Hybrid Timberpeg Home in Gilmanton, New Hampshire

Home Built by Timberpeg Independent Representative, Ridgeview Construction, http://greenbuildernh.com

At Timberpeg, we realize that a full timber framed home is not for everyone. Some homebuyers like the feel of a timber framed structure, but think having every room with timber framing is too much. Usually, these buyers like the looks of timber framing in public rooms but prefer conventional construction in bedrooms. If this is the type of look you want, then the artisans at Timberpeg can design a hybrid home to fit your needs. This home, Located in Gilmanton, New Hampshire, is a hybrid-style home designed jointly by Timberpeg and our Independent Representatives at Ridgeview Construction. At 2212 square feet plus garage and screen porch, it is an average-sized home that is anything but average.

The entryway of this home is compact yet extraordinarily functional. The front door opens into a short hallway, and towards the left is a mudroom space. This area has a door to the garage, a laundry closet and closet space. The first floor lavatory is also present here, with a space-saving pocket door to maximize space without sacrificing comfort.

Home Built by Timberpeg Independent Representative, Ridgeview Construction, http://greenbuildernh.com

Down the hallway, we pass a small pantry as we enter the kitchen space. The kitchen makes efficient use of an L-shaped plus island design. The island affords some informal seating opportunities, but the formal dining room off the kitchen has a wonderful New England charm. With overhead beams and built-in cabinets surrounding a brick fireplace, you can feel a connection to the past while enjoying the comforts of the present.

Home Built by Timberpeg Independent Representative, Ridgeview Construction, http://greenbuildernh.com

Beyond the kitchen lies the great room, with requisite cathedral ceilings and stone fireplace. The timber framing and joinery details are displayed here in full glory, in contrast to the more subdued appearances in the bedrooms. The cathedral ceilings allow for a two-story wall of windows in the great room, letting in majestic views of the White Mountains to the north.

After the great room, a sliding door allows access to the master suite. Here, a short hallway area affords some privacy. To the right is the master bedroom. At 127 square feet it is a cozy room, but large enough for a king bed and a few dressers and nightstands. The walk in closet, in the center of the suite, provides ample storage. On the other wing of the suite, the master bath has a separate soaker tub and shower.

Heading up the stairs in the great room, you arrive in a loft space that overlooks the great room and its wondrous views. This space can also serve as a sitting area with a window overlooking the rear of the home. There are two guest bedrooms upstairs, each with ample closets and one with a sizable study area. Completing the floor are a three-quarters bath and large spare room.

Home Built by Timberpeg Independent Representative, Ridgeview Construction, http://greenbuildernh.com

If you would like to learn more about designing a building a timber frame home of your own, then simply contact the talented design team at Timberpeg to learn how you can get started.

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Electric Car Charging at Your Timberpeg Home

Auto shows are seeing more and more electric cars receive top billing, like the Tesla Model X here.

On this blog, we’ve devoted many posts to extolling the energy-efficiency of the modern barn home and ways of saving energy in older homes. However, a great deal of our energy use comes not in our homes but in transportation. Light-duty vehicles, such as cars and pickup trucks, represent almost 20 percent of our total energy consumption in this country. Electric cars are one way of reducing your energy use, and thankfully modern electric cars can be long-ranged, stylish, and fast. Charging at home is a convenient way to always head out with a full “tank”, but installing charging equipment at home might seem daunting at first. Here is a guide to equipping your garage to charge an electric car.

First, you should not attempt to install this equipment yourself unless you are confident in your abilities and are permitted to through your local building codes. Even if you can install the equipment, often times your home insurer will require the work to be done by a professional. So, it is likely in your best interest to hire a licensed electrician for this work. The good news is this installation should not be very expensive, since it can be no more complicated than adding a range outlet.

An example electric vehicle "charger".

Your next main decision will be on what type of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE, commonly but erroneously called a “charger”) to install. Essentially all manufacturers comply with the J1772 standard, with the notable exception of Tesla which uses a different plug. If you own a Tesla you should probably use their equipment, while with any other car you can use your choice of J1772 EVSEs. If you are looking for a J1772 system, make sure to get a 240V, Level 2 charger with a 30A or higher current rating.

You then need to decide whether to permanently mount the equipment or have the electrician install a standard outlet that the EVSE will plug into. The outlet method uses a fixture similar to that used by an electric range, and allows for charging at up to 9.6 kW. This charge rate is fast enough to completely charge any current car overnight, and the installation costs will be lower. As a bonus, if you ever move you can merely unplug your EVSE and take it with you. By permanently installing the equipment, you have a much cleaner looking setup and you can purchase an EVSE that draws over 9.6kW and charges your car up to twice as quickly. However, the installation will cost more and the EVSE cannot be easily moved.

Adding an EVSE to a garage like this, with an electrical panel already present, is an easy task.

When siting the EVSE, make sure it is in a convenient location relative to your car’s charge port. The most common cord length on J1772 equipment is 20 feet, so you should have the EVSE or outlet installed within 10 to 15 feet of where the car’s charge port will be when parked.

The below “how-to” video is for the new BMW i3. Beginning at 23 seconds you can see a Timberpeg home, in the background! This home was designed by Timberpeg Independent Representative, Erich Diller of Evolve Design Group who is located in Connecticut.

If you’d like to learn more about how Timberpeg can design a timber frame home, complete with a garage, for all your four wheeled friends, then contact their design team today.  They have even built many stand alone garages just for auto-enthusiasts, which you can also see here.

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2015 Housing Market Forecast

Since we have just started into 2015, we thought we should do as we have the past few years and take a look at the real estate market predictions for the coming year. Last year, prices rose by around 3.5 percent, near many experts’ predictions but significantly lower than 2013. Like last year, the biggest uncertainty in housing affordability may be interest rates, which are still near historic lows but could climb significantly.

