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For homeowners Ben & Kate and their three young children, the seven-year journey to their forever home just outside Ithaca New York was a long and winding road filled with life lessons, dreams, and joy.

 

Ben & Kate House

 

“For our entire adult life, my husband and I, we always dreamed about building a house. We just wanted to build a home that we would live in forever that would suit our own needs and come from our own ideas.” Says Kate. “Seven years ago, our dream started to become a reality when we found this plot of land and we really fell in love with it. It was all woods, and we cleared a section of the land, but we needed to save to build our dream home. So, we decided to buy a double wide trailer and live in that, in the corner of the property, while we continued to plan and dream.”

 

Ben & Kate House

 

When the Kate & Ben began this process and took a leap of faith into trailer life seven years ago, their youngest son (who is now 5) hadn’t even been born yet. As the happy family grew and evolved over time, albeit in tight quarters, so did the design of their future dream home.

 

Ben & Kate House

 

Nestled in the woodlands south of New York’s finger lakes region, Ben & Kate designed a home with adventure in mind. A hybrid timber frame home that is hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world. The acres surrounding the home was left untouched and natural, with tree houses, swimming ponds, and trails to provide endless sources of wonder for their three young children.

We work all over the country, but you already knew that.  And while there is no doubt that it’s great to get back home the night of a raising when it’s local to either our Western New York or McMinnville, Oregon shops, the truth is most of us like to travel, and that we get to do!  

Summer Photos

 

Out here on the West Coast, where I spend most of my time, we’ve had a summer of unreal views and sights (and sites). Someone asked me recently where we’ve been.  Lessee...  Yosemite, Leavenworth, Flathead Lake, Carmel, Lake Lapeer, Michigan…  Wait Michigan?  You bet.  

 

Most of our clients and much of our industry are looking for their timber frames in Douglas fir, so doing these out of our west coast shop makes a lot of sense as we are in the midst of Doug-fir-land here in Oregon.  We also feel strongly that whenever possible our timbers should be kiln dried.  It just makes a better final product.  And yes, we’re in the middle of kiln country as well.

 

So, sending a large set of hammer beam trusses and bents to a beautiful Michigan lake fits.

 

Summer Photos

 

Summer Photos

 

As does Yosemite, where we are returning next week to finish the exterior timbers on the top of this hill.  

Summer Photos

 

RCN Pavilion

 

Rochester Childfirst Network has been serving the children of Rochester New York and the surrounding area since 1857. To provide some context as to how long that has been, the American Civil War began in 1861, four years after R.C.N. began their mission to care for children in Rochester.

Over the years RCN has changed with the needs of the community, beginning as an organization aimed at addressing the dire needs of orphaned, poverty stricken, and homeless children with vocational schooling, which were commonplace issues of the late Victorian age continuing into the industrial revolution. Today the group has transitioned to offering community based early education and care programs on their South Avenue campus in downtown Rochester.

 

Photo of Children
Photo courtesy of Rochester Childfirst Network

 

RCN’s mission centers on not-for-profit advocation at local, state, and national levels for early education and care practices for all children with a guiding vision that every child should grow up safe, strong, and able to achieve their full potential.

 

Children
Photo courtesy of Rochester Childfirst Network

 

We've been partnering with SunCommon to make available these Solar Canopies in New York & Vermont. A win-win of solar panels and timber structure that can add a form and function to your outdoor space. Thanks to Upstate House for including us in their Summer 2021 edition. To download a PDF of this article click here.

Timbered Solar Canopy with SunCommon and New Energy Works featured in Upstate House Summer 2021

 

Our thanks to Adirondack Life for featuring the Kovacs residence in their 2021 Home issue; and a thanks to Holmes King Kallquist Associates for bringing us into this lovely project. To read the article as a PDF, click here.

HKK Project for Kovacs featured in Adirondack Life 2021


HKK Project for Kovacs featured in Adirondack Life 2021

Growing up in Buffalo, NY is one of the biggest pieces of who I am. If you’re from Buffalo, or any small town with a lot of pride, I am sure you can relate to being shaped by your hometown. I eat chicken wings, not Buffalo wings. I add a “the” before a major highway (I get on THE 90, not i-90). I do not care for football at all, but even I get a little sentimental when the Bills win anything. I consider myself basically Canadian-lite.

Timber Frame Carousel with New Energy Works and The Buffalo Heritage Carousel,Inc.
Photo Courtesy: The Buffalo Heritage Carousel,Inc.

So it was a pretty big deal for me to learn that New Energy Works would be part of Canalside, Buffalo's urban-waterfront revitalization project, through a timber frame pavilion that houses a solar-operated historic carousel. It checks all of my boxes.

We often say that the land, the building site, teaches us how to design the home. This is simplistic. There are many inputs that are needed to start the design process, including:

Who will live here?

What is their lifestyle?

What are their tastes? Their loves? Their feelings about Home?

