Monday, March 29, 2010

Timber Frame Barns and Garages

Having a protected space to store and maintain your equipment, tools and toys is an essential luxury in New England. I grew up on a farm on which we had two barns and two garages and still there was never really enough room for all of the toys, tools, projects and animals. I can still remember that sweet scent of hay in the horse barn mixed with horse manure and the horses themselves as well as the smooth feel of those ancient beams and floor boards. My brothers and I spent hours in the hay loft building very elaborate hay castles, mazes and forts. Sometimes we were banished to the barn when we misbehaved and other times we sought refuge in that barn when we felt that somehow the world had misbehaved. My father continues to add barns, outbuildings and garages to his home (we have plans for a small horse barn this spring) and my brothers to their homes. And they continue to offer housing for naughty children, refuge and peace as well as simple storage and protection from the weather.

Two years ago, after living in my own home for a little over five years my husband and I decided it was time to add that cherished barn/garage to our property -- this would allow us to move our woodworking shop out of our basement AND provide protection for the cars during winter storms. Instead of joining the family barn building competition (size and engineering feats win) we opted for simple and insulated! As with any project at my home, my extended family participated in the design and building. Gaius actually told me I was crazy not to build an insulated barn because I would surely want to be able to heat the space and comfortably work on a car in the winter. We ended up with a super-insulated 24x48 structure with a 2-ft kneewall and second floor loft on a floating slab foundation and vertical board siding. We comfortably park four cars in it along with a four-wheeler and still have room for a modest workshop area. And we have a great storage space on the second floor with potential for guest sleeping. After two years of loving it I'm able to say that, as usual all of those suggestions from "the family" were right -- darn them anyway. We appreciate our barn every day; winter, summer fall or spring -- rain or shine for the protection from the elements, storage and also for the play space it provides. There are no horses nor is there any hay in it at this point but it does offer a certain respite from the chaos of daily life and I've found my four-year old hiding out in it more than once.

This spring we've received so many inquiries about timber frame barns, garages and boat houses that we thought we would help jump start your imagination by putting together a photo album of our favorite projects. Check out these barns and garages in various stages of construction. Shelter Design Build (formerly Hennin Post & Beam) has a wide range of services starting with a site evaluation consultation to determine best location for the barn and driveway, to recognize potential drainage issues and determine which type of foundation will work best. From there we can move to the design phase creating conceptual structural and three dimensional drawings to help you visualize your new building and determine what size will work best. From the completed design we can provide the engineered cut sheets so you can cut and raise your own frame or we can cut the frame for you and ship it to your site for you to construct -- we have shipped frames as far south as the Caribbean and as far west as Colorado for construction by the home owner. Each framing member is machined, carefully hand carved to 1/32” tolerances by our seasoned staff, sealed with natural oil and labeled for assembly according to the raising drawings. Of course we can also deliver a frame, raise it for you, and enclose it with structural insulated panels, Marvin windows, metal roofing and siding. Whatever our level of involvement, our mission is to forward the construction of thoughtful, sustainable and durable structures with our clients. We offer our a la carte design and construction services to complement your abilities, time and budget. Visit our website for pricing on kits or email us for specific information relating to your project!

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