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6 Great Photo Books for Post & Beam Homes

There’s nothing I love more than flipping through magazines and books looking at gorgeous homes. When I was building my house, photos from books and magazines were my primary inspiration in designing our Victorian carriage house.

Now that the housing market has begun its rebound, I’m beginning to consider ideas for the main house (to be built on the same site as our carriage house). I am not sure what I want this time, but my starting point is this: a gorgeous post and beam home that suits New England and complements the Victorian-style of the carriage house (which will then be used as our 3-car garage and guest house once the main house is finished). As before, I am turning to magazines and books for design inspiration. Here are 6 books that are my current favorites.

1. Creating a New Old House: Yesterday’s Character for Today’s Home, by Russell Versaci. The Taunton Press. Copyright 2008. $39.95.

Creating a New Old House

“Creating a New Old House” showcases new homes designed and built true to historic architectural detail. These homes are just gorgeous.

This book isn’t specifically about timber frame homes, but it does feature some beautiful homes that have great beam work. I absolutely love photos of the Spanish Colonial Revival home, starting on page 25. Many people think the post & beam is synonymous with colonial, barn or lodge styles but these photos do a great job showing how beautiful timber frames can be used as the framework for European influenced homes.

Check out page 27 to see how to do a post and beam Spanish Colonial porch, or refer to page 29 to see gorgeous beams used to evoke Spanish Colonial style in the entryway.

2. Barn Style Living, by Tina Skinner & Tony Hanslin. Schiffer Publishing Company. Copyright 2005. Available for $29.95 through Yankee Barn Homes.

Barn Style Living by Yankee Barn Homes

Every home in this book is a post and beam structure.

This book shows photos and sample floor plans for 30-plus timber frame homes. I just love these:

Post and Beam farmhouse

I love this post and beam colonial farmhouse. The floor plan and additional photos are featured in the book.

A timber frame cottage in the Hamptons

Another home I love in this book is this summer cottage in the Hamptons.

Adirondack timber frame house

This post and beam home has an amazing hickory railing, often seen in Adirondack style camps and lodges.

3. Ultimate Horse Barns, by Randy Leffingwell. Voyageur Press. Copyright 2008. $34.95.

Ultimate Horse Barns

You will be very jealous of the horses that live in these beautiful barns.

This book is aptly named. The horse barns in this book will make your jaw drop. Check out my absolute favorite – the barn at Grand Central Farm in Brewster, New York on page 161. Click the link to see the barn. Due to copyright issues I couldn’t post the photo here, but it’s worth the jump!

Another show stopper is the Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, New Jersey on page 111. When the building is the historic headquarters of the United States Equestrian Foundation, you know it’s going to be good. Follow the link to see the photos. The brick and tile work on the interior is absolutely amazing.

4. Timberframe Interiors, by Dick Pirozzolo and Linda Corzine. Gibbs Smith. 2000. $39.95 (hardcover).

Timberframe Interiors

If you love timber frame, you will love this book. My favorite room is on page 164, where an owner used the timber frame great room for a full bar. The timbers give it a saloon feel, while the cathedral ceilings of the great room evoke the feeling of a church! What a contrast – a bar that feels like both a saloon and a church!

5. Creating the French Look, by Annie Sloan. Cico. Copyright 2008. $24.95

Creating the French Look

This book explains the differences between Chateau, Country, Provence and Parisian styles. It also has 25 step-by-step crafts projects!

You might think French style is not synonymous with post and beam style, however, weathered beams are often a hallmark of true French Country or Provence-style homes. If you are inspired by the casual, effortless elegance of that aged French look, you will find this book to be a wealth of information.

6. The Farmhouse: New Inspiration for the Classic American Home, by Jean Rehkamp Larson. The Taunton Press. Copyright 2006.

The Farmhouse Book

I’m seriously considering this house as a starting point for our new home. It would look great with the Victorian style carriage house.

This book is a gold mine for taking the classic farm house and showing what’s possible when applying today’s modern features and technology while never losing the essence of the original style. I love every house in this book!

This Post Has 7 Comments
  1. I found your blog by chance at the end of 2009 and I am enjoying it very much. My husband and I are planning to build a post and beam home on land we own in Vermont at some time in the not too distant future. I have been looking at magazines, websites and books on timber frames for quite some time trying to narrow down our design preferences (very hard to do when you like everything you see!). But I am really leaning toward a barn design now and I am very inspired by your carriage barn home. It’s beautiful.

    While we would really like to build a main home + a carriage barn right away, the reality is that our resources are such that we probably could not do it all at once. So, I am giving serious consideration to building the carriage barn first and then the main home later on. Thanks again for an interesting blog!

    1. Hi Susan,
      I’m so glad to hear you’re enjoying the blog; I’ve had a wonderful time writing it.

      Believe me, I hear you when it comes to not building everything all at once. Right now, my husband and I are truly enjoying our phase one carriage house. This is my first experience with living primarily on the second floor – what a kick it is during snowstorms. At night we turn off all the interior lights, leave on a few exterior lights and watch the storm swirl by while we stay snug and warm inside (usually with a glass of wine in hand!).

      You may already know my carriage house was built by Yankee Barn Homes. What you may not know is my husband and I designed this carriage house and YBH was wonderful to work with in making our dream a reality. The people there are fantastic and the product is top-notch. We highly recomend you include them on your list of timber frame companies to contact when you are ready to move forward. Good luck with your build and please feel free to contact me anytime!

      1. Well, you are really making a good case for living life perched on the second floor — especially the part about watching the snow — who doesn’t like watching snow swirl around from the confines of a toasty warm barn? Sounds ideal.

        We will definitely put Yankee Barn Homes on our short list of timber frame home companies to check out when the time comes. One question for you: did you and your husband design this home with the use of an architect or did YBH assist you in the design process?

        Thanks again. I will continue to be following your blog for new posts!

        1. Funny story about hiring an architect – we did have one, at my insistence. Spent a boat load of money, then ended up designing our carriage house ourselves. As it turned out, we liked our “vision” far more than we liked anyone elses’.

          Please don’t hear me as knocking architects; there are some very talented architects who produce amazing structures. It just so happened we knew ourselves best, so, with skilled help from the staff at YBH, were able to design exactly what we wanted.

          My husband and I are huge fans of architecture, particularly the older styles prevalent in the Northeast. We had a great time driving around New England taking pictures of buildings we liked. We then chose our favorites and brought them to Yankee Barn Homes. I can’t tell you how rewarding it was to watch something my husband and I envisioned in our minds come to life – first on computer through the wonder of 3-D technology where we could actually tour our structure, both exterior and interior – then in reality as we watched it go up. It was all quite thrilling!

          Good luck and please stay in touch. We love a good story and there are always good stories when building!! Who knows, we might end up featuring you on our blog or in our upcoming book!

  2. I actually hold a similar opinion about architects. There’s no doubt about it that some of them do some extraordinary work in designing homes and other structures. But I just cannot personally justify the expense when we are more than willing to put the time and legwork into developing a semi-final design that we think suits us best. I look at it this way — my time spent culling over design options, sketching out plans, etc. costs us nothing (and it’s fun!). After all, who knows you better than yourself?

    We would just need a post and beam company that can take our semi-final design vision and turn it into a finished plan. It sounds like YBH can do just that without the need for an architect. That’s good to know. Again, they will be on our short list of companies to visit.

    Thanks again, I will be in touch. Looking forward to your next post, Susan. :)

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