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In the Gilded Age a tradition was spurred by Avery Rockefeller and Alfred Vanderbilt for residents of New York City to build rugged mountain family vacation homes away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Many families made the most of the rolling hills and rocky heights of the Adirondack Mountain chain north of the Hudson Valley. Keeping the trend alive, one Manhattan family, along with their architect Steve Marchetti, have crafted the perfect timber framed get away. Inspired by mountain ski lodges beloved by the family and tucked away in the hills surrounding Lake Surprise in upstate New York, this vacation home provides the perfect environment for peace and quiet.

Lake Surprise
The Douglas fir timbers, cedar siding and field-stone walls with swooping rafters over the patio make this stunning retreat blend perfectly into the wooded surroundings.

The choice to use a timber frame for this vacation home was easy, according to Marchetti, because the family wanted to emulate the look and feel of a mountain ski lodge and timber framing lends itself to a feeling of rugged comfort, relaxation, and a sense of permanence.

Lake Surprise Great Room



Timber Frame Pavilion Portland Oregon—Community Raising—New Energy Works

New Energy Works designs, fabricates, and raises a lot of timber frames every year. We’re blessed with challenging projects, great clients, and plenty of work. Yet every year or so a project comes along that shouts, “let’s do this as a community hand raising!”. After a few decades in the business, these still stand out as very special days.

Matt and Laura approached us about their own community of friends and family, how they were bursting at the constraints of isolation that COVID-19 had placed on us all, and how now that so many were getting fully vaccinated they felt the same thing so many of us were feeling: free to GATHER!  As a sidenote, both Matt and Laura are front line medical workers. They know.

Timber Frame Pavilion Portland Oregon—Community Raising—New Energy Works


Timber Frame Pavilion Portland Oregon—Community Raising—New Energy Works

Their vision was a pavilion with a pizza oven, dance floor, even a bath. My vision was that they had such a strong network, and those folks might enjoy a day of hard work and free labor. (Um, my vision can be a bit strange, for sure.) I did know for certain that every hand raising I’ve ever done has had such an impact that all those friends & family would feel that indeed, this pavilion was theirs as well. One definition of community, surely.

One of the best ways to reduce the energy a home or building consumes is careful consideration of the envelope. Our journey to creating the most efficient building enclosure/envelope began in the mid 1990’s with the first version of the Matrix Wall™. We regularly adjust this wall system, incorporating what we’ve learned and what new sustainable materials may be available to reduce consumption and increase comfortable living. In 2017 this journey took us to Poland to learn more about wood fiber insulation from Steico. In 2018 we landed in the Netherlands to explore semi-automated custom tooling. Fast forward (let’s all just skip 2020) to 2021 – welcome to High Performance Made Easier!

Our High-Performance Enclosure System
We’ve incorporated semi-automated tooling from the Netherlands to help create the latest version of our Matrix Wall™. The tooling is set, calibrated, and currently running its first wall system for a timber frame home.

We’ve added a new building with new semi-automated tooling to produce the latest evolution of our Matrix Wall™ systems–we’re calling it HPEz, High-Performance Made Easier–to our campus in Farmington NY. Earlier this month we ran the very first wall panel for calibration and plain old getting-to-know-the-tools practice: