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What Will The Frame Look Like?

Posted on May 21, 2013
Timber Frame conceptual design

You’ve made the decision to build a timber frame home and are on the brink of entering the design process. However, have you thought about what your actual timber frame will look like? During the design process, there are three elements that can be changed to create a home unique to you. These three elements are: the architectural feel, the layout, and the timber frame skeleton.

And, while all three design aspects work together to create your home, they need not be tied together. Let’s look at the relationship between the actual timber frame and your home’s design, learning how you can modify [i] the timber frame to match your dream home vision.

Examining Conceptual Drawings

timber frame floor plan concept

When browsing Riverbend’s conceptual floor plan gallery, you likely noticed that featured design concepts offer images of the home’s floor plan, its corresponding elevations, and an artistic rendering. What you will not see, however, is a timber frame skeleton. This is because, after designing and building over 5,000 homes in North America, we learned that falling in love with a floor plan concept is wholly separate from feeling the same way about its actual timber frame.

For example, you may love the architecture and elevations of the Summerhill, but remain uncertain about what timbers you want. You’re not alone. It’s why you receive the same level of customization with your skeleton as you do your design. In fact, Riverbend frequently re-imagines a home’s timber frame in order to better meet a client’s desired look.

Customizing the Timber Skeleton 

When deciding on your home’s timber structure, think about how much timber you want to see in your main living areas. Do you want the timber framing flowing throughout the home? Or, perhaps you prefer confining it to certain spaces? For example, some clients want a dense timber frame in the living room with bedrooms and other spaces evidencing a lighter touch. Your timber skeleton can be crafted in a variety of ways, all of which help create the ideal atmosphere within your completed home.

timber skeleton drawings showing what the frame will look like
Examples of identical layouts with different timber skeletons

The two floor plans seen above have identical layouts, but you wouldn’t know it at first glance. This is because their timber skeletons are completely different. In the left layout, the timber structure is seen expanding over the entirety of the main living spaces, offering a more open feel for this central area. Now, compare it to the layout on the right. Notice its timber frame extends from the entrance through the great room, placing a greater focus on this particular space.

View From loft
This Illinois home features an astonishing Riverbend timber frame
Think about how much timber you want to see in your main living areas.

For many clients, it’s difficult to envision the combination of their desired exterior elevations and layout with the timber frame. With Riverbend’s design process, you don’t have to. We not only provide you with conceptual examples as a source of inspiration, as well as designers who understand your dream, we also provide you with a Virtual Reality (VR)* tour of your design, allowing you to look up and “see” your timber frame. Combined, you gain a complete picture of how your finished home will look, inside and out.

*Virtual Reality (VR) used during design presentations for those in the Custom Design Total Home Solution™ process only.



[i] Timber frames provide structural support for your home. Thus, all desired modifications are predicated on engineering requirements and sign-off.

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