Tips for Creating The
Perfect Home Atmosphere
Creating a signature atmosphere in your home using timbers is sort of like choosing a clothing outfit... you have the outfit itself and then you have the accessories, which control and personalize the entire appearance; Initial Style! The factors you will use for creating the big picture are:
A. Room and house shape, depth, height, and width.
B. Timber size, spacing and orientation in relation to each other. You'll need to ask yourself very fundamental questions regarding the use of your living space and basic preferences in your taste.
Cozy and homey, artistic and contemporary, tall and elegant, low and expansive, and massive and rustic are some examples of different styles.
For a cozy and homey atmosphere, the initial outline of the house should fit snugly with its surroundings, tucked in trees or against a hillside, for example. Low inviting porches are another great way to convey this feeling. The beams are sized and oriented accordingly, so they feel close to the touch. A sheetrock ceiling should have the timbers closely spaced. With wood paneling or decking on the ceiling, spacing is no longer critical because the wood ceiling conveys coziness and warmth.
An artistic and contemporary home has many options. The initial outline should avoid shapes that are completely traditional. Or at least it should have some visual surprises, such as a cable suspended entryway. Beam size for this style as well as spacing and orientation, should have twists here and there, but not excessively as total irregularity then becomes the prevailing theme and conveys a different atmosphere than artistic and contemporary.
What if your chosen style isn't perfectly consistent inside and out like the above examples?
No big deal...I myself prefer a little consistency throughout, but enjoy the visual change of different combinations I've encountered.
Details and customizing accessories: The attributes for this stage consist of color, texture, metal connectors, and dowels and joinery.
Color: Consider not only beam color but wall, floor and ceiling color as they affect each other and dramatically change the atmosphere. Dark colors tend to feel more elegant and rich. Light colors may create a cheery and vibrant mood. A lot of stark white will feel sterile, but white offset with color remains neutral. Dark stains on the timbers will give the beams a more massive, older and aristocratic feel. Conversely, light colors will be cheery and warm, and less imposing.
Timber texture: Smooth timbers are the most neutral and match any style. They lend themselves to clean and modern designs. Rough-sawn timbers fall into the massive and rustic class... think Western Ranch or Rocky Mountain Lodge. Hand-hewn timbers have the most history behind them as axes were invented before saws. Thus hand-hewn timbers evoke an old world feel to their surroundings. Reclaimed and distressed materials are environmentally friendly and are in the hand-hewn class.
Metal connectors: These can be used to influence style and increase strength. Stainless steel plates bolted to hand-hewn timbers are an interesting combination of old and new. Shiny black connectors have a new feel and work best with light wood. Brightly colored connectors such as red or blue give a visual surprise and artistic flair. Heat-colored connectors give a more subtle and evasive tone. Hammered dull steel is probably the most popular as it matches the old tradition of timber framing itself. Metal connector rods can influence the atmosphere not only with the color and type of metal used, but also by changing the visual dynamics of the timbers. Joinery choices and dowels do not have as much of an impact as other details, but using different wood types for connecting splines and dowels make a neat touch.
Finally, lighting, light fixtures, wall covering, furniture and interior design will all influence the atmosphere to a degree. What is your perfect home? You probably have an intuitive idea of what you like for atmosphere. Hopefully, this report will help you as you work with color, size and spatial relationships to build the perfect home for you.