The High Costs of Remodeling

If you own an older home, it may seem like home repairs are a fact of daily life. This can make major renovation projects seem appealing. After all, who wouldn’t want a new kitchen while remaining in their home? However, remodeling costs have gone up substantially in the past decade. Here are a few common home renovation projects and their costs.


A new Timberpeg has the charm of an older home without the drawbacks. Home built by Timberpeg Independent Representative, Smith & Robertson, Inc.

First Floor Master Suite

While master suites have long been popular, homes older than 40 years old may not have one. If you are considering a master suite addition, then a first floor master suite addition is probably the way to go, since it is very popular among homebuyers. Remodeling magazine lists the average costs for two master suite additions; a midrange plan at 384 square feet and an upscale plan at 640 square feet for the suite.


Upscale bedroom renovations average over $245,000

The midrange renovation costs about $116,000, which is up nearly 60% since 2005. The upscale renovation costs a hefty $245,500, which is up nearly 78 percent since 2005. Worse still, the immediate resale value for the upscale remodel is only 57%, which means that over $105,000 of your renovation costs will not add to the resale value of your home. With numbers like these, it is all the more attractive to instead build a new home tailored just to your needs.

Radiant Floor Heating

While radiant floor heating is a very in demand item, it would be very difficult to achieve in a renovation project. The most efficient radiant heating systems are in-floor hydronic systems that require hot water to circulate through a concrete slab. In order to retrofit this into a home, it would require tearing up all the floors in a home, installing the system, and then reinstalling the flooring. In contrast to this high expense, the materials for installing radiant heat in a new home only cost around $1.75 per square foot.


Radiant flooring is much easier to add to a new home than an existing one.

Proper Insulation

Old homes have substantially less insulation than homes that are built today. This additional insulation not only saves energy costs, but also makes you more comfortable in your home. In every Timberpeg home package, you get structural insulated panel walls with insulation values of R-23 or more. Roofs are typically insulated from R-38 to R-58 and higher.

SIPs provide great installation, especially compared to older homes.

Retrofitting this insulation on an old house is quite the challenge. An attic is typically easy to insulate, but a cathedral roof is more difficult and insulating the walls requires removing drywall or exterior siding. Also, older houses were built assuming they would breathe more than new houses, so additional vapor barriers and anti-mold measures are necessary. According to Scientific American, these types of renovations can cost $50,000 to $100,000 for the average home.


With these massive renovation costs, a new home can make great economic sense. A new Timberpeg home will deliver all these great amenities while also maintaining the charming character of many older homes. Contact our team today to learn more about building a great, new timber frame home.

Leave a comment

Barn Home Style at Any Size

Lately, there has been a decided trend towards smaller homes than those typically built over the past 30 years. For some, smaller houses are part of a desire to live a simpler lifestyle, while others believe that smaller homes promote greater outdoor activity and healthier lifestyles. One smaller home with great barn home appeal is the Center Harbor. It is a compact but functional 1715 square feet, and we also have related plans up to 1910 square feet.


The Center Harbor has a square outline side gable design, with a large shed dormer creating maximum usability upstairs. Wood siding is a typical choice, with vertical board and batten adding to the barn home appeal. Entry is in the center of the home, with a timber framed porch a popular option. Once inside, there is a small coat closet to the left.


A variation on the Center Harbor with board and batten siding.

The U-shaped kitchen to the right makes the most use of its 140 square feet. The similarly sized dining area accommodates six people easily. The dining area is open to the adjacent great room, which is open to above and thus has a cathedral feel. The master bedroom is bumped-out on the back wall, allowing for a few extra precious square feet. The master bath is accessed by a space-saving pocket door from the bedroom, as well as a conventional door from the main living space. Upstairs, there is a loft, two additional bedrooms and a bathroom.


The standard Center Harbor plan

While this plan packs a lot into a small space, expanding another 195 square feet allows for even more amenities. In this expanded plan, all the rooms grow in size just a bit but keep their basic form. The kitchen has the same layout but slightly more welcome storage space. The great room can accommodate a slightly larger fireplace and a few more chairs.


The great room as viewed from the loft

Next to the master bath is a closet holding a stackable washer/dryer, a welcome first-floor laundry on such a cozy home. The master suite has grown a bit too; now it can accommodate a walk-in-closet! A pocket door is still used on the closet entry in order to conserve space. The stairwell has also grown from a space-saving U-shaped to a more convenient straight run with landing. This will make it more convenient to bring furniture upstairs, where the bedrooms have gained a few feet of space as well. Also, this expanded plan easily allows for a full size basement or garage below the main level.

The expanded, 1910 square foot variant plan


The color of siding, trim and wood can have a dramatic influence on the overall look of a home.

The color of siding, trim and wood can have a dramatic influence on the overall look on the exterior of the home.

