access to the lake.

It is always a privilege to work with homeowners to help bring their dream projects to fruition. We’ve passed through the beginning Schematic Designs with Jim and Regina and we’re excited to see their home continue to take shape and evolve through each step of the design process.

Out on a Limb

Home & Design featured one of our East Coast timber frame homes in a recent edition of their magazine. Architect Mark Kohler ‘went out on a limb’ and purchased five acres of land in Woodbridge, Virginia after visiting a client’s job site in 2001. The Kohlers envisioned a rustic retreat crafted from natural wood, stone, and glass. When Mark’s drawings were near completion, he reached out to us to supply Douglas fir timber framing and reclaimed antique heart-pine flooring (from Pioneer Millworks) for the house. Mark stated,”You associate timber framing with vacation homes in Colorado. It adds to the character and warmth.”

Read Home Design’s take on the project below.

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Find the Beetle: Residential Car Barn, Great Falls, VA

This week, our beetle was in Great Falls, VA assisting in raising a residential timber frame car barn. The 100′ x 60′ glulam king post structure will have a SIP roof enclosure with some beams that stretch over 64′. The material is Douglas fir glulams, conventionally kiln dried to create 60′ open span trusses. So far, there have been six purlin assemblies and the first four bents are erected.

Our West Coast timber frame champion Mike informed us that the starter bent truss weighed over 11,000 pounds and it was lifted without any struggle. It was “a thing of beauty”.

The architects of this project are Anderson Cooper Group Architects and Ehlert Bryan. The builder is BOWA Builders, Inc.

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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.

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