After years of dreaming and planning, we were ready and eager to make our visions tangible. There were several design elements of the house that were written into the plan from day one: it would be a timber frame high-posted cape on a stone foundation, heated by a wood-fired masonry heater, with a slate roof. It would of course face south, because no other orientation makes any sense in a cold northern climate. The exact dimensions and design particulars (room layout, stair placement, etc.) evolved as the building process moved along. We were still making design decisions as we were milling timbers, but at a certain point the frame plan had to be solidified (timber frames don’t lend themselves to wishy-washiness). We intentionally left other details until later (window placement, for example), knowing it would be easier to pin them down with a structure in place, rather than doing it all on paper. This somewhat fluid process allowed a sort of dialogue, or a dance perhaps, between us and the house, which really allowed it to take on its own life, and to grow with us. Litchfield has no building codes (a direct quote from our code officer), and we don’t have a mortgage. Either of these domineering bureaucracies would have killed (or severely injured) the spirit of the house, and we are incredibly grateful not to have had to answer to either. The house continues to grow and learn, as do we, and our dance with each other continues to unfurl…
As winter settled in and we finalized our design, we geared up to start felling trees, milling them into timbers, and cutting joinery on the timbers, with a frame stacked and ready to assemble.
Next: Logging, Milling, and Joinery