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Timber Home Style 101

School is in session! Use this guide to study up on trending-but-timeless timber home design styles.


One of the big draws of timber-framed homes is their aesthetic versatility. The natural beauty of heavy wood timbers harmonizes with virtually any style — from modern to rustic, coastal to country. They’re so flexible, you can even adopt more than one style, a particularly on-trend choice for today’s homes and materials. With that in mind, one question remains: What suits your style?

As you sketch your home, your designer or architect likely will begin with a broad field of view, asking specific questions, like what colors and textures you’re drawn to and what environment makes you feel most at home. Based on your responses, he or she can point you in directions that reflect your tastes. For instance, you might choose reclaimed wood for a rustic or antiqued appearance, freshly hewn timbers to achieve a modern look or laminated beams and exposed steel connections for a contemporary motif.

When planning your dream timber home, the design is in the details — whether that’s clean lines that make for a contemporary home or timeless and rugged surface materials for a rustic retreat. Dive into this overview to see how it all comes together, and find the right style for you! 


  Timber Frame Company: Colorado Timberframe; Photo: James Ray Spahn



Transitional style is one of those home-design terms that is thrown around, but few really understand what it means. In a nutshell, it’s the intersection of traditional and modern design, presented in a way that can transition seamlessly through different eras. It has the ability to morph with changing trends but not succumb to them. In other words, it will be a while (if ever) until it goes out of style.

Timber homes, with their rich history and classic building materials that have shifted with the times, are inherently transitional. With that said, any timber home should genuinely celebrate the craftsmanship of the frame, with planed timbers or edge detailing, and place that in the forefront of its design.


 Builder: Pike Builders Inc; Designer: Williams Engineering LLC; Photo: James Ray Spahn



Rustic homes are often characterized more by the wood finishes in the home than the style of the structure itself. Roughly-dressed or reclaimed timbers with raw, natural textures are emphasized by uncomplicated joinery, a simple framing system and complementary finishing materials, such as wood floors, stonework and rustic siding, throughout the home. See more of this home here.


 Design/Timber Frame: Canadian Timberframes, Ltd.; Photo: Courtesy of Canadian Timberframes Ltd.



Clean lines and sleek, streamlined design are the hallmarks of modern/contemporary homes, and, as our everyday lives become increasingly hectic, the no-fuss, calming nature has caused this style to surge in popularity. Modern timber homes often feature engineered timbers (glue laminated beams), exposed steel connections, sleek flooring materials, monochromatic color schemes and other finishing details that work in harmony with the wood without taking away from it. Shou sugi ban, the Japanese technique of charring wood to a blackened finish that also seals it, has become the darling of modern-home exterior treatments. See more of this home here.


  Design/Timber Frame: Timberbuilt; Photo: James Cavanaugh



Long before the concept of modern-farmhouse design took America by storm, timber homes had their roots firmly planted in craftsman-style bungalows. Facades with large gables, sloping rooflines and deep porches create the classic vision of a home on the prairie. There’s an offshoot called a “connected” style, which is designed and constructed to appear as though it was a house that had been added onto over time to accommodate more people or to demonstrate newfound prosperity. By using a variety of building materials like cedar shake, stone and even brick in distinctive segments alongside the logs, it feels as though generations have expanded it to accommodate the changing needs of the family.


 Timber Provider: Timberlyne; Photo: Courtesy of Timberlyne



Continuing to be one of the hottest design trends in timber homes today, barn-style (aka modern farmhouse) takes its cues from the grand barns found in working farms across the continent. The profile of a barn-style home can take many forms, depending on colloquial traits, but as a rule, it incorporates wide-open, spacious interiors with seamless transitions from room to room; reclaimed timbers; and steeply pitched or gambrel roofs. Outside, shake shingles and board-and-batten siding treatments, as well as crisp-white or boldly hued paint rule the proverbial roost. 


See Also: The 5 Hottest Architectural Styles for Timber Homes

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