Cabin Mansion: Wooden Residential Architecture on a Large Scale

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If the phrase ‘wooden architecture’ makes you think of modest cabins in the woods, maybe these photos of an incredible wooden mansion will change your perception. Spacious, luxurious and thoroughly modern, ‘Martis Camp House’ by Swaback Partners near Lake Tahoe, California proves that wood can go far outside the box with unexpected applications.

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Imagine what this luxury home would look like if it were made of concrete instead of wood. The wood siding gives it a warm and welcoming feel and extra visual interest that complements stone and copper elements to perfection.

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The architects characterize this residence as “a home for the high Sierra’s that does not fall in line with the traditional regional architecture that mostly is a dark and heavy composition. Instead, the concept was to celebrate the light and airy feeling of snow and the effects it can bring to the interiors.”

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Of course, using wood siding on a modern house of these proportions is far from the only way to incorporate wood into larger-scale architecture. More and more modern buildings are getting a facelift from wood facades, while architects make plans for all-wood skyscrapers. 

Let the Sunshine in: Stunning White Pine Sunrooms

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Adding a sunroom to a house not only provides an indoor/outdoor space that enables virtually unobstructed views of the outdoors, it also lets natural light flood into the interior. An easy and affordable way to add extra livable space to a home, sunrooms are often constructed with Eastern White Pine (also known as Northern White Pine) beams.

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A wide range of sunroom companies across the country offer customizable packages for sunrooms ranging from basic square additions to beautiful geometric structures resembling glass cathedrals. Four Seasons Sunrooms, California Sunrooms, Better Living Sunrooms and Patriot Sunrooms are among those with Eastern White Pine options.

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Known historically as solariums or conservatories, these spaces were initially intended for use as greenhouses, but in the eighteenth century, they became popular as ‘garden rooms’ that allowed enjoyment of greenery without exposure to the elements.

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Many sunrooms cost less than $20,000 and can help save energy by capturing the warmth and light of the sun, cutting down on the need for electricity. Double-pane glass helps prevent heat loss in the winter. Sunrooms can be used as dining spaces, family rooms, playrooms, breakfast nooks or just a place to relax.

Dreaming of a Timber Frame Home: Truss Styles

Timber Frame Home Truss Styles

A truss is a basic architectural component of a timber frame structure, spanning the length or width of the building to bear heavy loads. They’re also often highly decorative, adding a lot of character to the overall look. In fact, the type of truss chosen can make the difference between a timber frame home that’s spare, simple and rustic to a structure reminiscent of a cathedral. These five basic truss types are offered by most timber frame home builders, but they’re just the beginning. You can get creative with the design, making it ideal for your needs.

King Truss

Timber Frame King Truss

This is one of the most basic of truss styles for timber frame construction, and can include curved or raised bottom chords.

Queen Truss

Timber Frame Queen Truss

Queen truss differs from the king style in that it features two main posts instead of one, making larger spans possible using shorter timbers. It’s also more decorative.

Scissor Truss

Timber Frame Scissor Truss

This style helps solve a common problem: when one supporting wall is a different height than the other. Angled chords overlap the king post in the center.

Bridge Truss

Timber Frame Bridge Truss

Parallel chords are used to create the bridge truss, which features top and bottom chords running lengthwise through the structure rather than across the width.

Collar Tie

Timber Frame Collar Tie Truss

This most basic, frills-free truss style consists of a single horizontal beam across the width of the structure.

Images via: New Energy Works, High Country Timber Frame,, Precision Craft (main image)

Secluded Maine Cabin Boasts Bright Eastern White Pine Interior

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What started out as little more than a dark box is now a light-filled cabin in a remote area of Maine after a brilliant renovation. Local building codes prevented the new owners from expanding its footprint, which is just 540 square feet on the first floor, so they had to get creative to make the two-story barn wood structure livable. Designer George Gekas cut floor-to-ceiling windows to give the cabin the feel of a ship.

Located on a tidal lake called Goose Marsh Pond on Mount Desert Island, the cabin offered a relaxing, secluded home for a couple from New York working in the oncology field. Gekas, who had previously built 70 houses on the island, knew just what to do to make it feel like a welcoming retreat for the entire extended family, including small grandchildren.

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Many of the solutions are multi-purpose to make the most of the small space, and the interior was redesigned to make the view top priority. Gekas replaced the roof over the sitting area with translucent corrugated polycarbonate panels to let in more light, and used Eastern White Pine throughout the interior to give it an airy feel.

Read the whole story and see more photos, including before-and-afters, at The New York Times.

Wavy-Edge Eastern White Pine Siding Adds Rustic Charm to Lakeside Home

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Wavy-edge siding has a bit more visual flair than standard siding, lending a rustic, hand-finished look with lots of charm. This type of siding leaves a bit of the wood’s natural character intact, cut at an angle along the log edge of the board. While it would be wholly expected on a rustic hunting cabin, it offers even more impact on a larger, more luxurious home, like this one on Lake Keowee in South Carolina.

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Located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, The Cliffs at Keowee Vineyards is a luxury development filled with individually designed homes, each tailored to the individual needs and tastes of the owners but also reflecting the woodsy lakeside aesthetic.

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This particular home, designed by Summerour Architects, features wavy-edged Eastern White Pine siding finished in Manchester tan to blend in with the natural surroundings. Accents of stone and brick, and lots of rich wooden details throughout the interior, enhance the cozy feel.

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Virtually any mill or retailer offering Eastern White Pine lumber products can provide wavy-edged siding. Locate a lumber retailer at

Eastern White Pine Floors Shine in Bright Contemporary Home

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The rustic texture and color of Eastern White Pine makes it a natural choice for country-style homes, cabins and mountain retreats, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place in contemporary and modern buildings. In fact, contrasting this character-rich wood with bright, smooth and polished surfaces makes it stand out as a major interior design highlight. This home in Vermont is a prime example.

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Just over two miles from Woodstock, Vermont, this New England home is a blend of classic and contemporary styles. Originally built in 1971, it received a modern update with an emphasis on green materials in 2010 including narrow horizontal wood cladding on its exterior, and lots of white paint inside.

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All of those white surfaces really put the focus on the center-cut, wide plank Eastern White Pine floors. Subtly stained to retain the wood’s natural beauty, the floors help give the home a warm and inviting feel.

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Demand has steadily risen for sustainable wood flooring in recent years. More buyers choose homes with wood floors over those with carpet or tile, and they’re more concerned than ever about how their home-buying, building and renovation choices affect the environment.

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Check out a gallery of ten more homes with Eastern White Pine flooring in a range of styles.