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Introducing, Elegant Wood Homes Magazine

Digital Magazine

Elegant Wood Homes, Fall 2013 Cover

We are very excited to announce our new digital interactive magazine, Elegant Wood Homes.

It’s no secret how fast the digital age is changing, tablets are becoming more and more popular and smart phones are rapidly taking on many computer-like functions. So in order to keep up with the changing times and to meet the growing demand for tablet-specific content, we’ve created Elegant Wood Homes. This publication is one of the first in the digital magazine industry that offers completely interactive content — from advertising, to images of client’s homes, to 360 degree models of a home’s envelope and much more!

The magazine also features exclusive stories and breathtaking pictures from some of our most exciting homes, as well as informative articles about design, the legacy of timber framing, and energy efficiency.

For a limited time, we are offering the first issue of the magazine, which has over 50 pages of content, for only $2.99! In the next two weeks, the price will go up to its normal $3.99 per issue price. So order today:


Please note that this magazine is only available digitally via a tablet or smart phone.

5 Ways to Plan for Energy Efficiency

It’s no secret that building codes across the United States and beyond are becoming more stringent when it comes to the energy efficiency of the structure. While existing homes can be retrofitted to an extent, new home builders have the distinct advantage of being able to plan and prepare for higher efficiency and the savings that come along with it. Here are a few tips we’ve learned in our business that are inspired by Timber Home Living’s recent article, 15 Tips to Plan Your Energy Efficient Home. These tips can act as a great starting point for a more efficient design and build process.

1.       Proper Insulation

While having energy star appliances and fluorescent lights are good tools for energy efficiency, nothing is more important than having a well-insulated envelope for the home. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) work great with timber framing and help to provide that seamless shell.

2.       Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)

In our experience building traditional timber homes, the combination of timber framing and SIPs with ICFs has proven to create extremely tight envelopes that are well insulated from the ground up, literally.

3.       Quality Windows and Doors

Being a part of your home’s shell, windows and doors have to be able to integrate well into the wall systems and have Low-E capabilities. If a window is poorly installed or is of lower quality with little to no tinting, it can comprise the efficiency of the entire envelope.

4.       Large Overhangs

Eaves and overhangs help protect your windows and interior spaces from sun exposure. Having eaves with an appropriate depth for your area and climate can also help to protect the home from the area’s weather systems year-round.

5.       Ventilation

Ventilation in a home is important, not only for efficiency, but also for your health. Make sure to keep your spaces with heavy sun exposure well ventilated to prevent overheating and to maintain even temperatures.


For Timber Home Living’s complete list of energy efficient tips for the home, read the entire article here. 

Second Time’s the Charm

As a resident of Morgantown, West Virginia resting on the lush green borderlines shared by Pennsylvania, Lori was a happy owner of a timber frame home. Then one day 38-acres of property up the hill went up for sale and she just she had to have it. With a sprawling view that could not be beat spanning three different counties, her family knew they needed to build a second timber frame home on the hill to take advantage of that view. Today Lori shares her unique story and the details of her second timber frame home journey. 

What made you choose to work with Riverbend?

Lori – We researched and visited with multiple timber frame companies before we found Riverbend.   We chose this company because they had the best design experience and offered the best choices in timber framing, such flexibility in design customization.  We visited several timber frame homes, but the technique and design that we saw from Riverbend was definitely the best.

Was there a particular inspiration that spurred your design?

Lori – I’ve collected timber frame magazines and books of house plans for years.  I knew exactly what I wanted the layout of our new home to be and our project’s designer was very willing and able to create exactly what we wanted.

What were the most important spaces you wanted your design to include and why?

 Lori – Being the second timber frame home we’ve built, we had the advantage of knowing what we liked about our previous home and what we wanted to change.  We wanted to keep the great room open as we had done previously, but wanted it to be more connected with the kitchen area.  We also wanted to move the master bedroom to the first floor to give our children a space of their own with their bedrooms on the second level and a game loft overlooking the great room.

If you had to choose, what would be your favorite architectural feature of your home?

 Lori – My favorite features are definitely the expansive timbers and beams exposed in the vaulted ceiling areas and the upstairs loft that overlooks the great room.

In its completed state, what is your favorite part about your home?

 Lori – I love the open great room and kitchen areas, especially when we host family and friends. However, my favorite part is actually outside the home in our backyard.  Our outdoor living area is great, including a swimming pool, and of course, that unbeatable view that started it all.


We’d like to thank Lori for participating in this interview and for sharing photos of her lovely home! For more photos of Lori’s home, visit the Riverbend Facebook Page.