Waterfront home in Maryland. Photograph by by Eric Crossan - www.ericcrossan.com

For 2015, experts are predicting housing price gains similar to what we saw last year. A Kiplinger report predicts gains around 3.5 percent this year, comparable to last year, while IIHS-Global Insight predicts a slightly smaller gain of 2.8 percent. Like the year before, the continued gains in housing prices make new home construction attractive to many buyers. According to Kiplinger, new home construction starts could increase by as much as 25 percent this year as buyers seek the conveniences of a newly-built home. Despite this increase, the number of new housing starts will still be 30 percent below peak levels and construction starts will likely not set a new high until 2017.

Mountain home frame raising in Jobs Peak, Nevada

One factor that is helping to drive an increase in home sales is skyrocketing rental costs. During the recession, the number of renters increased greatly. The increased demand for rental units has increased rents, with the average renter now spending about 30 percent of their income on housing. In contrast, the average homeowner only spends 15 percent of their income on housing. Now that employment is rising and more homeowners can save for a down payment, buying is a very attractive option. Furthermore, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are lowering their requirements for down payments from 5 percent to 3 percent, which will further increase the pool of buyers.

This cabin in the woods was designed by Independent Representative Kenneth J. Wertheim, AIA - www.mtnarc.com

The major uncertainty in the real estate markets is the future of interest rates. Since the Federal Reserve announced an end to its Quantitative Easing program, interest rates have been predicted to rise. Last year started with interest rates around 4.5 percent, with experts predicting a rise to 5 percent or more by year end. Instead, interest rates fell throughout last year and currently average about 3.6 percent. Nevertheless, many experts are predicting that interest rates will rise later this year and may reach 5 percent by year’s end. For a home buyer with a $300,000 loan, this increase would mean a $200 a month increase in loan payments, so securing a loan at today’s low rates would be a good idea.

Waterfront view from a Timberpeg kitchen located in Alaska

Whether your dream is a ski mountain escape, a waterfront retreat or a simple post and beam cabin or cottage in the woods, it’s time to get going on designing and building a timber frame home of your own this year! Simply contact Timberpeg to get your design started. Whether you’re just beginning with no designs in mind, or you’ve got your dream plan ready to cut, it’s a great time to build that dream home!

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Timberpeg: Homes of the Past and Future

Home Built by Timberpeg Independent Representative Smith & Robertson, Inc., www.smithandrobertson.com

The New Year provides a great opportunity for reflection on the past and insight into the future. Rather than solely using the New Year to propose resolutions, we thought it would be fun to take a look back at how people in the past viewed the home of the future. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were all manner of predictions of what the modern home would look like in the seemingly distant 21st century. From the 1957 “Home of the Future” exhibit at Disneyland to a 1967 CBS report on homes of The 21st Century, here are some past predictions on the modern home versus today’s reality.

Plastics Everywhere

In the 1957 "House of the Future", a woman unloads plastic dishes from her ultrasonic dishwasher.

The most glaring prediction about the contemporary home was the belief that plastics would be the primary component in just about everything. Dishes were of course composed entirely of plastics, but even the shell of many houses were made of plastics or at best a fiberglass composite. Windows ditched “old fashioned” glass for plastic, and furniture was also entirely plastic and sat upon vinyl flooring.

Luckily, our present is not as pictured in these plastic fantastic dreams. For aesthetic and sentimental reasons, we all prefer the traditional warmth of a wood framed building and plaster walls. However, plastic is very important in the modern barn home, perhaps most importantly the polystyrene that forms the insulation in the structural insulated panels. The polyethylene tubing in a radiant flooring system is another way that plastics have found their way into the modern home. So, while past predictions were quite right that plastics would come into the modern home, they did so in more functional but inconspicuous ways.

Energy Consumption versus Efficiency

reclaimed barn beam lamp

This reclaimed beam lamp in a Timberpeg home stands in sharp contrast to the excessive consumption in hypothesized in our "future" homes.

One prediction that was way off target was the way in which we used energy. The hypothesized home of today was imagined to use a great deal more energy than we currently do. In one home model, by the Philco Corporation, residents never cleaned their dishes. Instead, the plastic dishes were simply melted down and then the molten plastic was used to injection mold new dishes as needed!

In reality, energy efficiency has become a major concern in recent years. In addition to better insulation, our furnaces, dishwashers and even fireplaces require less energy and fewer natural resources. Not only is this better for the environment, it also helps reduce utility bills. Timberpeg homes are a good example of this trend, combining great efficiency and the ability to use recycled materials like reclaimed timbers in construction.

Welcome Automation

The home of the future was also predicted to have a great deal of automation. Some of this automation has not happened, like the prediction that we would all only eat microwaved meals prepared and dispensed automatically. Many other predictions were right on the mark, however. The prediction that home computers would allow us to shop from home and have items delivered to our door has certainly come true. Also, features like automated dynamic windows and intelligent climate control are features with rapidly growing adoption.

Smart windows are one predicted innovation that has come true.

If you’d like to watch some of the old videos from the 50′s and 60′s, then a quick visit to YouTube will show you some more of the wild predictions that were made about modern homes.  One of our favorites is this video touring through the home of the future at Disney.

Of course, we think it’s much more fun to tour a Timberpeg home, which offers the perfect bridge between the warm and comfortable feeling of tradition and state of the art technology and energy-efficiency.  Contact Timberpeg today to learn about homes near you that may be open for a tour, or to learn how you can get started on your own home design.  Happy New Year!

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