As you may have seen in our book “The Art of Hybrid Timber Framing” or elsewhere on our website, we’ve broken down timber frame custom designs into 7 unique design styles. These include: Modern, Traditional, Euro, Rustic, Coastal, Classic & Craftsman.

These design styles speak to specifics within the architecture and timber usage in a home or structure. Beyond this delineation of design styles, we have also pinpointed 4 overall classifications that are more general in nature and could include a mixture of design styles within them.

They are: Modest, Sophisticated, Pragmatic & Fortress.


A home or structure with a modest theme will be located in an unpretentious setting, such as a middle class neighborhood or rural setting. The design itself will originally be unimposing and moderate in size, as will the surrounding landscape and environment. Many times, the size of the structure will feel cozy, and furnishings are thoughtfully arranged to maximize the space. A home with a modest theme may have a relaxed or casual feel, which is good because visitors can at once feel at ease and at home. Tones and hues are mostly comfortable, uncluttered, and straightforward.

arts and crafts home


An elegant feeling to a home is usually found in a prestigious neighborhood or secluded estate – rich, subtle colors and lighting will reflect the occupants’ class and style. This style is not constrained to either large or small, but is more defined by its balance of architecture, tidy surroundings, and richer choice of building materials and colors which convey subtle complexity and elegance. Sophisticated blends well with contemporary. But contemporary style by nature defies a clear and lasting definition. Always on the cutting edge and full of new twists and surprises. No idea for building materials in this category is too strange. Maybe we should just call it construction art!

euro truss style


A project or home with a pragmatic theme is often found in a ranch, country, or farm home. These dwellings are built with industry in mind. Because practicality takes precedence, these simple designs have their own style. This is an honest and straightforward style, in which the reasoning of the builder can be easily retraced. Folks visiting this type of home may feel compelled to roll up their sleeves and “pitch in!”

modern rustic lakehouse timber frame


The planner of a home which has a fortress theme will be a very careful and thorough individual. Exposed to high winds, heavy snow and other natural extremes, these structures need a solid foundation and logical planning to offer a secure abode in harsher elements. The fortress theme is inspiring and encourages guests to congregate and linger, to enjoy the beauty and security of the theme. It is no surprise that many lodges and resorts incorporate this style into their design, as they require more space and are prominent and expansive. Typically, they will have a stout, rustic flavor. Interior design options are not constrained to a certain style, because timbers do not cover the entire wall and ceiling. Faux painting, wall paper, modern art, and a wide range of colors can influence or accentuate your theme for spectacular results.

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Beyond the 7 Design Styles of Timber Frame Homes - there are 4 classifications that can be used as overall standards. Modest, Pragmatic, Sophisticated & Fortress
Bert Sarkkinen
Arrow Timber
Arrow Timber Framing