Front Door Material Choices for the Timber Frame Home

barn home front doorSince your front door is the gateway to your home, it creates a first impression that defines your home to residents alike. Due to this important role in defining the home, it is no wonder that front-door replacements are consistently the home renovation project with the highest return on investment. With the many choices in exterior doors, just selecting the perfect door can be a daunting task. If you are considering replacing an aging front door, or choosing the perfect door for your new Timberpeg home, here are some tips for choosing the best door material for your needs.

Wood

The three most common materials for exterior doors are wood, steel and fiberglass. Wood doors are the traditional choice, and their natural appearance and warmth is a perfect match for the timber frame home. Modern wood doors with engineered lumber centers are much less prone to swelling than solid wood doors, and wood doors are much easier to retrofit into existing frames than steel or fiberglass. The downsides to wood doors are that they need more maintenance than the other materials and are also less insulated. A wood door typically has an R-value of around 2, while steel and fiberglass doors are typically 5 or 6.

Steel

Steel doors are the most commonly purchased exterior door, since they are the least expensive option. These doors have a steel exterior with a foam core for insulation. While they are both inexpensive and insulating, steel doors lack the character of a wood door. Furthermore, steel can get quite hot in the sun and any dings in the coating can allow the door to rust. Also, while steel and fiberglass doors are more efficient than wood doors, any windows in the door will diminish the door’s insulating ability.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass doors can evoke the feel of wood while being much more energy efficient and lower maintenance. Typically, cleaning the door with a damp cloth is all that is required. Fiberglass doors can be ordered with a smooth finish for painting, or can be ordered with a desired wood grain pattern to match a particular tree species. While these doors are low maintenance, installation can be trickier since the opening must be square and many fiberglass doors cannot be trimmed. Another drawback is that fiberglass doors are much less customizable than wood doors. Fiberglass doors must be constructed in a mold, so you will be limited to factory available appearance and options.

Outside of the basic material choices for your home’s front door, there are almost limitless style options to consider as well.  We’ll plan on highlighting some of the most popular styles of doors for timber frame homes in a coming post.  If you have any questions about the project featured here, or would like to learn more about designing a timber frame home of your own, please contact Timberpeg today to learn more.

 

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Spotlight on Timberpeg Independent Representative Architects and Designers

Home Designed by Timberpeg Independent Rep Timberframe Design, Inc./Samyn-D'Elia Architects - www.sdarchitects.com

At Timberpeg, we are proud of our dedicated network of Independent Representatives. These individuals and companies use their experience in the homebuilding industry to help clients build the timber-framed homes of their dreams. Some of these Independent Representatives have experience as builders or contractors, while others are architects and designers. In this post, we will highlight two Independent Representatives whose experience as an architect or designer helps them design unique Timberpeg homes.

Home Designed by Timberpeg Independent Rep Timberframe Design, Inc./Samyn-D'Elia Architects - www.sdarchitects.com

Tom Samyn always enjoyed drawing, drafting and problem solving as a child, so a career as an architect was a natural choice. After working with Ward D’Elia in the 1970s, the two decided to form their own firm (Samyn-D’Elia) in 1980. Soon thereafter they decided to become Timberpeg Independent Representatives, reasoning that “Timberpeg was a good fit for us because we’re architects who provide quality home design in an area that finds the timber frame structure both attractive and energy efficient.” Given their tireless work to satisfy their client’s needs, it is no wonder that Samyn-D’Elia is still an award-winning architectural firm over thirty years since their founding.

Home Designed by Timberpeg Independent Rep Timberframe Design, Inc./Samyn-D'Elia Architects - www.sdarchitects.com

Home Designed by Timberpeg Independent Rep Timberframe Design, Inc./Samyn-D'Elia Architects - www.sdarchitects.com

One project that exemplifies their problem solving is a Timberpeg ski lodge outside Lincoln, NH. From the front of the house, a curved porch and curved reading room show the detail that went into the plans for this winter retreat. The house also has a complicated roof structure, with more gables than you would find in a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel title. The structure was also built into the side of a ski hill, with an elevator turret and covered bridge for direct access to the slopes. While this project would be a daunting task for any architect, their great experience and skill made Samyn-D’Elia the right choice for the job.

