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Dirt to Done 1: A Fresh Start

Our popular project chronicle is back with a brand new hybrid timber frame home! Follow along the journey of planning, designing and building a couple’s Colorado sanctuary.

Written by Griffin Suber
Dirt to Done: A Fresh Start
Photo: Mark Sorenson; Timbercraft home
The story of this home begins with a chance meeting at the Log & Timber Home Show in Columbus, Ohio. Bob Sternquist, owner and CEO of Michigan-based Timbercraft, is a frequent speaker at these shows, educating prospective homeowners on the versatility of timber frames and the benefits of a hybrid timber home.
“Prospective homeowners, Peg McVay and Tony Stamm, had already selected a site for their dream retreat: a one-acre hilltop plot outside Cañon City, Colorado, where they could retire on the top of the world.
“What’s fun for me as a manufacturer,” shares Bob, “is when you have a customer with all these unique challenges and all these amazing views to capture. Colorado is a great place for a timber frame, but from a design perspective, it’s a trifecta of challenges. You have a lot of areas that have significant snow loads, and when you’re building on top of a mountain, you also have wind loads. This site is hilly so there’s nothing to break the wind. Colorado is also a seismic area, so you have to build for earthquakes.”
When building on an elevated site or in a secluded location, environmental factors and unexpected delays should always be part of the equation. “When we wanted to start the job, the snow came in and the crane couldn’t get up the driveway,” Bob says. “Nobody’s vehicle could. So we had to wait. That’s the thing about Colorado: Wait out the snow one day, and it’ll be 70 degrees the next.”
So, views can come at a cost. The best part of building a custom home is ability to bridge the gap between needs and budget.
“This is one of the reasons I think they were drawn to Timbercraft,” Bob admits. “A lot of our customers have budgets. When a customer comes to us and says, ‘I have X amount to spend,’ through the process of hybridization, I can then say, ‘This is what you can build.’”
In addition to construction flexibility and the opportunity for cost savings, the homeowners were drawn to hybrid timber framing because that meant they could incorporate organic colors, stone features and custom finishes while keeping the big, beautiful beams that sold them on the idea in the first place.
“My overall goal is to help people get those timbers, get that warmth and get that feel,” says Bob. “As the owners of Timbercraft, even my wife and I don’t live in a fully timber-framed home — we live in a hybrid. With hybrid timber framing, anybody at all, as long as they have a realistic building budget, can have a timber home. In every room? No. But in the high use areas, yes. That’s where you focus it.”
The pandemic has caused the price of building materials to go up a lot, so using standard, lower-cost building materials in laundry rooms, mudrooms or even guest bedrooms allows you to splurge on the areas that really matter.
Take a look at: Dirt to Done Episode One

Stay Tuned!

Join us as we navigate the design process with the homeowners and Timbercraft. You can find all the latest installments of the Dirt to Done series in the print magazine and here on timberhomeliving.com. Plus! Stay tuned for new webinars that dive into the process of creating this home.


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