What are the needs and have-to-haves?

What is the budget?
 

Waterside view
Unlimited views from every angle of the property

 

 

We’re fortunate to have a variety of landscapes within New York State. Those who are passionate about the outdoors, mountains, lakes, and the accompanying passions of skiing, hiking, water sports, and more, can find a bit of it all “upstate”. The Adirondack Mountains, the Finger Lakes Region, and even Western NY each offer opportunity for these pastimes. Shane and his family found their East Coast calling near Old Forge in the Adirondacks. 
 

exterior
 

Upon purchasing a special plot of land, planning and projects began. Beginning with a garage that included a living space, the family then spruced up the grounds, rebuilt the boathouse, and in the final stage, turned attention to creating the main house. 
 

porch view
A deep wrap-around porch standing on stone pillars dominates one side of the home overlooking a pristine Adirondack lake. Materials and tones match across the property from garage, to boathouse, to house with two-tone brown cedar shakes, Saratoga granite, and timber trusses under gables.

 

Businesses around the country were forced to make significant changes to how they operate in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. When our friends at the Benedictine Brewery called with a need to raise an outdoor pavilion for their customers, we were happy to jump into action.

 One of only three breweries in the United States owned and operated by monks, the Benedictine brewery raising in 2017 was a community effort and one that we will always remember.  You can catch up on that story and watch a video of 100 folks hoisting the frame here: (https://newenergyworks.com/blog/a-community-raising-the-benedictine-brewery-mt-angel-oregon)

Benedictine Brewery

 

Benedictine Brewery

Designed to mimic the original brewery and taproom with their close to 14,000 board feet of Douglas fir, we created the structure of the pavilion with matching embellishments, using chamfered edges and a clear, natural finish to the wood.  Just as the original raising started in 2017, the Douglas fir timbers quickly defined the shape of the pavilion and now serve as a way for the brewery to continue serving as a welcoming way for the community to gather, taste, and believe.

 

Guest Author: New Energy Works, Dave Cratty

We all have those dreams of wanting to leave it all behind and live off the grid.  Find a place in the Adirondack mountains, on a remote lake, and just surround yourself with nature and the outdoors.  The question is, how do you deliver and raise a beautiful timber frame lake house to a location that no roads have touched?  The answer, by boat.  

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Our New Energy Works timber frame crew spent seven tireless days, traveling back and forth by barge to deliver, off load and raise by hand, this beautiful 1361 square foot bungalow.  The homeowner’s plan to utilize this location in the warmer seasonal months, created a unique opportunity to use a 3x tongue and groove design for the walls, while every door frame and window were outlined with timber.  The layout offered an open floor plan and offering visitors an unobstructed views of the private lake from this cozy, secluded cabin.

Timber Frame In the Adirondacks--The View

 

Timber Frame In the Adirondacks

 

Timber Frame In the Adirondacks

 

Tucked into Puget Sound in Washington, this site allows the homeowners to feed their passions: boating, family time, and entertaining. Easy access for boats and creating spaces large enough to house large family and friends gatherings drove the design, secondary only to the desire for a “refined lodge” aesthetic.

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Known as a full timber frame, the entirety of the home and garage were crafted with timbers, specifically reclaimed Douglas fir timbers. When plans began, the design was quite traditional. “The more we looked at the site and the possible views, the more it transitioned, evolved,” explained David Shirley, AIA, member of our design team. “We angled the house in a soft arc of sorts which maximized views of the Sound as well as those of the Cascade Mountain range in the distance.” This change capitalized on the views and the natural wrap of the land.

Nestled on nearly 30 acres in Palmetto Bluff, SC a family home, guest house, and barn flow from the architectural plan created by Rob Bramhall of Rob Bramhall Architects. “The site is beautiful, and the clients were great, allowing for architecture that could respond to the land and work for them,” shares Rob.

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The project began with a guest home for the clients to enjoy while they sold their old home. Next was the barn, one of the first features visitors encounter as they enter the long drive.

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A monitor barn, this project has a raised center section with multiple windows allowing abundant natural light into the space below.

 

The story goes that in the early years of our company, aka the 80’s, the old shop suffered a collapse and upon thinking to scrap the remains, it was suggested by a couple we were building for that we should re-use the timbers for their home. It was, as stories go, an ‘ah ha!’ moment. Always having enjoyed reclaimed wood, we now had a bigger purpose for bigger reclaimed timbers.

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Since that 1980’s event, we have continued to make special projects from reclaimed timbers, including the roof system (above) our team crafted, joined, and raised just last week.

