Holiday Decorating That Accentuates the Barn Home

With Hanukkah beginning on Tuesday and Christmas only a week and a half away, it is time again to decorate the barn home for the winter holidays. Last year, we wrote a post exploring the origin of various holiday decorations. This year, we thought we would concentrate on ways to tailor your decoration to the unique setting of a timber frame home. While many decorations work well in any home, there are certain details in the barn home that cry out for special attention. Here are few ways to make your decorations extra special.

Deck the Trusses!

Your beams can also be a great help in decorating tall trees.

As we wrote about last week, the truss is not only an important structural element in the barn home, it is also one of the most appealing and featured aesthetic components. With trusses commanding such attention in the great room, one would be remiss to neglect them when decorating. Whether you wish to “deck the trusses with bows of holly” or find that the horizontal truss members create perfect perches for reindeer or elf figurines, make sure the truss is a central part of both your home’s structure and holiday decorating.



Candle in the Window

Having a candle (although preferably an electric one) in the window is a tradition that is especially evident in older towns in former colonial states. Today, many associate this practice only with Christmas tradition, but it was originally a much wider practice. Colonists placed candles in the window when members of the family were away or as a symbol of welcome to travelers. So while this tradition is certainly one you can start this time of year, it can be employed year round and looks especially fitting in a Timberpeg home.

Focus on the Fireplace

post and beam home with christmas tree by fireplace

Sure, an increasing number of homes these days have fireplaces. However, the fireplace feels as if it belongs in the barn home and neither quite works without the other. Since fireplaces are naturally located in the home’s gathering place, they are a focus of attention during holiday gatherings. Mantles make a great place from which to stage decorations, not to mention hang stockings.

“Ironically” Decorate with Icicles

Last winter, we also wrote about how the superior construction of Timberpeg homes with structural insulated panels provides outstanding insulation for the roof and walls. As a result, you won’t have to worry about ice dams forming on the roof or icicles hanging from the eaves. If you want to use icicle style lights, you can use them “ironically” and showcase your home’s superior construction.

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Timber Frame Truss Design in the Barn Home

The Truss is one of the most important advances in the history of architecture. Although some important buildings used trusses earlier, the idea saw wide deployment in the Middle Ages. Before this time, roofs were supported only by rafters joined by horizontal beams, which made the roof unstable against horizontal forces.

Custom Designed Truss by Timberpeg and coined the "Monarch Truss"

While the truss is an important structural component in home design, it is also one of the most celebrated aspects of timber frame construction. While the posts and beams of a home are aesthetically pleasing in their own right, the combination of structure and beauty of a truss makes it the star of a timber frame home.

Trusses can be split into two major types, closed and open trusses. Essentially, closed trusses have a horizontal tie beam running across the bottom of the truss while an open truss does not. The simplest type of truss is a closed truss known as a king post truss. This truss has two principal rafters, a tie beam and a vertical king post running down the center of the truss. Since this type of truss uses the least amount of material to build and has a straight-forward design, it is also the least expensive type of truss.

A King Post Truss

Several variations are possible on the king post truss. Frequently, two angled struts run between the king post and principal rafters. Another variation is using a curved tie beam (also known as a curved lower chord) instead of a straight beam (or continuous chord). There are many examples of king post trusses on the Timberpeg website.

A queen post truss is also a closed truss design, but it has two vertical posts instead of one. The two vertical posts are typically positioned to split the span of the tie beam into thirds. Where the posts meet the rafters they are joined by a horizontal beam known as a straining beam. This design can span a longer distance than a king post truss, and the square area between the queen posts can accommodate a room or window.

Queen Post Truss. Home designed by Timberpeg Independent Representative Erich Diller of Evolve Design Group,

Open Trusses can help give a more open feel to a room. A cruck truss is a type of arch-braced truss. The rafters are linked by a collar beam, while arched timbers below the collar beam support the roof. This allows for a room with great open space and also has a distinctly Gothic feel.

A Cruck Truss has a distinctly Gothic feel.

The hammer beam truss is an even more ornate open truss. In this design, the rafters rest on short, braced beams called hammer beams that project from the wall but do not span the entire truss. On top of the hammer beams lay another set of posts and braces that support the collar beam and roof. This design allows for an open room with a truss spanning a great distance. Perhaps the grandest example of this design is Westminster Hall in England, which has a hammer beam truss spanning 68 feet across a hall 240 feet long and 64 feet high. Not bad for a structure completed in 1399!

A Hammer Beam Truss

If you have questions about any of the homes featured here, or would like to learn more about designing a timber frame home of your own with such beautiful trusses, then contact the team at Timberpeg to learn more.  And, if you have a particular appreciation for a certain style of truss, then leave us a comment and share which design is your favorite!

