Family Friendly

A small hybrid timber frame lives large.

Exterior view of the home

Almost as far back as he can remember, John Featherman has been enthralled with the beauty of timber framing. As a young child in Pennsylvania, he loved watching as timber frame barns were raised. John’s love was no secret: “It seems as if ever since we met, John has talked about building a timber frame home,” his wife Heather says. After attending college, John tried his hand at construction, moving to Colorado where the industry was booming.

An uncle who lived in Aspen pointed him to the historic town of Crested Butte, a former mining community turned ski resort in the Rocky Mountains of southwestern Colorado. John launched his business, Alpenglow Woodworks, Inc., which would specialize in fine custom homes. On several occasions, he went back East to help his friends raise timber frames in Connecticut and Vermont. Then, he met Heather, who would one day share his life and love for timber frames. Together, the Feathermans discovered Crested Butte South, a neighborhood of locals just 10 minutes from Crested Butte. John and Heather jumped at the opportunity to purchase a half-acre lot in the neighborhood. They could finally begin to realize their dream.

Contemporary colors in the dining room make the natural wood colors truly stand out

Opportunity Knocks

Initially, John collaborated with a designer to develop the plans for the home. Although he was pleased with the designer’s work, the timber frame company John had chosen came back with a bid that was more than double their original estimate. It seemed as if the project would have to be put on hold. Then, Kelvin Mooney, director of technical operations at British Columbia Timberframe Company, called. “I had researched British Columbia Timberframe Company and knew they had the wood species I wanted,” John says. “They are very price-oriented, because they obtain the Douglas fir for the timbers directly from the source without any middle man inflating the cost.” Kelvin and John hit it off instantly, forging a long-standing relationship. John is currently working on four homes in his area for British Columbia Timberframe Company.

To salvage their dream, John and Heather purchased a copy of their already-completed floor plans from the designer for one-time use. British Columbia Timberframe then hand-crafted the frame for the couple’s hybrid home, which would mix timber framing with conventional construction. The timber frame portion of the 2,460-square-foot home includes the entryway and the open great room on the first floor. The living room features a vaulted ceiling and takes full advantage of the Feathermans’ favorite view—the sun setting over Whetstone Mountain.

Child's bunk room in the log home

As the chef in the family, John designed the adjoining dining room and kitchen, taking into consideration both their limited space and the need for a family-friendly yet efficient work area, which would be the heart of the house. The flat ceiling in these two rooms allowed for the placement of the loft play area, shared bath, laundry and two children’s bedrooms on the second level. Although many people prefer to have their master bedroom geographically removed from the children’s bedrooms, John and Heather felt just the opposite. They converted the bonus space above the two-car garage into the master bedroom suite and connected it via a hallway to the bedrooms where 4-year-old Rowan and 1-year-old Addison sleep.

Finishing Touches

Color is high on Heather’s list of favorite things, and she made sure the home was awash with as many different shades and hues as possible to give each room its own personality. She selected paint colors that would complement the rich golden finish of the Douglas fir frame, then brought in an eclectic, child-friendly mix of new furnishings and their existing pieces. In this Rocky Mountain locale, winter temperatures often dip into the single digits and an energy-efficient home is a must.

In order to achieve the greatest possible insulation within the family’s budget, John started off the foundation by laying two-inch board insulation, covering the insulation with six inches of crushed stone, and then pouring a six-inch concrete slab, which was then acid-stained and waxed for the finished floor. A propane-powered in-floor radiant heating unit with a fresh-air exchange system was planned to heat the entire home. To enclose the home, John chose Thermocore panels because they provide a great insulated structural panel with an unbeatable thermal envelope. More about this home ran in the magazine.