View of the Valley

A stock floorplan is transformed into signature style with a couple's vision of home and a 20-mile view.

A stock floorplan is transformed into signature style with a couple's vision of home and a 20-mile view. The DonaldsonsJacqui Donaldson vividly remembers the day her husband, Bob, broached the subject of building a new home. At the time, they were living in a 7,000-square-foot turn-of-the-century home in Pawling, New York. Bob, a builder for 30 years, had a five-year contract to renovate the 350-acre property, and it was time to either buy it or move on. "Bob said that we were going to build something better, something nicer and different. I thought, ?Oh, no!?" recalls Jacqui, who loved their grand old home on its sprawling acreage. But her trepidation turned to excitement when she and Bob went to York, Maine, to visit the headquarters of Classic Post & Beam. The memories of what she loved in their first timber frame home ? the openness, the big beams and the rich sent of wood - quickly came rushing back. Bob and Jacqui selected the company's standard Kennebunk plan, but made significant changes. "Their engineering department is always open to the tradesperson or the home owner. If there are any changes you want to make, you just call them up and they'll tell you what you can do and how to do it," Bob says.

Easy Does It

Bob was equally impressed with the company's pricing and the ease of assembling their frames."They've taken the details and simplified them (without sacrificing aesthetics or quality)," Bob explains. The home's assembly was further simplified with pre-cut stress-skin panels. The dimensions are guaranteed, and the openings are pre-blocked and ready to accommodate doors and windows. In addition to the frame and pre-cut panels, Classic Post & Beam's package includes the floor-framing system, loft floorboards, insulated roof system, exterior windows and doors, interior partition walls and interior doors. "As busy as people are today, they don't want to be shopping around for all those components," says Jim.

Change of Plans

Many of the design changes the Donaldsons requested were based on the stunning vista afforded by their 3 1/2-acre lot nestled in the foothills of the Berkshires. They added a wrap-around deck, moved the main-level powder room to a perimeter wall, and added windows on the rear wall of the kitchen. Other design changes include:
  • Adding an attached garage with a bedroom above, resulting in a four-bedroom, three-bath home that they share with the youngest of their three children.
  • Enlarging the kitchen by 6 feet and doubling the depth of the great room.
  • Installing a flat, 9-foot ceiling in place of the cathedral ceiling. "Vaulted ceilings in the great room look nice, but they're not quite as cozy," he says.
  • Creating a large master bedroom above the great room. A small second-floor bedroom was appropriated to accommodate the gracious master bath.
  • An office, two bedrooms (one over the garage), another full bath, closet and storage space complete the upper level of the 4,500-square-foot home.
Jacqui says that building their new home was well worth the heartache of leaving her turn-of-the-century residence. "You pour your heart and soul into each house you live in to make it a home and, of course, it's always difficult leaving," she says. "But every house has been better than the last, and this is the best one yet." Story by Amy Laughinghouse Classic Post & Beam photos by George Riley/
Styled by Barbara Bent Hamilton