By Suzanna Logan | Photos by Kim Smith, courtesy of Timberbuilt We’ve all heard the saying that “one man’s misfortune is another man’s gain.” In the case of this timber home in upstate New York, that statement couldn’t be more true.
A few years ago, the rambling 55-acre property where the home now sits was owned by a midwestern businessman. He planned to build a custom house of his own on the land, going so far as to hire timber-frame home designer and developer Timberbuilt. Then, the recession hit. “We had drawn up a design for him and everything, but he decided to sell the property,” explains Timberbuilt president George Klemens. “After putting the land on the market, he called me up and said, ‘I’ve got a guy who’s interested in buying the property, and I think you should talk to him.’”
That “guy” turned out to be Peter Glauber. As fortune would have it, Timberbuilt’s building philosophy meshed perfectly with Peter and his wife’s desire for a quality-built home that wasn’t too showy. “They aren’t about big, over-the-top houses,” Peter says of the locally-based company. “We wanted to focus on a more minimalistic life, and what they offered seemed like the right fit for a reasonable price.”
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After touring area timber homes, the Glaubers settled on the Marshal plan, a timber hybrid that included an open floor plan, three bedrooms with a master suite on the main level and, maybe most importantly, plenty of outdoor spaces. “We had to have a porch,” Peter says. “Relaxing next to the views and the outdoor fireplace is now our favorite way to start and end the day.” The design phase went along without a hitch, but a few months after breaking ground, a particularly severe winter halted construction.
“We had delay after delay because everything had frozen,” Peter explains. Turns out, the wait was a blessing in disguise. “It was frustrating at first, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was able to use that extra time to work out all the details,” he says. “The longer the house took, the better it got.”
During the hiatus, Peter also put his woodworking skills to good use. Now, wood weathered to rustic perfection adds a sense of history to the new home, beginning with the front door made of reclaimed barn siding. “I fiddled around with it for months to get it right,” Peter says. Just inside the entrance, richly textured oak floors from an old tobacco barn stretch out under dark, barn wood ceilings punctuated by whitewashed pine timbers.
“Anytime we could repurpose and reuse something we did,” Klemens says. Outside, the resourceful efforts continue. Southern yellow pine timbers that once formed the guardrails on a road leading to Niagara Falls now make up the back deck. The entry porch has a similarly interesting story: it’s comprised of Douglas fir taken from a sauerkraut vat. “It kind of smelled for awhile,” Peter says, laughing. “But the wood is beautiful.” But maybe nothing in the home is quite as eye-catching as the views. “We’re on a hilltop with a pond below,” Peter says. “You look out and all you see is water, trees and wildlife.” Of course, the couple and their guests don’t have to be out-of-doors to enjoy nature.
Throughout the interiors, windows separating house from land cause the walls to virtually vanish. “We’re in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun, so we put in a lot of glass to brighten things up,” Klemens says. The close connection to the outdoors, along with a rambling layout and a wash of muted earth tones and natural finishes help the house live larger than its 3,200-square-feet.
“There are a lot of dynamics happening,” George says. “All of those things combine to create the feeling of elbow room.” Nowhere is the spacious feel more appreciated than in the kitchen — a room with an easy-flow and natural warmth that draws guests like a magnet. “When we have parties, everyone hangs in the kitchen,” Peter says. For the couple, having a home that attracts friends and family, and gives them a comfortable place to gather has been the best part of owning a timber home.
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“After all that happened in the beginning, it’s funny that the property ended up getting a timber house on it after all,” says Klemens. “Goes to show it was completely meant to be.”