Reclaimed timbers bring additional texture, aesthetic, and a unique history to every project. This Summer we’ve had several weeks of reclaimed timbers in the shop, designated for a few raisings for residential projects. Remarkable and esteemed, we're giving them another moment in the spotlight:
 

5,000 feet above elevation, a 5-month build window, US Forest Service rules controlling everything from color to shape to size to the anthropology of the site…This project required extraordinary planning, prefabrication, and architect/builder/client coordination. The cabin is located on Odell Lake which sits atop the Cascade Mountains of South-Central Oregon, God’s country by all of our definitions. Dan Hill, architect and co-founder of Arbor South Architecture the design & build group that spearheaded this west coast cabin project, provided more of the story in a guest post below: 

 

Photo (c) Loren Nelson Photography.
Photo (c) Loren Nelson Photography.

 

Daniel Hill, founder, architect, and certified master builder: Arbor South Architecture in Eugene OR. Pictured with canine companion, Willow.
Daniel Hill, founder, architect, and certified master builder: Arbor South Architecture in Eugene OR. Pictured with canine companion, Willow.

 

The site is located on the west side of Odell Lake in the beautiful Cascade Mountain Range in an area with small, early to mid-century cabins under land leases by the US Forest Service. Our client had purchased the cabin and land lease with the intention of remodeling the existing 1940’s cabin. It became clear that the old structure had too many issues–including extensive mold (sick house), no perimeter foundation, multiple structural, electrical, and plumbing problems–to salvage or remodel.

 

LNB (The Lyons National Bank) recently broke ground for a new branch in Farmington, NY. The site includes a historic home that is being preserved and refreshed. A new timber frame, connecting to the historic home, will be raised to accommodate the bank’s main operations.

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The historic Hathaway House (left), new bank space (center timber frame “barn”), and timber frame drive-thru pavilion (right).

“As a company, we’ve long been clients of LNB; we admire their deliberate focus on the individual and business needs of each community they join–and their commitment to doing right by the planet,” said Bryan, project lead from our timber frame engineering team. “We’ve been privileged to work with LNB on several of their branches and we’re excited that they’re opening just down the road from our headquarters in Farmington.”

Below: A previous project with LNB for their Canandaigua NY branch included a timber frame core crafted with reclaimed Douglas fir timbers sourced by Pioneer Millworks.

In November of 2018 we had a community raising for the Mount Angel Abbey’s Benedictine Brewery. One hundred volunteers gathered early, listened thoughtfully to a strategy introduction and a safety meeting, and got it done.

The Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel, Oregon. Photo by Loren Nelson
The Benedictine Brewery in Mt. Angel, Oregon. Photo by Loren Nelson
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Of the people who showed up to help, about 50 or so were from Mount Angel Abbey, the monastery at the top of the hill where we were working. We had our team and timber framers from companies who are part of the Timber Framers Guild from all around come to help. (You can read about that amazing day in a previous blog post, and we’ve included the raising video at the end of this post.)

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This season, the Brewery has been up and running with plenty On Tap. We’re excited to be working with them again, this time extending their covered outdoor space to accommodate and shelter more folks:

With divisions in design, timber framing, and woodworking, along with a sister company that specializes in reclaimed wood and timbers, collaboration is something that happens often at New Energy Works. Now and again there are projects that highlight when we’ve really had everyone involved, often realized at the close of the job where things have gone smoothly and everyone stands back with a beer to say, “hell yes.”

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Muji at Hudson Yards in New York City is one of those projects of collaboration. Pioneer Millworks brought the project to us after working with Muji’s design team to get just the right reclaimed timbers for the store’s aesthetic.

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“The Hudson Yard’s store is a really interesting mix of clean, neutral tones with these rugged salvaged textures,” says Jered Slusser, Northeast sales for Pioneer Millworks. “The walls are clad in American Prairie Brown Board which continues to play up that contrast.”

Reclaimed as-found industrial timbers from a military base in New England, some of the roughest we’ve seen, were what the design team was aiming for. The timbers were needed in very specific sizes, with original patina on all four sides and a consistent tone/texture from piece to piece—a task Pioneer Millworks was able to meet.

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Our timber frame engineers then worked with the Muji design team on structure details, joinery, and fit. Dave (timber framing) and Geoff (woodworking) made their way to the store location to collect detailed measurements and site scoping.

The world of timber frames is ubiquitous to Douglas fir, treated with an oil, and left to mellow over time to a golden hue. It’s classic, bringing to mind the mountain home with a two-story vaulted great room and a wall of windows overlooking a vista. Bring us a mug of hot cocoa and let us snuggle by the fire.

These hand-hewn Shou Sugi Ban timbers have an additional two-three coats of staining. Photo courtesy of Cardello Architects.
These hand-hewn Shou Sugi Ban timbers have an additional two-three coats of staining. Photo courtesy of Cardello Architects.
Classic oiled Douglas fir timbers in this Colorado mountain timber frame home.
Classic oiled Douglas fir timbers in this Colorado mountain timber frame home.

That’s not all timber frames can be, though. Take your species of choice and add a custom finish. The advantage to the design professional is a huge color palette of options and to the homeowner the ability for timber to flex and fit many styles. We like it because it gives us a chance to play, to bring a material we’re intimately familiar with into another existence.