Looking for Love

A spec house becomes a personal retreat.

Side view of the exterior

A well-built, economical timber frame with about 2,000 square feet and a mid-range price tag was what Dan Krumm had in mind when his company, Trinity Timber Construction, began building its first “spec” home. On two wooded acres in the Banner Elk, North Carolina area, Trinity, a dealer for Heartwood Timbercraft Homes, began construction of the three-bedroom home, which would also feature a lower-level recreation room and a two-car garage tucked under the house.

Shortly after the frame was up, and just two weeks after the house was listed for sale, a buyer named Billy saw the home and was drawn to its free-of-heart Douglas fir frame. “I found the house online,” explains Billy, who had been looking for a home in the area for several months. “I wasn’t looking for a timber frame, and hadn’t really even thought about it, but when I saw it, I fell in love with timber frame construction.”

Making Changes

As with many a love story, however, Billy wanted to make a few changes in the object of his affection. His vision included a larger, more upscale home, a luxurious master bedroom wing complete with a spa-style bathroom, an expanded lower-level living area with an additional guest bedroom, and an oversized third bay in the garage.

Hybrid framing is shown off and blended well in the kitchen

Happily, flexibility is a major benefit of timber frame construction because there are no load-bearing interior walls. And, just as important, Billy was the type of homeowner to take the modification process in stride. "The ability to make decisions is important,” Dan Krumm says. “Especially when dealing with modifications, it is much easier when you deal with a person who makes quick and effective decisions, and Billy was like that.”

Billy and Dan worked with Trinity/Heartwood’s designers and Banner Elk architect Joe Pavelchak to create the new floor plan, adding 1,000 square feet of living space with a clean, open feel. “I wanted a home that was not rustic or country, with quilts on the wall,” Billy says. “I wanted ‘Mountain Modern,’ what looks like a very modern, high-end suburban home, and not what you would expect in a mountain home.”

On the outside, the home has features standard on well-appointed timber frame homes: natural stone foundation, retaining walls and chimney; pine lap siding; cedar shakes in the gables; and timber-framed decks and porches. But Billy added a little something unique—a copper shake roof on the front porch, creating an unusual texture to the roof that softly reflects light and has aged to a beautiful patina.

The trusses and beams in the great room were built to look as if they float above the sitting areas

Creative Thinking

Inside, the house also offers the unexpected. On the main level, the great room is open to a loft that bows out to look as if it is floating over the room. "This created a unique illusion and increased the size of the loft,” Dan notes. The walls in the 26-by-24–foot great room rise to 20 feet. The frame’s king post trusses and common rafters support a 28-foot-high ceiling; extensive up-lighting enhances the timber framing. The room has two sitting areas, one around the stone fireplace, and the other focusing on a high-tech, built-in entertainment center that Billy designed.  

Much more about this home was featured in the October 2008 issue of Timber Homes Illustrated.