Expert Advice from the Hybrid Timber Framing Authority, Bert Sarkkinen from Arrow Timber
Hybrid timber framing is a stylish, unique, and fashionable choice for many homeowners and builders. It adds a flair of individuality to living spaces and is high on the list for those wanting to express their individual personality in their home.
If you need a luxurious entry, or an opulent patio, or a grand great room, then hybrid timber framing might be right for you. To learn more, we talked to the go-to expert in the field, Bert Sarkkinen, the founder of Arrow Timber. He also authored the book which many consider to be the top authority on hybrid timber framing: The Art of Hybrid Timber Framing: 7 Unique Post & Beam Styles to Accentuate Any Design Theme, which is on its second edition.
Q. What is hybrid timber framing?
A. Hybrid Timber Framing is a special building method people use to personalize, accent, and capture a unique look and feel for their building projects. A very long time ago, timber framing (which is building without nails and using wood pegs instead) was commonplace. During the Wild, Wild West expansion, railroads, steam powered sawmills and mass-produced nails made 2×4 stick framing easy to quickly build shantytowns. Hybrid timber framing is a combination of these two building methods and is used to make homes unique and beautiful today.
Q. Why is hybrid timber framing so popular now?
A. Flexibility. The flexibility of hybrid timber framing allows people to be flexible with their money investment. It allows people to be flexible with their design style, too. And it allows people to be more flexible expressing themselves with timber art. They are able to get a look and feel for their home which is uniquely theirs, and it will delight for years to come.
Q. What is the number one thing people should know when considering a hybrid timber framing project?
A. The biggest mistake we see people make has to do with planning and understanding what they truly want. People don’t understand how many decisions, choices and tradeoffs will attack their initial idea. Therefore, as visionaries they must do their homework and build a robust picture of what they do and do not want. This is tougher than it sounds. Once people understand their desires, they can better choose who to hire, which is the second biggest mistake we see. These issues are addressed thoroughly in section I, Initiating the Vision, of my book, The Art of Hybrid Timber Framing.
Q. How can hybrid timber framing reflect the personality of a homeowner?
A. Our choice of what vehicle we drive says a lot of other things about us. It is the same with hybrid timber framing. On a bigger scale, every choice that homeowners make will be some combination of strength and elegance—the two basic building blocks of style. Another way to understand how hybrid timber framing choices are driven by personality, is to take our online style quiz. Or, for a deeper dive, read section II, Depicting the Vision, where we define seven hybrid timber frame styles. Also, the conclusion of section II has an attitude questionnaire you can take which is full of personality!
Q. How does one get started if they want to explore hybrid timber framing options?
A. The options for hybrid timber framing are virtually limitless. Section III, Building the Vision, in The Art of Hybrid Timber Framing, has a chapter about Managing the Money, which gives a small taste of why this is. For someone starting out, I recommend they focus on their responsibilities as the visionary, as laid out in section I. And when their brain is tired and they need a break, they can browse magazines, Pinterest, house design websites, etc. to get ideas. As a side dish, I will add that people should avoid the temptation to take shortcuts. They should keep initiating their vision, as that is the main dish.
If you’re considering adding the beauty of hybrid timber framing to your home, then get your copy of The Art of Hybrid Timber Framing: 7 Unique Post & Beam Styles to Accentuate Any Design Theme by Bert Sarkkinen. For more information, visit Arrow Timber’s website and discover if hybrid timber framing is right for you.