Creating the an atmosphere in your home that reflects your personal style and signature is a lot like choosing an outfit.

You have the main piece and then you add on accessories. All of those added pieces control and personalize the entire appearance. This can easily translate into the initial style of your home. Here are some factors to help you create the big picture:

A. Room and house shape (depth, height, and width).
B. Timber size, spacing and orientation in relation to one another. Ask yourself ‘How do I plan on using of my living space and what are my basic taste preferences?

A few design styles could be cozy and homey, artistic and contemporary, tall and elegant, low and expansive, and massive and rustic.

For a cozy and homey atmosphere, the initial outline of the house should fit snugly with its surroundings, tucked in between trees or against a hillside. Low, inviting porches are another great way to convey this feeling. The beams are sized and oriented accordingly, so it gives you the perception of ‘close to the touch’. A sheetrock ceiling should have the timbers closely spaced, with wood paneling or decking on the ceiling. Wide spacing is no longer critical because the wood ceiling conveys coziness and warmth.

An artistic and contemporary home has many options. The initial outline should avoid traditional shapes or at least should have a visual surprise, such as a cable suspended entryway. Along with spacing and orientation, beam size should have a twist here and there, but not too excessively. If total irregularity becomes the prevailing theme you are now conveying a different atmosphere than artistic and contemporary.

Q: What if my chosen design style doesn’t fit in with any of the examples above?
A: No big deal! (make it more about the client) Small inconsistencies throughout the home but make your home feel truly unique and specially tailored to your distinct style.

Details and customizing accessories: The attributes for this stage consist of color, texture, metal connectors, dowels and joinery.

Color: When considering color, make sure to include beam color, wall, floor and ceiling color as they each affect one another and dramatically change the atmosphere. Dark colors tend to feel more elegant and rich whereas light colors create a cheery and vibrant mood. A lot of stark white will feel sterile, but white offset with color remains neutral. Dark stains on the timbers will give the beams a more massive, older and aristocratic feel. Conversely, light colors will be cheery and warm, and less imposing.

Timber texture: Smooth timbers are the most neutral and can lend themselves to clean and modern designs. Rough-sawn timbers fall into a more rustic class like Western Ranch or Rocky Mountain Lodge. As axes were invented before saws, hand-hewn timbers have the most history behind them, thus hand-hewn timbers evoke an old world feel to their surroundings. These can also be classified as reclaimed and distressed materials which are environmentally friendly.

Metal connectors: Metal connectors can be used to influence style and increase strength. Stainless steel plates bolted to hand-hewn timbers are an interesting combination of old and new. Shiny black connectors have a new feel and work best with light wood. Brightly colored connectors such as red or blue give a visual surprise and artistic flair. Heat-colored connectors give a more subtle and elusive tone. Hammered dull steel is probably the most popular as it matches the old tradition of timber framing itself. Metal connector rods can influence the atmosphere not only with the color and type of metal used, but also by changing the visual dynamics of the timbers. Joinery choices and dowels do not have as much of an impact as other details, but using different wood types for connecting splines and dowels add an interesting touch.

Lighting: Light fixtures, wall covering, furniture and interior design will all influence the atmosphere to a degree. Depending on the style of the fixture and the color and warmth of the light it can add to your style and enhance the beauty of the timbers.

What is your perfect home?

You probably have an intuitive idea of what you like for atmosphere. Hopefully, this report will help you as you work with color, size and spatial relationships to build the perfect home for you.

– Bert Sarkkinen