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A Timber Frame House With A View

Don and Nita Jackson purchased a 160-acre hilltop retreat in Bradford, New Hampshire in 1986. The property came with a charming 1800s farmhouse, which unfortunately lacked any insulation for cold winter nights. The couple had the farmhouse renovated in 1997 by Timberpeg Independent Representative, Old Hampshire Designs, which made for a much more livable retreat. Approaching retirement, the Jacksons were considering many locations for their permanent residence, but kept getting drawn back to this mountain site. The existing farmhouse would not do for a permanent home, however, with its single bathroom and lack of closets. The Jacksons again turned to Old Hampshire Designs, a Timberpeg Independent Representative, to build them a 3,385 square foot mountain home.

The Bradford home is designed around the magnificent views of the Sunapee Mountains. In order to emphasize this view, there is no formal entryway and guests proceed directly into the great room. With its 26 foot height and bank of windows filling the entire rear wall, the great room certainly brings the outdoors in. A large stone fireplace compliments the room’s grand wood trusses, posts, and beams. The two halves of the upstairs are separate, not connecting through the great room, which adds to the airiness of the room.

On one wing of the first floor lie the dining room and kitchen. The home has a great deal of built-in furniture, in order to keep the furnishings simple. In line with this philosophy, the dining room has a built-in window seat with storage beneath and cabinets to the sides. The kitchen has all the amenities needed for everyday living and exceptional entertaining, including an island with bar seating and commercial-quality range and prep sink. The outer L counter features plenty of prep space and a large sink, while the remaining wall houses a built-in refrigerator, storage, and a double wall oven.

Although the great room provides grand views of the mountains, a sunroom off the dining room provides great views of the remainder of the property as well. The sunroom is appointed with comfortable furniture and is a great place to read a book, and its location next to the dining room and kitchen makes it a great place for entertaining as well.

On the other wing of the house lies the master bedroom. It features a fireplace with built-in bookcases flanking it on each side. The room has its own cathedral ceiling and loft space, and the build-in theme extends here with another window seat with drawer storage below. A large walk-in closet also has built-in drawers, while the master bathroom has a soaker tub with a grand view. In the front of this wing is a mudroom area connecting the house with the breezeway, complete with laundry and a lavatory.

The upstairs wing over the kitchen features a large guest bedroom with walk-in closet and full bathroom. The upstairs wing over the bedroom houses a home office, while the cathedral space above the master bedroom could easily be converted into an additional bedroom if desired. If you wished to join the two wings, a balcony across the great room is an easy addition.

If  you would like to learn more about this timber frame house, or if you have a piece of land yourself that you’d like to build a timber frame house on, then contact the team at Timberpeg today.  They can help discuss design options, and put you in touch with an independent representative in your area.

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Why Now Is The Perfect Time To Plan Your Timber Frame Dream Home

While there is never a bad time to start planning your barn home, there are several factors that make this time of year a great time to do so. These reasons range from the personal effects that the change of seasons have upon us to the logistic realities of building a home.

One great reason to start planning your new home now is the new perspective that the winter months bring to your planning process. In most of the country, the longer daylight hours and more moderate temperatures of the summer encourage us to spend more time outside. As a result, while the kitchen and bedrooms still see the same amount of use in the summer, other rooms may not see significant use. Now that we stay inside more, it is easier to evaluate what works and what doesn’t in terms of room layout and design.

Maybe in the summer it worked to have a detached garage but the cold weather leaves you longing for an attached garage? Maybe your living room saw little use in the summer but you now wish for a great room that is located closer to the kitchen? While the cold weather can also contribute to “cabin fever”, it also presents a great opportunity to consider a home design that will work better for you and your family.

In the winter, features like mudrooms become all the more important.

The holiday season also creates great opportunities for assessing what you need in a new home. If you are hosting parties this time of year, then take note of what issues come up at your parties. Perhaps everyone gathers in the kitchen and you could use a more open concept design? If instead you are attending parties at others’ homes this season, you can get even more ideas about home design details that contribute or detract from the ideal home.

Post and Beam Open Great Room

An open concept timber frame home design with adjacent great room, kitchen, and dining area makes for great entertaining.

While these personal reasons help you design a better home, the logistics of building a home also mean that this is a great time to start planning if you wish to build a home next year. Nationally, the average time it takes to build a home from the issuance of a building permit to completion is seven months. However, homes built for sale tend to lower this average, so homes built on an owner’s land take around 8 months nationally. The time taken to build a home is the shortest in the Mountain and Central states, at around 6 months, while homes in New England take up to 10 months to build.

So, if you’re considering building a home next year, it’s important to get planning right away!  To learn how you can begin on a timber frame home design of your own, contact the design team at Timberpeg to get started.

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