Timber Frames are built with massive timbers and a dizzying array of intricate, hand-pegged, mortise-and-tenon joinery. Creative surface textures: planed smooth with chamfered edges, hand hewn, Weatheraged, distressed, or any combination desired. The stunning frame, a descendant of centuries-old methods, is then married to a high-tech, extremely tight and energy efficient blanket of structural insulated panels. The result is a highly personalized home of unmatched beauty, value, energy efficiency, and total design flexibility. At Hearthstone, we have an overarching principle and culture. We believe in, and are dedicated to preserving and making available to the public traditional, high-quality, custom products. We are blessed with rich products with a magical aura and quiet dignity that make eyes widen, imaginations spin, and people realize that pride, respect, and craftsmanship still exist in the American marketplace.
We at Hearthstone offer you a most satisfying protest against a mediocre existence. We believe than an authentic, distinctive lifestyle, in concert with a natural environment, is the best product any company can offer. The magic in the timbers of your Hearthstone timber frame home will help you create that lifestyle and environment. Timber framing is a noble, majestic type of construction that utilizes exacting variations of mortise-and-tenon type joinery and massive timbers to form the framework of a building. If you have ever seen photos of an Amish barn-raising, you have seen a broad picture of a timber frame structure.
Timber framing is just the kind of traditional craft that we at Hearthstone specialize in. Meticulously practiced for centuries as the preferred method of building construction, the trade and tradition nearly died in the early 1900’s as steel mills, high-production saw mills, wire nails, and mass production psychology replaced the art and craft of timber framing, just as that attitude displaced many of our other master-trades.
The living environment created by a timber frame provides for harmonious interaction between nature, family, and guests. At times, the frames seems to speak… they whisper of value, tradition, ancestors, strength, dignity, and honesty. No matter who you are, or how old you are, or how long you live, your timber frame home will always whisper those things to you, your family, and your descendants as it anchors your life and theirs.
Thankfully, a certain core of our population has rebelled against mass production mania and sterile products without soul nor character. Predictably, those who railed against those trends are slowly being rewarded for their unswerving dedication to their craft, their product, and their customer. Hearthstone is committed to our Timber Frame Homes and commercial structures in the same spirit that guided those timberwrights of bygone centuries.
In our homes, however, the beautiful timber framework is left exposed to the interior of the home, creating breathtaking effects of open spaces and craftsmanship rarely seen in more than a century. Huge timbers are transformed from rough lumber to the intricate finished framework of a Hearthstone timber frame home – with joinery detail often seen in the finest furniture. During this process, the emotions and values of the timberwrights and of the company become as important as sharp tools and quality timbers.
The joinery itself is the heart of the system. As with any product that becomes fashionable, timber framing has attracted opportunistic imitators who are bent on making things cheaper. It’s often the joinery where one can quickly establish the authenticity of the product and the commitment of the framer. Our joinery methods and types are taken from the living history books — those durable structures that have withstood centuries of dependable service. Our forefathers were frugal people without spare time: if the joinery could safely have been simpler, it would have been.
Adaptability and flexibility of design and style – both interior and exterior – are hallmarks of timber frame buildings. Of our three main product lines, timber frames are the most flexible from the perspective of look and style. The frame itself is a complete structural unit, so interior partition walls are not load bearing. The interior designer is then allowed a great deal of latitude in the development of interior spaces. The self-supporting frame allows the development of very open, airy floor plans, while at the same time providing massive posts and beams to help provide natural definition of living areas and traffic patterns.
Interior design can be anything from artsy, or formal, or eclectic, or regional, or period reproduction… or just about anything you can imagine. The timbers themselves can be planed and oiled, rough sawn, hand-hewn, sandblasted, hand planed, or whatever other interesting finishing process we can come up with. Many different species of wood work well. Most of ours are white pine, Douglas Fir, or oak. But, we’ve worked with recycled or reclaimed timbers of various species, standing dead timbers, cedar, Cypress, walnut, hickory, Yellow Pine, and others. A very crucial Hearthstone advantage is that we can kiln dry large timbers — and many of our frames are now dried. Truly drying big timbers requires very specialized equipment and expertise.
The frame is then covered in various ways, but most commonly with a blanket of extremely energy efficient structural insulated panels (SIPs). SIP’s in-and-of themselves are a tremendous building product — featuring supreme energy efficiency and strength. The exterior finish and architectural look of a timber frame can be anything that could be applied to any other type of structure — for instance wood, stone, glass, brick, etc. The interior walls can be finished the same way any other interior wall could be finished. Timber framing can provide opportunities in many different situations for many different people, and they make outstanding commercial buildings. The imagination is the limit. The common denominators, however, remain: time tested durability, superb energy efficiency, distinctive interior décor, lasting value, and a warm, rich feeling of living in concert with nature and your heritage.
Don’t be tricked into thinking a stud frame house with a couple timbers sprinkled around is a good deal. An interesting quote from Audel’s Carpenters and Builders Guide #3, copyrighted in 1923 is both apt and a bit amusing:
“Stud construction is a phenomenon of a booming society full of throwaway products. At the end of the original mortgage one of these modern homes looks like it’s most useful years are surely behind it”.
That statement is even more true today than it was in 1923. Stud frame construction very simply is without soul, is born of convenience, and is bereft of any redeeming values. Offering alternatives to stud frame construction is one of the defining principles at Hearthstone. We believe, and have committed our lives and careers to the premise that, in a house, the highest value is almost certainly not the lowest cost.