Questions to Ask Before You Begin

For centuries, people have chosen timber framing as their preferred building style because of its traditional beauty, durability, and overall visual impact. If you are planning to build, you might know from day one that you want to have a timber frame home, but how do you go about finding the right company to bring this ideal home to life? Here are a few questions to ask potential timber frame providers before you embark on your home building journey.

1.       Will the timber frame company customize their designs?

The look and feel of a home’s interior timbers depends heavily on the overall design. Many companies will offer portfolios of their standard plans to browse through. See if not only changes to the layout can be made, but also the design’s timber framing. For instance, a kit company that offers little to no customization may provide a cost-effective solution with a shorter time frame, but it can sacrifice a lot of creativity and personalization for the home’s design and timber framing.

2.       How will you acquire your design?

If you already have an architect for your project, this will not be a big issue. However, if you are looking for design services along with your timber frame, you will want to see if the company you are speaking with will provide you with a draftsman or degreed architect. The level of design and customization you want will often determine which one of these services you will require.

3.       Do they provide SIP paneling or other Energy Efficient options?

What energy efficient options does this timber frame company offer? Do they provide Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), or does their system work with standard fiberglass or blow-in insulation. Consider the level of importance you wish to put on the energy efficiency of your home and make sure your requirements can be met by the company you are speaking with.

4.       How will they manufacture your timbers?

There are really only two options for manufacturing timbers; through handcrafting, or modern-day technology like CNC machines. While both options bring positive qualities to the building process, handcrafted timbers can increase costs and time lines, so consider these factors when making your choice.

5.       Will they raise your timber frame on your site?

Many timber frame companies offer the option of raising your timber frame on your site along with their manufacturing services. However, there are also companies that will just deliver the package to the site. By discussing what services your timber frame company provides, you will be better prepared for any scenario upon delivery.

6.       Who will build your home?

Will the timber frame company you choose be building your home, or will their services end once your timbers are delivered or installed? Will they offer you access to their network of builders or help you find a qualified builder to take over? Make sure you know the extent of your timber frame company’s services and whether or not they have a network of qualified builders.

A Timber Framer’s Perspective on Building

A Canadian Timber Raising by Beam Craft

A traditional timber frame home’s building process, and the experiences had from that process are different for every party involved, whether it is the homeowner, the designer, or the builder. Today we spoke with Jason Beamish, the owner of Beam Craft Timber Framing and a longtime partner with Riverbend, to tell us his perspective on the building process of timber homes.

You have quite a bit of experience building Riverbend Homes, how does this process start for you?

Jason: It all starts when I begin a dialogue with interested couples who have found Riverbend through their website, a magazine or an actual Beam Craft referral.  After answering general questions about Riverbend’s custom design and building processes, I will schedule a site meeting with the client if they are interested.  I also try to arrange a tour of a completed or under construction Riverbend home so they can really get a feel of how these processes play out. If the client decides to move forward, we have them sign a design agreement with Riverbend and they move into the design phase of their project.

In my experience, from design to completion, the entire process can take anywhere from 3 months to 3 years. It is a big decision for people to transition from the dreaming stage to actually building that dream home, as it requires an investment of time, money, and emotion. We understand this investment that is being made and that these Riverbend clients are extending a high level of trust to us, so it can take some time to establish.

What is your favorite part of working with Riverbend?

Jason: Our favorite part of working with Riverbend is being able to be part of a team that creates unique homes which showcase traditional timber framing.  These homes we build are like giant jigsaw puzzles, and every part and piece is important to us – from design and engineering details, to raising celebration BBQ’s and panel sealant.  There are a lot of people and specialists that we interact with to make these projects come together and Riverbend has always proven to be a good company to partner with.

An Oak Hammer Beam Frame Raised by Beam Craft

What is your favorite part of building timber homes for Riverbend’s various clients?

Jason: At Beam Craft, our absolute favorite part about doing what we do, is seeing people’s excitement about their dream home grow as every step starts to bring it to life.

What has been one of your most challenging experiences working with Riverbend?

Jason: We had a project we were building in Priddis that presented quite a few site challenges. Building in Alberta’s winter months, we ran into several snowstorms that at times made it impossible to reach the site, which naturally makes it difficult to build.

What has been one of your most rewarding experiences, and why?

Jason: There are actually several rewarding experiences to be had working with Riverbend and these families. For instance, it is always an amazing sight to see timber frame raisings like the massive oak hammer beams that we put up in Grande Prairie in 2012. Whenever the owners are excited and engaged in their project, it makes it a very special and educative experience for us as well.