10 of the Best Timber Frame Projects

Looking for ideas for your timber frame self build or extension project? Emily Brooks shares her favourite timber homes
by Emily Brooks
27th December 2018

From ultra-swift construction speeds to impressive energy performance credentials, the timber frame method comes with an array of enticing advantages, both for self builds and extension projects.

Whether you choose an open or closed panel arrangement, much of the work (particularly with the latter option) is done under factory-controlled settings, so the build components come with a high degree of accuracy out of the box.

The precision of the manufacturing and quality control process also allows homeowners to achieve high levels of thermal efficiency, up to Passivhaus standards.

Plus, systems that incorporate responsibly sourced timber tend to score high in terms of sustainability credentials, too.

Various finishing materials are compatible with this form of construction, including brick slips, wood cladding and render, allowing you to create a uniquely designed home that meets your aesthetic aspirations.

Read more: Cladding a Timber Frame Home

The following projects highlight the versatility of timber frame in establishing a bespoke abode that’s infused with plenty of character.

Contemporary Passivhaus

A green ethos lies at the heart of this eye-catching modern scheme (main image), the design of which was developed by Gresford Architects.

A highly insulated skeleton (manufactured offsite by MBC Timber Frame) was key to achieving the certified Passivhaus standards of energy performance.

The structure was erected in just three weeks, with the swift construction speed minimising the amount of labour required on site.

Recycled paper insulation and sustainably-sourced wood cladding were also chosen to help reduce the overall carbon footprint of the project.

Tom Gresford, founder of Gresford Architects, shares his expertise on choosing a suitable covering for your timber frame project:

“It’s hugely important to get the cladding for your new property or extension right. Choosing a suitable product is a very subjective exercise, but it also relates to the context, sustainability, quality, cost, longevity and structure of your project.

“The surroundings of your home are also critical, as the finish should relate to (although not necessarily ape) the adjacent buildings and landscape, and the historical materials used in the area.

“It’s always preferable to specify sustainably sourced materials that have low embodied energy. Quality and cost often go hand-in-hand.

“However, all schemes have an allocated project fund available, so choose the best quality over budget where you can, whilst considering what materials will last the longest and need the least maintenance.

“Finally, the perfect covering is often made from the same fabric that you’re building with. It can work really well to reflect the internal structure of your project externally, be it a masonry house with a brick outer leaf, a timber frame finished in wood boards, in situ cast concrete, and so on.

“Think of your cladding as much more than just a facade – it should reflect the essence and ambition of your whole project.”

Urban addition

Timber frame extension with extensive glazing as seen from inside

Image credit: Heather Hobhouse

The work of Hut Architecture, this side return extension has been designed to complement
the existing Victorian property.

The timber frame external wall is clad in brick to harmonise with the original dwelling. The wooden joists overhead have been left exposed to inject an additional decorative element.

Glazed roof modules have been set out at intervals of 850mm to match the width of the original period sash windows.

Read more: Victorian Terrace Layout Ideas

More than meets the eye

Timber frame home clad in render and brick

This charming new build oozes characterful appeal.

The traditional external materials palette features oak, render, brick slip cladding and handmade clay roof tiles that harmonises with the cutting-edge timber frame system, provided by Scandia Hus.

Swift construction speeds represent one of the main reasons this build route was chosen.

The structural skeleton has been insulated with an Actis quilt lining inside to reduce cold bridging and create an airtight vapour barrier.

Barn-style home

Timber frame home clad in timber and brick

Potton provided the structural components for this striking home in Cambridgeshire.

Horizontally-laid timber cladding, bricks and expansive swathes of modern-looking glazing comprise the exterior materials palette, imbuing the new building with a contemporary agricultural twist.

Notable design flourishes include strategically positioned large feature windows, which have been placed on the front and rear elevations of the house to perfectly capture the pleasant garden outlook.

Mixed materials

Timber frame box extension

Neil Dusheiko Architects are behind the design for this wrapped timber box-style extension.

Siberian larch cladding was affixed to double battens on panel vent boards within an oak lattice, creating a clear delineation between new and original structures.

The decision to use wood, as opposed to brick or structural glass, was rooted in the homeowner’s desire for the development to reflect its surroundings, close to Epping Forest.

A new timber staircase links the existing house to the new space.

Unusual form

Timber frame home with cantilevered gable

Built according to Passivhaus principles, this modern family home is the creation of Miller + Howard Workshop.

Featuring a variety of angular forms, including a cantilevered gable structure positioned atop a frameless corner window, the house was designed to take in the panoramic rural views.

Larch cladding, some of which has been burnt to create a striking effect, works hand in hand with the more traditional stone-covered portions of the dwelling.

Split level sensation

Timber frame split level home

Frame Technologies designed, manufactured and assembled the timber building components for this striking new build in Yorkshire.

Using a lightweight timber setup has allowed the load of the superstructure to be spread evenly across the footings, which saved them £10,000 on their project’s groundworks.

The super insulated Tech-Vantage E system also achieves a high level of airtightness – an important consideration for the homeowners, who were keen to build to the incredibly efficient Passivhaus standards.

Traditional appeal

Traditional self build exterior rear

Hanse Haus’s thermally efficient closed panel arrangement was chosen as the structural system for this new self build property.

Brick slip borders around the fenestration and base plinth add a traditional design flourish, infusing the house with a timeless aesthetic.

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The arched shape of the windows works in harmony with the decorative cross bar features to establish an authentic look, demonstrating how timber frame offers good scope for both traditional and contemporary style properties.

Modern vision

Timber frame home clad in brick and timberSituated within the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, it was essential for this new house to blend sympathetically with its rural surroundings and the vernacular architectural style.

The closed panel timber frame system was manufactured at the Baufritz factory in Germany before being transported to the UK.

Stone cladding has been used on the two gable ends and on section panels on the southern elevation, giving the property the authentic appearance of a traditional long barn structure.

Vertical timber boards, powder-coated windows and a natural slate roof inject a crisp, contemporary edge.

Old meets new

Timber frame home clad in weatherboarding and render

Coming in at a build cost of £280,000, this timber frame dwelling was developed by Fleming Homes.

While the front of the house is more traditional in appearance, featuring a characterful plinth of Welsh brown and blue-grey stone, the property’s rear has a much more contemporary look.

At the back, the use of a clean white render complements the crisp grey weatherboarding and larger spans of glazing. The homeowners chose timber frame largely because of the swift construction speed it offers.

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