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An Overview of Timber Frame Houses: An Interview with Jay Tucker, President of Old Hampshire Designs, Inc

By Jay Tucker

Tell us a little bit about your company and its foundation.

Old Hampshire Designs is a full service design/build company. I started the company in 1984, and in the early years my main focus was building Timberpeg Post and Beam homes. We are Independent Representatives for Timberpeg covering Merrimack County and the Upper Valley. We have built well over 100 Timberpeg homes in the past thirty years. We also build traditional ("stick built") homes as well as timber frame hybrids. We have had the good fortune to work on unique projects; each of the many homes we have built is truly a custom home.

What is your company's mission?

Our goal is to give each client the best possible value. Everyone wants the best quality at the best price, and in the shortest amount of time. It can be challenging to achieve all three simultaneously, but we strive to reach that goal and also provide an unmatched level of service in order to create lasting value.

What are some of the services your company provides?

As I mentioned, we are a full service design/build company. We work with the client from conception to completion. In the early stages we are happy to help a client look for a building lot. Once the lot is acquired, we begin the design process. If the client wishes to work with an independent architect, interior designer or landscape architect we know several that we are very happy to recommend. We handle everything from obtaining building permits to hiring subcontractors and overseeing the entire project. We guide our clients through the building process every step of the way. Building a home should be an enjoyable experience and we do our best to make that happen.

When beginning the design process for a timber frame house, where should the homeowner begin?

The first thing we do is sit down with the client and discuss why they are interested in the timber frame and how we should incorporate it into the plan. We look at all aspects of the design, discuss what species of wood to use, and whether there are any specific timber details they would like such as a structural truss. When designing a timber frame home it is always best to incorporate the frame early in the game.

Are there benefits associated with timber frame homes other than being aesthetically pleasing?

In addition to the aesthetics, the timber frame allows for a lot of flexibility in the design as it lends itself to vast open spaces. The insulation package that is associated with timber framing is also a great bonus feature for a very tight home. The timber frame is entirely wrapped with a stress skin panel that eliminates any break in the continuous insulation barrier that you would find in conventional stick built construction.

What is the most common reason you see why someone wants to build a timber frame house?

The most common reason people build a timber frame home is that they truly love the beauty of the timbers. They appreciate the fine joinery which will be something they can admire for many years to come. The vaulted ceilings also have great appeal.

Is the construction time still comparable to homes that don't utilize timber frames?

Actually, it can take less time to build a timber frame home. Within a few shorts weeks you have a complete weather tight shell that is fully insulated and ready for subcontractors.

Where do you get the wood used for these custom homes?

Location depends on the species. The majority of the frames we provide are Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified Douglas fir from the west coast and Canada; the Eastern White pine is sourced locally.

Do your employees have to be certified or trained in order to deal with this type of construction?

The beauty of building a Timberpeg home is that any experienced craftsperson can put them together. Timberpeg provides an extensive set of plans that specify every detail. Over the years we have had the opportunity to build a team of professional and talented craftsmen. Our framing crews have been constructing timber frame homes for thirty years. Working with the same core group of contractors allows us to consistently produce quality products that we are proud to offer to our clients.

What is the easiest way for people to contact you or your business?

The best way to contact us is by phone at (603) 526-6945 or by email at ohd@oldhampshiredesigns.com

We can be found on the web at www.oldhampshiredesigns.com

Some of our homes are also featured in greater detail at Houzz.com. My personal contact information is included here as well.

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