Creating post and beam makeovers is our cup of tea! It elevates our heart rates. We love working with architects and clients and seeing the unique solutions created by the cross-pollination of ideas. In some cases, an architect will approach us with new construction documents or remodel plans and ask us to conjure up an artistic post and beam design to fit their plans. Sometimes builders call us to perform the same service at lightning speed.

I’d like to show you two examples. In the first example, time was of the essence. In the second example, the clients had a long design phase. Arrow Timber Framing was able to provide a professional design/build service in each case. Our team is ready to get you the post and beam project you’ve been dreaming of, no matter the time frame!

A picture is worth a thousand words, but it is still an imperfect means of communication. If you have ever experienced the difference of viewing pictures of the Grand Canyon versus actually visiting it yourself, you know exactly what I mean. By the same token, the actual impact of a post and beam makeover is somewhat muted when conveyed in a picture format.

You’ll be happy to know that the ATF design process addresses this. You may or may not have photos of a space you would like to use as a starting point. We work with all the information a client brings us! Using a style quiz and our exclusive process, we work hard to define the feeling you want your space to convey. Whether you have a napkin sketch or a computer set of blueprints, the process will always go through the same four steps.

Step 1: 90 Minute Brainstorm Session
Step 2: Design and Planning Phase
Step 3: Construction Agreement
Step 4: Fabrication and Erection

Example #1: The following post and beam makeover occurred about 6 years ago. In this case, ATF used an expedited version of our process in order to fit the customer’s tight schedule. We designed, fabricated, and installed an entire post and beam makeover in just thirteen days!

Day #1: The builder called me around 2:00 PM to ask if ATF was interested in constructing a circular timber stairway. Of course, I was interested! He informed me that two steel contractors who had been scheduled to construct the stairway had failed to deliver. Time was of the essence.

That night I sat down to brainstorm, but the canvas was too broad. I needed to find out how the entire atmosphere was supposed to feel. Post sizing, profiles, end detailing, etc… all would have an impact on the décor. I called the project’s interior designer. She used the words warm, welcoming and homey many times. It wasn’t five minutes after hanging up the phone when inspiration struck! By utilizing more of the 25′ x 25′ commercial lobby space, we could create a warm, welcoming entry which said “home.” I could tell the concept was a winner.
Day #2: I set up a meeting with the project manager very early the next morning because he was leaving for Africa that day. Upon seeing the sketch and understanding the concept, his head began to nod. “This is an out-of-the-box solution, but I think it is good,” he said. He questioned me further about the feasibility and the cost estimate. Later that day he called me before his departure to give me the green light.
Days #3-4: We gathered exact field measurements, reviewed commercial stairway requirements, coordinated details with the railing manufacturer, electrician, and fire sprinkler contractor, and brought the design far enough to order the posts and beams.

Days #5-8: Here the design was finalized and measurements double- checked. The craftsmen fabricated the package at the ATF shop.

Days 9-13: What a challenging install! Space was tight and the man power heavy to shave time off the schedule. Potential safety hazards and lost productivity due to long hours were prevented by taking regimented breaks and eating plenty of good food. The install was completed with time to spare!

Example #2: This design/build process was about two years long. The homeowner, Scott, and I first met at a home show, a couple of years before we began to brainstorm. I’ll highlight the steps within the brainstorm and design phase, where we spent the majority of the elapsed time.

Brainstorming and design: Scott and his wife, Lynn, had compiled many pictures and floor plans they liked. We met at their property to talk about how the house would be situated and where the driveway would be located. In order to capture the view, the logical house site straddled a ridge. The plans Scott and Lynn had selected featured a drive-up garage in front of the house on the basement level.

My head designer and I focused on ways to avoid an entry at the basement level. Our first suggestion included a drive-through porte cochere straddling the ridge. The house itself was located to one side of the ridge.

As we worked through the design process, we decided against the porte-cochere, but the idea of building the house to the side of the ridge remained. This allowed for access on the main floor, as well providing a gorgeous view.

Scott and Lynn interviewed architects I had recommended. Once they chose an architect, I began to work in tandem with him to help with elevation suggestions and building solutions to accommodate the post and beam style Scott and Lynn desired. When we got the rough draft from the architect, the ATF design team went into high gear. We exchanged ideas for the next month or so as the design progressed. The final design was completed about 14 months after I met Scott on his property that blustery November day.


If you, like Scott and Lynn, are in a position to use time as an ally, I strongly encourage it. Your ideas will percolate over time. It may sound like a time-consuming process, but as the ideas start to come together it develops its own almost effortless cadence. Here at ATF, our forte is in working together with a design team to get exactly the feel you want in your post and beam project. If you are just starting the building process, set up your 90-minute brainstorming session.
Once we pinpoint your style, we can recommend an architect, builder, or interior designer we think would be a good fit for you. We have a vetted list of professionals which we have worked with through many projects, giving you a team that works together smoothly. Have fun and challenge your imagination!

To your motivation and success,

Bert Sarkkinen

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