Ed and Deborah of Kenton, Ohio, were looking for an old barn to restore and renovate as a home for themselves and their extensive collection of antiques. But after looking at a few candidates, the challenges of restoration became evident and they began to look at other options.
Although restoration was not the way to go, the couple’s dream of owning a barn-like home was still attainable. “We have friends who have timber frame homes and we have always admired them,” Deborah says. “But we still wanted something that was true to a barn-style.”
A true barn-style includes traditional timber frame bents or connected sections of timber, that work together to create the open space within the home. It was this traditional technique, along with a straight, uncluttered frame design the family was seeking.
But that wasn’t all. Deborah is a double amputee whose mobility depends on her wheelchair. The couple didn’t just want a barn-style home – they wanted a 100-percent accessible barn-style home.
Riverbend Timber Framing worked with the couple and their architect to combine the charm of a century-old structure with features that would accommodate someone living in a wheelchair. In addition to offering the look the couple wanted, timber framing’s structural capacity eliminates the need for interior load-bearing walls, facilitating an open floor plan that would be especially wheelchair-friendly.
The result is a bright, open home with wide hallways, where the clean lines of the timber frame are a perfect compliment to the couple’s collection of primitive antiques. Perhaps the most crucial element in the home’s accessibility is an elevator, which ensures Deborah can enjoy every part of the house.
Ed and Deborah know that in their situation, a three-story home isn’t the obvious choice, but both say they wouldn’t change a thing. “Of course, everyone asked us if we were building a one-floor, ranch-style home,” Deborah says. “That would be the logical answer for most, but we wanted to build our dream house.”
The barn shape Ed and Deborah wanted couldn’t be more true to classic timber frame construction. Some of the oldest buildings in the country are timber-framed barns, complete with the same pegged, mortise-and-tenon joinery that Riverbend has expertly crafted since 1979. Using the layout of their architect, Kent Thompson, with Riverbend’s expert timber framing design and manufacturing, Deborah and Ed were able to live out their dream.
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