Use these four design tips to achieve a home built for longevity and living, not an endless list of chores.

New York Timber Frame Home by Woodhouse, The Timber Frame Company

What’s on your wish list for your idyllic timber frame home and lifestyle? Easy access to the slopes? Dramatic mountain views? A waterside deck and dock to live the lake life? Maybe it’s a posh, urban abode, steps away from coffee houses and nightlife.

No matter your dream, one thing that’s true is every home requires some level of upkeep. A high-maintenance home can be a drag on your lifestyle, demanding more than its fair share of your resources. Thinking critically about what you want to spend your time and money on during the design phase can help you achieve the lifestyle you envision, filled with doing the things you want to do – whether that’s caring for your home or something else entirely.

Because a Woodhouse timber frame is built to last decades, a few up-front considerations during the initial design phase will let you maximize your enjoyment over the years.


1. Property

The physical property plays a large role in the amount of upkeep a home may require. Elements like topography, orientation to the sun and elements, and regional climate should all be considered. Homes exposed to wind tunnels, snow, or extreme heat are vulnerable to the stresses imposed by large temperature swings or constant bombardment of dirt and ice particles. Oceanside homes face relentless exposure to salt.

Proper home positioning on a site can offer protection from the elements. It can also alleviate or maximize passive solar heating for improved energy efficiency. For instance, taking advantage of the sun’s warmth during winter can reduce heating costs. Likewise, positioning a home correctly can also help keep it cool in hot climates.


2. Exterior Design Elements

There are more ways to abate nature’s wear and tear. Large overhangs can help protect exterior materials. Semi-enclosed or covered outdoor entertaining areas can offer further levels of protection against rain, heat, and ice. These design elements can also extend the amount of time you can spend outside using your deck or patio. Material selections also require different amounts of upkeep – wood versus concrete versus composite.


Enclosed porch in a Maryland timber frame home


3. Dedicated Spaces

Depending on your hobbies and daily activities, strategic use of dedicated spaces can give you some much-needed room or the ability to contain messes or things that could otherwise be considered clutter. Think in terms of a gear closet for skis, kayaks, or fishing gear. Maybe a dog washing station, an extra bay in the garage for gearheads, or an oversized mudroom and utility sink for hunters and fisherman. Strategic is the operative word here. And if you’ll regularly be working on a project or pastime, a dedicated space means you won’t have to move things around to set up and then clean up each time. Consider including an extra room in the loft area for crafts or for the kids.


4. Exposed Timbers

Exterior exposed timbers are part of a timber frame home’s rugged elegance. Raw wood, however, is at risk of splitting, cracking, and drying out when exposed to the elements and UV light. The tops of beams are especially vulnerable. There are several ways to extend the life and maintenance requirements of your exposed beams.

Good, low-maintenance design places beams in protected areas such as under extended rooflines or away from prevailing winds. They should also be angled in such a way to shed water. Proper use of coatings and preservatives will give them further protection. Physically covering the tops of the beams in a sheet metal will prevent water from pooling on top as well as deter birds and insects from causing further damage.


What’s Right for You?

We’re eager to share how a timber frame home lets you do more of what you want to do, all with incredible style and craftsmanship. Contact us to start the conversation on how we can design a low-maintenance home that saves you time, hassle, and money over the long haul. Check out our gallery to see the incredible diversity of timber frame styles and genres available and ready to be customized to you.