Over the years I’ve been part of the design process in many, many timber frame homes. Timber frames are a joy and a challenge to design, but I’d never thought about the bedrooms in more than terms of size and space. Living in a timber frame has changed my perspective.
As we’ve settled into our home and spent at least some of each season, the importance of the design of the bedroom space has become more apparent. We have two bedrooms. One is on the first floor, our guest room at this time, but designed so that we can “age in place” and live on the first floor if we are uncomfortable trekking up stairs every day. This bedroom has timber ceiling joists and posts. The master bedroom, (that’s a grand name for the smaller space that we chose to include), is upstairs, vaulted with timber posts and beams.
While both are decorated in “early old”, they each have a unique character and feel about them. The first floor bedroom evokes a sense of age and peace. Our sons refer to it as “Granny’s bedroom”, even though she isn’t with us any longer. They say it reminds them of her and they believe that she would have been comfortable in it. With her old Bible, a bed that belonged to David’s Grandfather, and a lovely cedar chest built just for us by Harold, David’s Dad, it does have a sense of ancestry. The lower ceiling (9′) also offers a cozy space to rest peacefully. The cocoon effect is evident as you rest in this room. You are sheltered and sleep comes easily.
The master bedroom upstairs is smaller, but the high ceilings add volume to the room. It lives (and sleeps) like a much larger space. With it’s quirky screen door for the closet and salvaged door headboard, it isn’t exactly the average room. Sleeping in it is much like laying under a star-filled sky or in an open field. You relax and let sleep come to you.
Since we usually sleep with open windows during much of the year, we’ve even considered having a “summer” bedroom and a “winter” bedroom. The upstairs room is warm and cozy on cold nights. We haven’t even turned the heat on upstairs…and it was a cold winter. However, we are thinking that the bedroom downstairs might be cooler this summer. We’ll see what happens.
Our timber frame has lived up to all our expectations, offering shelter (as timber frames tend to do) and, being small, making us think about how we live and what we consider important. We realize we just don’t need as much “stuff” as we thought. We love it.