Timber frame house plan revisions

NOTE: this post is a copy of an email that I sent to our designer Steve.  He has been a big help to us throughout the entire planning process.

Good morning Steve,
I tried to keep my previous revisions email as short as possible, but I did want to let you know that the decision to make changes was not a flippant one. I recently read this book at my dad’s prompting: Your Engineered House

It is a book by an engineer  and  is a fun read. The guy is quite a character but the main emphasis is an admirable one, designing your house for how you will actually use it. As such we did take a hard look at the plans and tried to ‘engineer’ our house for how we will actually use it.

We looked at how we currently live and how we do things, what our routine is and where we spend our time, and how all that can be improved in the new house. That process dictated some changes. As such, the bridge is a fantastic design element but I know that I would rather:

PLAN NOW finish my morning Chai tea at the kitchen island while looking out at the field and seeing deer or other wildlife, then walk downstairs to my office (which will be easy to heat/cool) to have a great start my workday (somehow I tend to get a call from nature shortly after getting set down for work, so I will then have easy access to the basement bathroom)

PLAN BEFORE finish my chai and walk to the upstairs, then across the bridge, then into a somewhat odd area (depending on garage construction) that will require somewhat additional  heating/cooling, without fast access to a bathroom, sink or kitchen. I would probably still have a good workday (but I will have spent time and money on a bridge and walkway, things that keep me further away from getting snacks from the kitchen or visiting the bathroom)

Likewise, every morning Samantha prepares breakfast for the kids and she loves the sunshine and the warmth in the Winter of having her kitchen facing south along with the gorgeous view. In the Summer she will have an amazing view and easy access to the back porch for serving early morning breakfast outside or reading a book. Of course we may need some curtains if it gets too bright in the kitchen but I plan to have that south roof overhang where it provides good sun shade when needed.

When we, or anyone else, enters the house at the front door it will be nice to be able to have more room at the entry for shoes/bags etc, and then proceed directly to the living area, as opposed to before when someone walks right into the kitchen. Likewise the kids having easy access to the upstairs will be great for when they come in from playing.

The living room is where we read and use laptops/tablets etc and personally I do not like direct sunlight for such activities, putting it at the north will give us a little less glare and will make the fireplace a centerpiece of that area. Likewise, if I want to take a nap in the bedroom (a favorite activity of mine) I want it dark, whereas I like a bright bathroom and the tub views should be spectacular in the new location.

For bents, I have visited John and timber frame builders out East and after seeing their work: to me when the bents are close to each other I get a little overwhelmed by them and they feel cluttered to me. When they are have some space between them it really opens up a room and I almost feel they are more impressive. A reduction in timber required (and cost) will be a huge help for us staying within our budget and if it can be accomplished while keeping the structure solid then it is a win/win in my book.

This is just a sample of our thought process and I share it with you so that you know we are trying to ‘engineer’ our house so we will get the most use out and enjoyment out of it as possible. We know other people might think some of the decisions are crazy or odd, but perhaps that is what we are 😉

As always, I appreciate your experience and feedback. I look forward to your estimate and I am happy to discuss anything with you.

Thank you S,

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