Tapio Residence

The Tapio Residence has one of the highest “Timber Frame per square inch” densities of any project we’ve dealt with! It was a real joy to design this project, since the more timbers a house contains, the more fun it is for us to design! The project was incomprehensibly more complex to design than its successors, since it was designed without the use of a 3-D modeling program.

We did draw it up in our program afterwards, only because it was so impressive that wanted to be able to show a full 3-D model of the house to our clients. An excellent example of higher-density timbers without going too far in the rustic category.

“I admit it. I was wrongabout painting thecorbels white…”

THERE! I said it. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW!? I suppose your last mistake was back in 2007!?

All kidding aside, I’ve come to perk up my ears when accused of being wrong. It represents an opportunity to learn. AND, I know I will have to admit being wrong again and again in the future for both trivial and not so trivial reasons. So I might as well embrace it and try to minimize the pain. But isn’t it striking how the memory of being wrong jumps out at me when I reflect on this project?

During the design or building, there was a debate about whether to paint or stain the exterior corbels. When asked for my opinion, I expressed concern about looking tawdry and wasting the beauty of the timbers. But the ownerSarah and the interior designer, Kara, decided togo with white paint. And it achieved their desired effect. Of course, it would have also looked good if the corbels had been stained, but the look would have slanted more rustic. And perhaps even been a bit awkward if forced on the refined rustic balance choices Sarah and Kara were making.

The shape and presence of corbels are inherently more rustic. Here, the arches and paint added refining touches. This allowed the stained timbers at the entry and garage to really shine with just the right amount of “POP.” In the interior, their choices continue to strengthen this refined/rustic balance. The timber sizing and locations. The arches and detailing. The green walls and brown timber stain were harmonized.

Balance was struck with the high great room ceiling by neither painting nor staining the wood ceiling. A light grey whitewash was used. This mix allowed for a refined look while still retaining the warmth of the wood. In the end, this sizable home still felt like a cozy craftsman bungalow. It is very warm and inviting. 

– Bert Sarkkinen

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