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A Timber Frame Beauty in British Columbia

Childhood memories and a blending of tastes led to a lakeside timber frame masterpiece in northern British Columbia.

Written by Adam Headley
Photography by Heidi Long
Just a few minutes east of Prince George, the hub of northern British Columbia and a commercial center of more than 80,000 residents, lies the tranquil expanse of Tabor Lake, and the perfect site that, several years ago, Chantelle and Brad Wilson discovered to construct their timber-frame-and-stone masterpiece.
Married eight years, Chantelle, the manager of specialized services for children and youth with Northern Health Authority, and Brad, the owner of a point-of-sale and debit-machine systems company, had considered building for some time. They chose their home’s style after weighing numerous options.
“My husband always wanted a log home, but I was never a fan,” Chantelle admits. “We compromised and fell in love with timber frame homes. After hours of looking at homes online and through piles of timber frame magazines, we found Riverbend Timber Framing. The decision was not difficult, considering our love for the outdoors — and we had purchased a five-acre lot on the lake. A timber frame home would fit in the surrounding environment perfectly.”
Choosing Riverbend Timber Framing led to a collaborative effort that produced dazzling results. “Chantelle saw our ad in Log & Timber Home Living magazine and called in,” recalls marketing director Laura Jamison. “She was focused on working with us from the beginning.”
The Wilsons, who served as their own general contractors, describe their partnership with Riverbend as “beyond excellent from the first phone call to inquire further into their services to the end,” according to Chantelle. “Our rep actually came to our lot, walked the property and took photos of the land to best determine our home’s placement. The designer listened to our wants and needs and created a fully custom floor plan in real time. Riverbend walks every step with you and offers support and guidance when required. They’re great to work with, full of amazing ideas and stay within budget.”
Diving into the details led to the development of an open floor plan with a great room-kitchen-dining combination, two levels of living space and a drive-under garage with plenty of storage. Designed to take full advantage of the beautiful lake vistas, the home crowns a natural swale. Generous windows maximize views from the rear elevation. Its free-of-heart center Douglas fir timbers and stirring stone accents blend seamlessly with the surrounding countryside.
British Columbia’s varied climate was a bit problematic as ground was broken in the summer of 2014 and construction took 18 months to complete. Nevertheless, the journey was both memorable and satisfying. “The timbers make a strong, sturdy, well-built home. Standing up the beams and working on the house from day one was my favorite part of the experience,” Brad says.
“The major challenge for this project was timing the delivery of the materials just right,” explains Laura. “The area’s intense winters leave a short season to build, and deep frosts threaten the integrity of the mountain roads as they thaw. There are road restrictions in place at the beginning of spring, because large trucks can break the pavement easily. To ensure the local contractor could work through the entire building season without materials being delayed, we shipped some materials up before the bans went into effect.”
While their home was underway, Chantelle and Brad learned that they were pregnant. “We had one teenager when we were designing the house, and it was not really baby friendly,” she shares with a laugh, “but that was ok because we learned different tricks to baby-proof. Now, we’re out of that stage with our 3- and 5-year-old boys. Our property is a giant playground. The boys are dirt biking and snowmobiling; they’re living their best life!” As is the entire Wilson family.

Home Details

Square Footage: 3,203 including basement, not shown
Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 2 full, 2 half
Timber Provider: Riverbend Timber Framing

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