You might think modernizing a centuries-old craft like timber framing is pure blasphemy. But that’s the beauty of wood—it’s timeless. And exactly what Alan and Laura Hayes envisioned when they came up with a design for their new home that would combine the classic look of timber framing with modern materials.
Like many would-be homeowners, they culled ideas from magazines, visited model homes and talked to architects to come up with the perfect floorplan to fit their 15-acre parcel overlooking a ski resort in Stowe, Vermont. Sam Schofield was one of those architects who ultimately translated Alan and Laura’s vision of home. The result: a decidedly contemporary look with an Asian flair.
“We did a lot of research, and created an open design that features natural wood posts and beams, but still has few obstructions throughout the home,” says Alan. With this flowing space and a whole lot of windows, sunlight streams in from every direction, playing over the scissor trusses and bathing the home in light while creating a feeling of being one with nature, a top priority for the Hayes.
The Perfect Package
North Woods Joinery of Jefferson, Vermont, supplied the couple’s custom timber package of Douglas fir logs. To complement the honey tone of the wood, Alan and Laura lined the floors with red birch throughout the home and installed stained cherry cabinets in the kitchen to offset the stainless steel appliances and granite countertops.
A big dose of texture comes from the manufactured stone hearth that rises to the top of the great room ceiling (“No one who’s visited could tell that it wasn’t real stone,” says Laura) and the light fixtures. The Hayes were looking for an “organic feel” and found it at Hubbardton Forge, a Vermont firm that specializes in hand-forged iron.
However, the pièce de résistance for this home (and what really sets the stage for it’s contemporary flair) is the staircase. The blend of steel and wood spans three floors, and seems to say “New York City loft” more than “wood home out in the middle of snow country.” But it works, and that’s the beauty of this design.
See also Stone Fireplaces for Timber Homes
Forces of Nature
During construction, contractor Patterson & Smith Construction Inc., of Moscow, Vermont, did battle with the elements and a steep driveway that required “a lot of sand” to traverse during the winter. “We had to make sure we could drive down it in the winter without sliding,” recalls company partner Shapleigh Smith, whose team faced months of adverse weather conditions during the building phase. “In fact, it was snowing pretty hard for a few days while we were erecting the main building.”
Were the hardships worth it? Absolutely. Alan and Laura say a timber home was the perfect choice. “The natural feeling is just spectacular, especially when you couple it with this setting,” Laura says. “We love it.”
Square Footage: 4,000
General Contractor: Patterson & Smith Construction
Timber Provider: North Woods Joinery