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A Labor of Love in Kentucky

Posted on Sep 3, 2013
kentucky custom timber frame home
The early stages of Doug and Julie’s timber frame home construction process

For this couple, the journey to their custom Kentucky home went beyond choosing the perfect location and creating a design; they wanted to build the home themselves. So, after years of thought and research, the couple purchased farmland in Western Kentucky.

With their site secured, Doug and Julie began searching for the right company with which to work. They wanted a company able to provide an integrated system of timber framing and structural insulated panels (SIPs). However, they also wanted a company that provided the freedom to finish the rest of their home on their own.

“I am an avid woodworker, and have always appreciated the incorporation of wood in a home,” explained Doug. “I enjoy building things, so I wanted this to be a labor of love for us both.”

“Julie and I have really put our heart and souls into this.”- Doug

Remembering Riverbend Timber Framing from a regional timber home show they had attended in Saint Louis, Doug contacted the company with his vision. After much consultation with his regional representative, Doug was paired with designer, Marty Birkenkamp [i], to begin the design process.

kentucky custom  home during construction
Doug spent much of his life thinking about how his timber frame home would look

“Doug had mentioned that he spent a lot of his life thinking about what his home would look like,” said Marty. “When he and I began collaborating on his design, he already had most of his interior layout figured out.”

As a result of their collaboration, Doug’s final design included an open layout that emphasized the kitchen area as well as the loft space over the great room. The custom home’s design added a unique look to the traditional framing, while perfectly blending with the surrounding Kentucky landscape.

Once the design had been finalized, Riverbend’s manufacturing facility cut the home’s timbers and SIPs to precision, and later a technical assistant (TA) was present to ensure the quality of the timber frame and SIP installation on the couple’s lot.

paducah property during home  building
Doug and Julie’s Paducah home takes shape

“The integration of timbers and SIPs, along with a geothermal system, keeps our home very comfortable and our energy consumption low,” Doug said.

Today, Doug and Julie are still in the process of finishing out their custom timber frame home. Their interior spaces have only minor trim work to complete, and the final exterior landscaping and porch installations are underway.

“It’s been a great, rewarding journey…”- Doug

“I am doing all the custom work myself, so it has been a slower process than if we had hired someone, but it is a process I am happy to go through!” said Doug.

kentucky timber frame home by riverbend
The couple worked with Riverbend to design their Kentucky dream home

By choosing to continue building the home on their own, Doug and Julie were able to incorporate finish elements that are completely unique. For example, all of their interior doors are crafted from cherry wood that was salvaged from their own farmland.

“Julie and I have really put our hearts and souls into this,” Doug said. “It’s been a great, rewarding journey, and everyone that comes by our home is just amazed at its design and unique look and feel.”

For photos of Doug and Julie’s Do-It-Yourself home progression, visit Riverbend’s Facebook Page.

Enjoy the professional photo gallery of this (now complete) home here. Ed.



[i] Marty Birkenkamp is now a Riverbend Timber Framing client representative for projects located in the Eastern United States. If you are considering building in that area, connect with Marty on LinkedIn here.

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