We hope this look at the Center Harbor and its slightly larger derivative have shown you how living in a smaller space is possible without giving up the amenities of the modern barn home. If you’re looking to build a new timber framed home, regardless of size, please contact us to get started.

Leave a comment

Picking a Hardwood Flooring Width

We’ve spent a few posts on the blog talking about flooring, especially covering the material choices between hardwood, carpet, tile and other materials. Without a doubt, hardwood flooring is the preferred choice throughout the barn home. However, within the category of hardwood floors there are many choices you can make that determine the feel of the flooring and how it impacts your home. While wood species and stain are obvious factors to consider, flooring width also has a great visual influence. Here are some tips on picking the right flooring width.


Narrow planks with high color variation.

For around a century and a half, narrow plank flooring has been the most popular choice in hardwood flooring. This style uses floor boards that are typically 2 ¼ or 3 inches wide. Since this narrow style has always been easier to mass produce, it has also become a standard look for hardwood flooring. This means narrow plank hardwood floors are a timeless choice, one that feels like it belongs in any style home from any era. Similarly, it can have a classier feel than a wider plank, making it ideal in more formal rooms like dining rooms.


The wide plank floors give this billiard room a classic, relaxed look.


In contrast, wide plank flooring (with widths typically between 5 and 10 inches) is an older style that has recently seen a great surge in popularity. Since wide planks were easier to hand manufacture, they were common in older homes and barns. So, if you’re looking for barn home style, a wide plank floor is a good choice. The number of older homes and barns with this style of flooring, combined with its larger size, also makes it a better candidate for reclaimed flooring than narrow plank flooring.


A floor with wide yet refined boards.

A nice compromise between these two styles is commonly called “random width” flooring, although mixed width would be a better name. This style uses rows of flooring with differing widths, usually with three or more distinct widths of flooring. By using multiple widths, you maintain some of the rustic feel of a wide floor while maintaining a somewhat formal feel.


Cost tends to scale with width. While installation takes slightly more effort with narrow flooring, the material cost is lower so it tends to be less expensive than wide flooring. Again, mixed width floors will be somewhere in between these two on costs as well. Also, wider flooring means fewer seams between boards, which many homeowners find desirable. However, wider planks need longer length boards to look right in a room, so you should avoid it in smaller rooms.


We hope this look at hardwood flooring widths has helped shed some light on this important aspect of home design. If you would like to discuss this or any other aspect of designing your very own barn home, please contact us.

Comments Off

Welcome to Mud Season

Northern cities commonly claim that they only have two seasons: winter and construction. In New England, we commonly claim to have five seasons. In addition to the canonical four seasons, we have mud season. About this time of year, the snow melts but the frozen lower layers of soil means the water has nowhere to go. Trails and unpaved roads quickly become a sloppy mess. It’s these conditions that makes every homeowner wish they had a mudroom.


A small, yet attractive and functional mudroom.

The idea of the mudroom, an informal entryway in which to remove footwear and dirty clothing, only emerged in the last 50 years and has only really taken off in the past 30 or so years. Some small mudrooms provide basic functionality without sacrificing style. This mudroom in an Asheville Timberpeg provides all the necessary features in a compact layout. The mudroom has seating to take off boots and a small closet, while the laundry is conveniently next door.

In this particular lakeside home, a combined laundry and mudroom is not only conveniently accessed from the garage entry, but also from the lake side so wet bodies can be dried and damp clothes and towels immediately thrown in the wash when returning from a day waterside!

To save even more space, the laundry and mudroom can be combined into one room. Typically, this room will be just off the kitchen, which is a very convenient place for a laundry room. Being able to wash dirty outerwear or the kid’s athletic gear immediately upon returning home is also a great time saver.


A mudroom in a staircase “silo”

This barn home in Ohio has a slightly split mudroom area. The garage enters the house through the laundry room, and shoes are removed in this area. Just beyond, at the base of the stair “silo”, is a small sitting area and place to hang coats. While other small mudrooms can feel cramped, this design feels open yet separate from the main house.


A typical ski lodge mudroom

Mudrooms are especially popular in ski homes, although it would seem that “snow room” would be a more appropriate term here since the room serves to keep wet equipment and clothes out of the living space. This mudroom in Ascutney is typical of the style. Large cubbies are provided for skis, helmets and gloves, with bench seating for gearing up and down.


An ornate ski lodge mudroom with adjoining bridge to the slopes.

The Lincoln ski home has two mudrooms, with the one upstairs actually acting as the main ski mudroom. A bridge from this room connects directly to the slopes, so the upstairs location made more sense than a basement one. Again, built-in storage holds everyone’s gear, while the tile floor and wood paneled walls keeps the room clean and attractive.

Are you looking for a home with a mudroom for this and all the “five” seasons? Then please contact our designers, who will work with you to integrate a great mudroom into a lovely timber frame home.

Comments Off