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The Forestry Commission had a clear brief for their new restaurant – a light, airy, and welcoming space which compliments and enhances the surrounding grounds, created by a reliable timber framing company using locally sourced materials. We ticked all these boxes with our long established experience in designing and creating unique timber framed buildings, our reputation for responding to the clients’ needs, and our dedication to sustainable building techniques and materials.
The European Larch frame in this building allows light to flood through the space creating a bright and welcoming area for visitors to the arboretum to relax and refresh themselves. The building was designed to ensure that the large space covered within the frame drew light in by introducing a bespoke ridge-lantern glazing element, which was especially distinctive due to the curve of the roof. The windows are reinforced with steel rods which allows much bigger panels than a more traditional timber structure. An external decking area provides seating which overlooks the arboretum and makes the most of the stunning views.
The glazing along the top of the rafters allows light to flood in and to create a surprisingly bright interior considering the size of the building.
The building was faceted (curved but with straight lines), with each facet the same size and the angles between identical, making the geometry fairly straightforward and therefore less costly, while maximising the impact and functionality of the building.
Building the frame took a team of five carpenters six weeks to build and on site it took five carpenters eight days to erect. Meet the team, or contact us to discuss your timber framed building ideas and plans.
Further to the restaurant, Carpenter Oak also helped create the 'Treedial' sculpture, which links the sun, sky, water, and earth within a reflective garden space. This free standing 80 foot garden sculpture was part of The Westonbirt Arboretum Garden Festival 2003, sponsored by Wood For Good. A joint project by Roderick James Architects, Carpenter Oak Ltd and Mark Lovell Engineering. The primary spar (trunk) reaches up to the sky, supporting the secondary spars (branches) with a cascade of fine wires, giving a hint of exposure (canopy). The primary spar casts a shadow reaching hundreds of metres and children were able to write the time on a lolly stick and plant it at the end of the shadow. Over the course of the festival the whole site became a giant sundial.
Devon (UK) based award winning specialists in the design, construction and raising of oak timber framed buildings. We have a dedicated team of Project Managers, Frame designers and Carpenters who work closely with clients and architects to deliver a wide variety of bespoke oak frame projects across the UK, Europe and beyond.
We celebrate the beauty and joy of timber frames in many different styles and raise over 60 frames a year for inclusion within schemes ranging from oak sunroom extensions to extensive high-end architectural oak houses.
We love wood, we love design and we love a challenge.
Budget considerations are of course one of the primary factors for anyone undertaking an oak frame self build project whether it's a new build oak frame or a timber frame extension. 'How much will it cost?' is therefore a question which will be asked over and over and will almost certainly form a central thread of your project.
Overall build costs for a complete new build oak house typically vary from £1,500 to £2,000+ per square metre (referring to the useable area of the lower and upper floors added together) i.e. for a two storey property times the area by 2. We would suggest that you budget from £1,200- £1,800 per sqm (or £120-£180 per sqft).
For extensions we would suggest budgeting from £2,000 per square metre - don't forget to add VAT (for UK customers). It is worth noting that guide price is for a complete build based on a contractor doing the work with the timber frame is usually a 20-30% proportion.
If you intend to self build then expect to budget toward the lower end of the scale (although of course it may take longer!). There are several caveats with this guide price including the following key considerations:-
At every stage your decisions will affect the overall costs, from the complexity of the design to the level of finish. Engaging an architect will almost certainly save you money in the long run. Getting advice from us on the timber frame concept prior to going in for planning will minimise the risk of sending your architect 'back to the drawing board'.
We are happy to discuss your ideas with you at an early stage and can offer you advice along the way. It is helpful for you to build a scrapbook (you could use Pinterest) of your ideas and wishes – this makes your brief to us and your architect much clearer. Once you have a plot in mind we would encourage you to come and see us in the show barn at our yard to discuss your ideas in more depth and help you establish a concept design and rough costs.
You can meet with one of our frame designers and an architect if required (Roderick James Architects offer a free initial consultation). We can offer you an estimate for your budget costings at that stage based on a timber frame sketch scheme. You will then be in a position to draw up a planning application, knowing that you will be able to achieve what you want with the frame. We can offer you an accurate estimate based on a timber frame sketch scheme once you have architects drawings. Once your planning application has been approved we can get going on a detailed frame design for you.
All of our Oak is from sustainably managed woodlands located around a single sawmill in Normandy, France (PEFC certifified). When this mill is unable to fulfil our order we divert to an alternative mill in Germany. The mills have access to a plentiful supply of exceptionally well managed and very high quality timber.
Why not use UK sourced oak, I hear you ask? Sadly, the lack of investment and good timber management for hardwoods in this country over many years means our domestic supplies are generally of a lower quality, inconsistent supply and can be more expensive. Although the situation will gradually change, it means that currently continental Oak is the best option for our framing. Carpenter Oak Ltd are investing in the future of UK woodlands.
For every tree used in a project we will donate 10 Oak saplings to an organised planting scheme in the UK
Douglas Fir and Larch all comes from sustainably managed UK forests.
Just to clear it up from the start Green refers to the amount of moisture in the timber rather than the colour!
Large section ('heavy') timber framing has a style and rawness of its very own which is everything to do with the material. Its style, rhythm and methods have developed hand in hand with the use of timber in its unseasoned state. Any potential problems that the shrinkage and movement of the timber could create are designed out at the detailing stage, creating modern buildings which retain all of the beauty and stature of their historic predecessors whilst meeting and exceeding our stringent modern standards of weathertightness, airtightness and insulation.
Oak has always been used by timber framers in its 'green' state for a variety of very good reasons:
Worried about movement, cracking, treatment? See our oak page to find out more.
Usually this kind of work requires a site visit, advice and a report before the work is agreed in discussion with the engineer, architect and conservation officer. We regularly work on a consultancy basis during that phase and if there is a frame to build at the end then we can take that on too.
Adam Milton (Managing Director) was one of the carpenters involved in the roof repair after the Great Fire at Windsor Castle.
Contact us to discuss your project.
We regularly build oak frames for inclusion in renovations and barn conversions. A timber oak frame structure is ideal if the existing building is in structurally poor condition. The oak frame can slot into the fabric of the building to then carry the new roof etc.
You will need to find a builder to undertake the project as a whole but we are happy to design and build a frame for you or to give your builder dimensions. We can deliver this to site either as a kit or with the carpenters who made the frame, dependent on the size.
Yes. If you are looking for a complete build or ‘Turnkey’ service, we can offer a solution to include each stage of the process, from the feasibility assessment, design, management and construction, right through to completion. We pride ourselves on being adaptable as every client is different. We can offer a number of routes for you and your project, depending on how involved you want to get. We aim to understand your particular situation and respond to deliver what you need. For many people that means us working as a contractor alongside your architect and builder, for others, involvement at each stage or a self build project. Get in touch to find out which route would suit your project best and we can deliver a range of options from a finished frame to a finished house, ready for you to move into.