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How to Site Your Timber Frame Home on the Water

Want to boost your sense of well-being and happiness? Build your timber home along a body of water.

Written by Donna Peak


 Photo: Joe Hilliard


What is it about water that draws people toward it? Is it the fact that water is the life source of every living thing on our planet? Is it just the sheer beauty of the way light dances along its surface or the sound of the waves as they come crashing to shore?  In his 2014 book, Blue Mind, author Wallace J. Nichols, Ph.D., explored the reasons why we, as humans, love water so much and discovered that the sense of peace we have when we’re near a body of water is physical, not just emotional. Stress levels drop and a general sense of wellness sets in.

According to Dr. Nichols, we all have “our water” — the lake, river, ocean or waterfall that we identify with and are drawn toward. For many lucky timber home owners, “their water” is actually located right on their property.

Here, we look at how forethought and smart design usher views of the water into their homes, and what they did to ensure they capture them.


Keep it Simple and Open 

 Photo: Karl Neumann


The simplicity of this home’s timber frame is a perfect counterpoint to the open-water view from the great room. Windows set at 90-degree angles create a panoramic vista, and the placement of the stone fireplace allows loungers to appreciate fire and water at once.


Add a Wall of Windows

  Photo: Riverbend Timber Framing


Twilight is the ideal time to blend your timber home’s interior with the great outdoors. The water and sky take on a cobalt blue hue, and the home’s wall of windows captures it like a living mural. An open floor plan ensures you can enjoy the vista regardless of where you are in the space.


Place Primary Rooms Strategically

 Photo: Joseph Hilliard


A smartly placed, main-level master suite capitalizes on its lakefront locale with French doors that open wide to both a private patio and the expansive aquatic view beyond. Timber elements in the ceiling and the doorway frame the picture-perfect panorama.


Design an Outdoor Living Area

 Photo: Canadian Timberframes


Of course you can take advantage of a tranquil lake from your lawn, but creating a true outdoor room makes for a lounge-worthy atmosphere. This home actually boasts two lakefront living spaces — one in the elevated rear porch and another located inside the shoreline pavilion.


Add a View to the Bathroom

 Photo: Roger Wade


A simple bath becomes a Zen-like experience when your position your tub to take advantage of a water view. Here, the owners of this timber home capitalized on their property’s natural beauty by installing a fixed, clear pane that looks out upon a miraculous waterfall.


Capitalize on Every Square Inch

 Photo: Joseph St. Pierre


When you have an amazing vista, you have to capitalize on it, using every nook and cranny. This is exactly what the owners of this enchanting timber home did. A stone-and-timber access point leading onto the deck is an ideal spot for a sitting area that gazes across a glassy lake.



More on Waterfront Homes From Timber Home Living 

A Modern, Waterfront Timber Cabin in Idaho

A Lakeside Timber Home in Idaho Made for Retirement 

Design Considerations for a Waterfront Home 

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