It takes a truly inviting house to compare with the appeal of the quaint towns and lush scenery of New Hampshire, but Timberpeg’s first model home (featured here), which has consequently been sold, was designed to meet the challenge.
“We’d never had a model before,” says Timberpeg president Richard Neroni. “We wanted to show how timber framing combines with conventional construction, and we wanted to create a house that would look comfortable in the community.” The result is a home that fits in with the neighborhood, but also awes visitors with its distinct character.
The 3,100-square-foot, three-bedroom house, located at the base of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, has on its exterior beveled clapboards on the first floor, capped with cedar shingles on the second story. The shingle-and-clapboard style was favored in this area during the 19th century, and many older homes use this combination of materials. But the dramatic windows that capture a mountain view in nearly every room are one clue that this is a home for contemporary tastes.
The heart of the plan is a great room created by the house’s magnificent four-bent frame. The Douglas fir frame, with its teardrop detailing, is just as eye-catching as the view outside. A simple wood-burning fireplace at one end of the rooma classic painted mantel with no massive masonrydoesn’t compete with the framing overhead. At the other end of the room, the trusses frame a balcony that overlooks the great room from a loft sitting area on the second floor. One wall is fitted with bookshelves tucked in below a row of clerestory windows, creating a relaxing place to read a book.
The spacious kitchen is open, but a wall with a pass-through blocks the view from the great room, so that the work area isn’t exposed. The kitchen is planned and equipped to be hard-working, with a commercial range and electric convection oven. An adjacent breakfast area leads onto a screened-in porchan essential feature during New Hampshire’s warm months. Another room off the kitchen is sized so that it can be used either as a family room or a formal dining room, depending on a family’s lifestyle.
The feature that gets the most attentionafter the frame, of courseis the home’s many closets. “There’s tons of closet space in this house,” Richard says. On the first floor alone there is a pantry off the kitchen, a hall coat closet and back hall storage that includes a laundry room near a walk-in wardrobe designed to hold out-of-season clothes.
“A first-floor master bedroom is very important to most people,” Richard says. The handsome frame provides the drama in the bedroom; in the master bath the elegance comes from exquisite materials. Natural light pours in from two sides warming the long marble-topped double vanity, and a ceramic rope finish tops the tile wainscot that surrounds the vanity and deep soaking tub. “People love the bath,” Richard says.
The floorplan includes two second-floor bedrooms plus a room for an in-home office. The walk-out lower level, which includes a bath, is ready to be finished as a media room and playroom. “This community has a lot of retireesactive, upscale empty-nesters,” Richard says. “Lots of people do business consulting.” Hence, the home features an office on the second floor with high-tech wiring run throughout the house for easy Internet access.
Sandy Biuso Odell designed the interior of this lovely house. “The minute I went in,” she says, “I was impressed by the great feeling of comfort, by the big spaces and the wonderful natural light. “Clearly,” she adds, “[a timber frame home] needs big, comfortable pieces of furniture. There were already things in the house that suggested a 1940s character, like the white marble and tile in the bathroom. So we looked for overstuffed pieces of furniture.”
For the great room, she selected an oversized sofa covered in elegant taupe upholstery. She paired it with a newly reupholstered thrift shop chair. A set of carved Oriental side tables adds an exotic dimension to the room, as do the two patterned kilims anchoring the dining and sitting areas. A glass-topped, wrought-iron table sits on the boundary of the two areas. “The glass top sort of disappears so that it doesn’t look like too much furniture,” Sandy says.
When the house was used as a model, Timberpeg representatives met with clients, showed them its features and helped them understand how a timber frame home can be crafted to meet their own needs.
Someday, when it’s time for Timberpeg to build another show-house, it will undoubtedly become someone else’s home, too.
GETTING THE MOST
Richard Neroni, president of Timberpeg, a producer of post-and-beam homes in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, knows from experience the importance of selecting the right producer to make your dream of building a timber frame home come true. Here’s his advice: