Altitudinous Barn for a Couple of Aviators

September 17, 2023

High up on a hill in Hartland, VT, about 1,000 feet above sea level, is a full-pitched five bent TimberHomes barn peaking at 1,035 feet. Each gabled roof wing is built from nineteen 24 foot rafters alighting on scarf-jointed purlin and wall plates running 52 feet from nose to tail. Roof thrust and weight are resolved through five queen post assemblies that also support an upper floor: a 30 foot Eastern White Pine tie beam footing opposing struts near its ends, an 8×10 inch EWP compression/straining beam joining the queen posts at their tops, and 2 inch square White Oak pegs joining the 3 inch thick queen post through-tenons to the tie beam at their bottoms. The two forward ties clear the 30 foot span on 3 inch thick integral brackets protruding from 8 inch square WO posts, and the three trailing ties are supported with two additional EWP arcade posts along its span.
When not piloting 737s or F-16s, the owners utilize the barn as equipment garage and storage–and as concert venue occasionally–while resting their eyes on a breathtaking view of the southern horizon, about 30,000 feet below their working altitude.

The barn frame was cut and raised by the TimberHomes Vershire crew during the summer of 2023. 30 foot tie beams, 500 pound Oak posts, and tiny 1 foot girts flew through the shop in a short three weeks. On a rainy afternoon ahead of Raising Day, the frame was strapped onto a trailer for its sortie down Route 91 and across the Quechee Gorge Bridge (165 feet above the river.) By the next morning, roads and bridges had been completely washed out and buildings shuttered in what had become a catastrophic statewide flooding event. The owners’ driveway was critically damaged, and a bridge connecting the Vershire shop to main roads north and west had collapsed. The raising was postponed, the timbers aired out, and TimberHomes crews mobilized to assist in the relief and recovery efforts – particularly around submerged downtown Montpelier, just a couple of miles from the TimberHomes Montpelier shop.

After two weeks of rerouting, the raising took off to blue skies and friendly clouds, favorable conditions for flying and roofing alike. A generous lunchtime cookout by the owners was a highlight, particularly as it seemed to mark a smooth descent from an otherwise turbulent few weeks.