Years of Experience and Learning have led us Here

Meet the Very Fine House. It’s homey, handmade, and locally sourced. The building process and design details have been honed. Its operating energy is low, and materials have been chosen to lower the environmental impact of the build and keep occupants healthy. It fits the aesthetic of the Northeast forests, and it’s got soul. 

After many years of designing and building custom timber frame homes in Central Vermont, we’ve honed in on what we think are best practices and a sweet design. There are several variations in floor plans and size, but the range is contained to 1-4 bedrooms, 800-1800 square feet. We are specifically designing modestly sized homes, and prioritizing the quality of the building materials, environmental impact, and beauty over size. 

After decades of designing, building, and teaching about timber frame homes, we have this to offer Central Vermont. Meet the Very Fine House – a pre-designed home that reflects our best efforts to bring beautiful, low-carbon, modest, healthy homes into the world.

There are three base models of the VFH, which you can check out below. With each model, we’ve prioritized the quality of the building materials, the environmental impact, and choosing local and low-carbon materials. Like everything that TimberHomes builds, these homes’ most notable feature is a traditional timber frame structure made from northeast wood. You can learn more about material choices and design below.

Because much of the design work has been completed, we can take a VFH from base-model-concept to final design with a fixed estimate faster than we can with a custom home. The timber frame, exterior walls, floors and roof are then built as panels in our Montpelier shop. This more controlled build in a heated space means a safer and faster construction process. We then raise the frame and panels on site, and finish the building from there. Because of savings in design and project management, and because of decisions that we’ve built into the design, we expect a VFH to cost 10% less than the lower end of the price range we offer for custom homes.

The VF1 is a one-bedroom home meant for one or two people. The bedroom and a half bath are in a loft space on the second floor. This house features interesting timber frame joinery……something and something else.

Perspective Drawings

General Specifications

– Frame Dimensions: 16’x24′
– Interior/Livable Square Feet: 720
– Bedrooms: 1 (Loft)
– Bathrooms: 1.5 (Half bath in the upstairs loft)
– Frame Features: Curving cherry braces and beams, crucks in the bent direction. (Gently curving beams running in the same direction as the rafters, carrying roof load from the peak down to the lower posts).
– Other Features: Integral mortise & tenon stairs, shed dormer.

Floor Plans

The VFH 2.5 is a 1,500 square foot home with 2 bedrooms and an additional flex space that can be used as office or studio space, or a small guest or child’s bedroom.

The third VFH on offer is either bigger (see image above) or maybe it’s smaller? Maybe our third choice is the 20’x30′ VFH1B?

What is special about the VFH?

We build homes that have a low carbon footprint, and support our local forestry economy.

In the Northeast, we are blessed with a locally produced, low-carbon, non-toxic, versatile building material. It is cheap, and time tested. It is …. wood! Whenever it’s reasonable to do so, we are using locally sourced wood, mostly the abundant and beautiful eastern white pine, to build our frames, sheathing, trim, siding, and more.

And, building an energy efficient house in Vermont’s cold, wet conditions requires more than wood has to offer.. To keep the houses we build warm and dry in Vermont’s challenging conditions, and ensure the longevity of the building, the envelope of the homes we build includes

How much does a VFH Cost?

Building a Very Fine House will save some money relative to building a custom house. We are not cost-competitive with modular home builders, because we are not building modular homes. You can read through our page on Construction Costs to gain a better understanding of how complicated it is to estimate the price of a house.

All new construction is costly, and most of those costs are fixed. What the VFH will save are the costs of design and some management, which are relatively small compared with the overall project. Importantly, some of the design choices we’ve made during the design process help keep the VFH at the lower end of our typical range for new house builds. We’ve made the decisions the have the biggest impact on the bottom line, without sacrificing on the values discussed above. Namely, overall building shape is straightforward, the finishes are lovely but not fancy, (what else????).

Most people who inquire about our house-builds do so because their goals align with ours – they are looking for a low-carbon, modestly-size home that is beautiful and comfortable. We will not be cost-competitive with modular home builders who’s design choices are solely or primarily cost-driven.