Every Timber Frame Home has a Story

What do you want your story to be? If you are like most people, you don’t really know what you want- because our initial ideas and plans invariably change as we move forward learning more and more. As you learn perusing the content here, you may get little idea tweaks, big idea shifts or anything in between.

Three big takeaways which have helped clients “write” their story are: 


    1. Flexibility- As attractive wheels can make a complete look for a nice truck or sports car, artistic hybrid timber framing can make the look for houses and structures. It will give you the warm experience of adding exposed beam construction to your custom house plan without the design and cost constraints associated with full timber construction building.
    2. Flexibility- The cost-per-square foot depends on your choices throughout the design process. You can feature timbers where they best serve their purpose, whether decorative or structural.

    3. Flexibility- With (almost) tireless designers and advisors, hand selected by you, you really do have a virtually endless combination of options to compliment your style. And through a 3D modeling process, you can see how your choices look from all angles, making decisions that reflect your personality and aesthetic preferences. 

There’s a fun, exciting world to discover. Post and Beam homes have strong ties to past architecture and home design. And you get to decide how to use exposed beam art to express your story. We’ve written a book to help homeowners envision, depict and build their custom home story. If you’re not ready to purchase the signed-hardcover, you can get the entire book in an exciting flip-book format! From one enthusiast to another, enjoy the journey!

Insightful Information Creates Successful and Enjoyable Building Stories!

Do You Have a Style Preference for Your Forever Home Plan?

The Rustic Style connects with those who wish to live closer to nature, with less demands, distractions and the hustle of modern life. An appreciation for organic, natural strength is a must!

Orchestrated artistry, perhaps even coming across as overly-ornate, the Euro style is soothing to it’s appreciators.

Perhaps Modern is best for the neat freak, those that don’t like following the crowd. Bold decisions and unexpected design surprises bring long-term contentedness to the Modern crowd.

For the well-rounded among us, Classic personalities don’t like oversimplification of complex issues, yet don’t go to the extreme on either side.

Craftsman style connects with those that love seeing a well-thought out plan completely executed. If something is not needed, get rid of it. They are all about balanced, functional, multi-tasking design.

For the Traditional design style lover, predictable means a safe, reliable and happy ending. The thought of choosing strong bright colors may give them hives!

Complimentary Magazine:

The “Inspiration Report”

Explore the world of exposed beam construction and learn the intricacies of floor plan design.

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timber frame magazine distinct trusses

Design & Style is Everything

Careful attention should be paid to beam sizing, as well as proportioning. Without a conscientious design process, timber framing done wrong can magnify imbalances and make a project feel cheap, tawdry and awkward, as illustrated below.

A project by an unknown builder. To the untrained eye, the porch and accents may seem ok, but imagine how good this could look with the following suggested changes:

If this had been your plan, and ATF was hired, some form of these tweaks would have been applied to your 3D model, depending upon your style.

As designers, we have discovered that artistic post & beam design is one-part inspiration and three-parts perseverance, brainstorming many ideas for you until the “goldilocks” design is achieved (“Just right”). And speaking of inspiration, it can occur as a thunderbolt of intense clarity, or like a snowball that begins with a small nagging idea. But, never stop at your first idea. Always seek multiple options and/or develop your ideas further.

Enjoy the design process and you will intuitively know when your 3D model has crossed the finish line.”

What is Your Design Style Really?

Modern? Rustic? Something Else?...

Get the design style of your home wrong and you'll create aesthetic headaches to work around. Get the RIGHT look and things come easy.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the Pro's and Con's of Using Posts & Beams?

In the case of “full” timber buildings, it reduces the flexibility of the floor plan and causes a lot of expense in order to structurally frame every room, including bathrooms and closets. With a “hybrid” timber house, you have the option to only use post and beam in specific areas and have much more flexibility in floor plan decision making. The primary pro’s are: unique, artistic look. Excellent sell through (if designed properly) and the ability to truly customize an investment. The cons are: higher cost per sq. foot, and in the case of “full” timber design, more constraints in floor plan design.

Popular Wood Species?

There are numerous wood types that have been used for heavy exposed beam homes, including but not limited to: Douglas Fir, Cedar, Hemlock, Pine and Spruce. A majority of our projects use Douglas Fir for its superior traits.

What Will A Project Cost?

Compared to “conventional” framing, timber framing has a higher cost. However, the range of investment varies widely depending on number and size of timber.

With “Hybrid Timber Framing” allocate 10-20% of the overall build cost for your timber budget. Open outdoor structures that are primarily built out of timbers and don’t include conventional framing don’t apply here – they vary widely.

This investment range will allow you to get the right-size timbers in the right amount to make sure you don’t have an underwhelming timber package, while keeping your overall investment on track.

For example: if your overall build budget is $1,000,000 (1 Mil), allocating 100-200K (Includes Design, Timber Fabrication, Engineering, Staining and Install) would give you a timber investment that allows you to get a totally unique and artistic timber package. If you’re going for a minimum amount of timbers, it could be less, but 10-20% of total custom home budget is the average investment for most clients who choose to design a hybrid timber home.

Engineering and Insurance Concerns?

As long as you can get an engineer to approve your plans, insurance won’t question your house construction. Engineers need to understand the tensile strength of timbers and joinery (for example: an inch and a quarter oak peg is equivalent to a one half-inch diameter mild steel bolt). Arrow Timber hires engineers who have an excellent understanding of post and beam construction methods, so that permitting and insurance aren’t an issue.

Timber Framing 101

The History/Evolution of Post & Beam

This age-old craft of construction uses logs that have been sawn into a rectangular shape. They are larger than the typical studs and trusses of a stick-built or conventionally-framed home, and are exposed often on both interior and exterior.

Many thousands of years ago, when people needed shelter and a place to live, wood was usually the building material of choice. We almost “lost” this historical art during the time of the Wild West expansion. Thankfully, it experienced a revival beginning in the 1970s. As you might expect, well-to-do clientele funded this passionate resurgence. Great detail went into replicating old joinery; and these early adopters tended to be purists.

A Historical German Building That Has Stood for Centuries 

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Q: What’s the Fastest, Easiest and Most Effective Way to Get Started?

A: Schedule a Brainstorm

30-90 Minute Brainstorm: You will be able to explore your building project possibilities, cost ranges and get more ideas for inspiration.

You don’t have to have all the details sorted before a brainstorm. Some clients have an existing floor-plan they’d like modified, while others just have basic sketches, pictures and ideas they like. Ideally, it’s best to come to us before your house-plan is finalized, because of the big influence that timbers can have on the look and feel of your project.

Are the solutions our company offer the right fit for you? It’s easy to find out:

(Above) 3D Model Design & Hybrid Post & Beam Package by Arrow Timber

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Articles on Timber Framing
Viewing photos of custom timber homes and patio covers is one of the most exciting ways to gather ideas and determine your likes and dislikes. To get inspiration and ideas, nothing beats beautiful images of Post & Beam Construction. But without reflection or a way sort through the preferences and conflicting desires, simply viewing more images may confuse things.
Bert Sarkkinen
Arrow Timber
Arrow Timber Framing