Erich Diller’s background influences the unique perspective he brings to home design. Erich grew up in England and his family would take holiday excursions everywhere from Scandinavia to Egypt. Bolstered by three years of high school architecture classes, Erich went on to earn a degree in architecture. He found his way to Timberpeg when looking to build a barn on his property, and has been an independent representative since 2005.

Home designed by Timberpeg Independent Rep Erich Diller, Evolve Design Group. Photo by Jim Fuhrman. Built by Blansfield Builders.

Home designed by Timberpeg Independent Rep Erich Diller, Evolve Design Group. Photo by Jim Fuhrman. Built by Blansfield Builders.

Erich’s penchant for bringing modern touches to traditional timber frame construction is wonderfully demonstrated by the “Split Rock” house on Candlewood Lake in Connecticut. The house is set into the side of a cliff, and pays homage to the Arts and Crafts movement but with modern touches. The exterior trim and posts are painted a steel blue, combining a modern feel with the softness of wood. Inside, the rooms vary in their appearance. The living spaces maintain a traditional look, while the kitchen seamlessly blends the traditional wood tones with modern cabinets and stainless appliances. Some elements of the interior are distinctly modern, like the stainless steel staircase. Erich described the project as “lots of challenging details, but lots of fun.”  You can see all the pictures for the Split Rock project here.

If you are thinking of working with an architect to design a timber framed home, then contact Timberpeg today to learn more about how they can complete your home design dream team.  And, if you haven’t settled on any architect yet, then many of the Independent Representatives for Timberpeg can help from blueprint to build-out.  Contact Timberpeg today to learn more.

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Raising Chickens: From Rural to Urban Timber Frame Living

Timberpeg Farmhouse Built by Smith & Robertson, Inc. - www.smithandrobertson.com

A timber frame home can easily project a bucolic image, so it is no surprise that Timberpeg owners frequently keep magnificent gardens. While plant growing is popular everywhere, recently raising urban livestock has seen a resurgence in popularity. Urban livestock used to be more common; pigs, for example, could be kept in Manhattan before 1860. While most cities have banned livestock for health reasons, the raising of chickens is allowed in many communities. And since many Timberpeg homes are built in rural locations, we also find that our own customers look forward to having some of their own livestock. While roosters are usually forbidden in urban locations due to their noise, hens will lay eggs on their own with minimal noise, while eating bugs in the garden and providing fertilizer. If your community allows backyard chickens and the concept interests you, here are some items to consider before you start.

Select Your Breeds

Before rushing out to buy chickens, make sure you select an appropriate breed for your needs. Bantam birds are smaller varieties that need less space and feed, but will also produce less meat or eggs. You can also select birds for their markings or egg shell color if you desire. For all-around egg laying birds, the Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock are popular choices for their high output and hardiness.

Build A Coop

If you're not feeling so handy, many companies sell pre-made chicken coops, such as this one for sale from Williams-Sonoma.

While chickens can free-range in the yard during the day, they will need a shelter for egg-laying and protection from predators at night. The most popular choice for small lots is a coop with an attached run. Chickens need about four square feet inside and ten square feet of run per bird. The coop should be ventilated but not drafty, and must also feature a laying box. It helps if this area has outside access for harvesting eggs and cleaning the coop.

Another popular idea for a coop is what is known as a chicken tractor. This open-floored structure can be dragged through the yard so that the chickens can forage in different areas. This allows them to eat bugs and trim grass without over grazing, and their manure can help fertilize as well. Whichever coop design you decide upon, you can find plans online or order pre-built coops.

