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Olsen Family Journey Part 5: The Timber Home Building Process & Lessons Learned

Expert advice during the building process takes the Olsens’ timber-frame project from good to great.

(Just joining the journey? To read more about the Olsens’ timber-home build, start here!)

photo 5 Finishing touches (tiling, painting, copper gutters) really turned the house into a home.

“Sometimes you have to be smart enough to know what you don’t know.” This, according to Greg Olsen, has been one of the key secrets to success during his timber-home building project in the Massachusetts Berkshires in upstate New York. In his case, this meant coming to the table with strong ideas about the dream home he and his family wanted to build, but knowing when to stop and listen to the experts.
“We even let the children pick the colors to paint their bedrooms and the downstairs area, so it feels like all of us made our mark on the house,” says Greg Olsen. “We even let the children pick the colors to paint their bedrooms and the downstairs area, so it feels like all of us made our mark on the house,” says Greg Olsen.

“The members of our team were always helping me make the right decision,” Greg says. 
This sentiment rang true during the beginning of the home’s finishing stage, especially when the Olsens were picking paints for the home’s interior spaces. Dedicated to building an environmentally-friendly house, Greg and Dee had chosen a no-VOC paint brand, but thought twice after speaking with their professional painter, Lonnie Thorn of LT’s Painting.

“He explained that this particular brand of paint was incredibly difficult to apply and would need a primer,” explains Greg. “At his suggestion we opted for a low-VOC paint instead, with no primer needed. It saved so much time and really was a lifesaver. Plus, when we walked in the home after he was finished, there was no smell of fumes. He really delivered.” Pioneer Millworks, one of the partners on the project, also helped steer the Olsens in the direction of one of the most impressive style statements in the house: the reclaimed bar siding. “The siding is a stunner,” Greg says. “It’s one of the things that really makes the house look like it sprung up from the mountain and has been there for years.” “When you’re talking to these professionals about choices for your home and they offer advice and solutions, listen,” Greg suggests. “It really makes you stop and think ‘Thank you so much! This is even better than I thought it could be.’”
“Watching all of the craftmen put so much time and effort into these finishes has really been impressive and so much fun!” “Watching all of the craftmen put so much time and effort into these finishes has really been impressive and so much fun!”