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"House As Art"

Annual Buyer's Guide 2009, Timber Home Living


Timber Frame Loft with Custom TrussConsider on of their latest creations: this 5,428-square-foot, timber hybrid, built on a promontory overlooking the waters of Lake Pend Oreille in the northern panhandle of Idaho. Charlie served as the construction manager while Lauren handled the interior design.


The exceptional project started with a timber package provided by PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes and designed by M.T.N Design out of Meridian, Idaho. The Bisbees worked with Tim Brock, one of the firm’s designers, to modify its standard "Beartooth" design, adding an attached garage and an in-law suite, along with a plethora of their own innovations.


"A timber hybrid," explains Tim, "is a home that combines the strength and beauty of a timber frame with conventional framing practices reducing the overall cost." In a hybrid home, many of the exposed, structural timbers bear down on conventional framing, eliminating the need for the additional, and often hidden, timbers.

From there, the Bisbees let their imaginations soar, going as far as inventing their own Venetian plaster technique for the home’s walls and ceilings. The three-step process, explains Charlie, involves mixing joint compound with paint and applying it to the walls. The effect is a textured look that stands out like marble against the mocha-stained, rough-hewn wood.

Timber Frame HomeDrawing on her experience as a real estate agent, Lauren says building a timber home allowed them to capitalize on one of the most significant trend in home design-the open floor plan. In the Pacific Northwest, she says, this design edict has become a near constant.

"People are definitely moving away from the formal dining room," Lauren explains. "They don’t use them, and they don’t want them. The really want to see the living room, kitchen and the dining room as one unit."

Additional features the Bisbees added or modified to their stock plan include stucco in place of the traditional clapboard, an indoor pool with a waterfall, a 12-seat movie theater and a mechanized tram that runs from the house to a waterside deck nearly 110 feet below.

Lauren says the overall design of the house is centered around hosting guests. "One of the outstanding features for me," Lauren proclaims, "is that the kitchen is designed so I can enjoy my guests while I cook, and they can participate in the meal preparation." The added a second kitchen, minus the oven, to the basement-level family room, and a barbeque with kitchen accoutrements was built onto the deck at the base of the tram.

Timber Frame Theater RoomEach of the home’s three bedrooms (not counting the in-law apartment) has its own bath with laundry facilities, a separate deck overlooking the lake and Wi-Fi access.


Add to these features a sauna, whirlpool bathtubs, steam showers, a whole-house music system and a wall of windows that practically devours the view before it, and it’s now wonder Lauren concludes, "It’s a total party house."