Use Appropriate Feed

When feeding laying hens, you will want to use “layer feed”. This type of feed is specially designed to meet hens’ needs when laying eggs. Nevertheless, hens may need supplementary calcium while laying, so providing them with crushed-up egg shells or bone meal can be beneficial. Also, if you wish for organic eggs make sure your feed is also organic. You can also feed the hens table scraps or grains like oats, but make sure to only feed them a small amount so their diet remains balanced.

Victory Barn at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, GA

Does the idea of fresh laid eggs and a custom-designed timber frame home kitchen to cook them in sound exciting to you?  We’re hungry just thinking about all the omlettes, soufflés and eggs over easy right now!  If you’d like to learn more about designing a timber frame home complete with considerations for all your hobbies, including raising chickens, then contact the team at Timberpeg to learn more.  And, note that several of the team members have chicken raising experience, so feel free to leave a question in the comments as well.

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Efficiently Lighting Your Timber-Framed Home’s Exterior

Photo by Wesley H. Sterns - Artists Eye Photography - http://www.artisteyephotography.com/

Since great interior lighting can provide a large boost to your quality of living, we have spent a great deal of time on this blog discussing modern choices and design for interior lights that work well in a timber framed home. Exterior lighting, however, has also seen great advances in recent years. Maintaining great lighting outside enhances both the security and visual appeal of your timber frame home. Here are some general tips to consider when planning your outdoor lighting for new or existing construction.

Consider Low and Line-Voltage Systems

While individual solar lights may seem convenient for lights away from the home, these types of systems do not work well. It is much better to run a wired system for remote lights, but you must choose whether a line or low-voltage system is right for you. A line-voltage system runs at normal household voltages, so it requires less material to run. The downsides are that the underground cable must be protected, which increases installation costs.

Home Designed by Timberpeg Independent Rep Timberframe Design, Inc./Samyn-D'Elia Architects - www.sdarchitects.com - Photos by Joseph St. Pierre - www.jsphotography.us

A low-voltage system runs at 12 volts, which means it requires transformers and thicker cable, which increases upfront costs. However, the cable can be buried directly and is an easy job for any homeowner, lowering installation costs. Also, energy-efficient lights like LEDs require fewer electronics on a low-voltage system, so they are cheaper to buy than their line-voltage equivalents. Which system works best for you will depend on your individual situation.

Don’t Neglect Aesthetics

Even when using efficient lighting, you can and should tailor the fixtures to your home’s design. While wall-mounted lamps are the most well-known, flush-mounted and pendant ceiling lamps are also available in waterproof, exterior versions. All of these choices are available in a multitude of styles from rustic to modern, to fit in perfectly with any timber frame home.

Consider Deck and Stair Lights

Photos by Eric Crossan Studios - ericcrossan.com

One of the best ways to use lighting efficiently is to only light the areas that need illumination. Stair lights, for example, install in the rise of a stair and illuminate the step below. By providing a small amount of light to this critical area, you can provide safety without over illumination or expensive power bills. Similarly, lights are available for balusters and the under-side of rails, allowing you to provide a safe and visually appealing light defining the edge of your deck while still allowing you to see the stars at night.

Use Full-Cutoff Lights

Home Designed by Timberpeg Independent Rep Timberframe Design, Inc./Samyn-D'Elia Architects - www.sdarchitects.com - Photos by Joseph St. Pierre - www.jsphotography.us

Lights that point skyward are wasting energy and cause light pollution. To combat this, use full-cutoff lights that direct all of their light below the horizontal. By directing the light downward, you are only illuminating areas that need it while also reducing glare and energy use.

If you’re thinking about an upgrade to your home’s exterior lighting, it definitely is a great time of year to make some tweaks.  Not only is the weather still nice for working on installation, but you still have time to make your upgrades before the fall equinox and the nights get longer and longer.  If you have any questions about the timber frame homes featured in this post, please contact the team at Timberpeg to learn more.

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