Post and beam construction is just what it sounds like: a heavy timber house framework comprised of vertical “posts” that support horizontal “beams.”
Though post and beam is arguably the oldest framing method, it is also a great construction technique for modern homes, as the heavy timber framing can support the roof load, eliminating the need for interior supporting walls.
That means post and beam is the ultimate technique for creating the open interiors that contemporary homebuyers crave. Further, exposed timbers serve as a visual showcase of the home, often resulting in high volume, light-filled spaces that are both inspiring and comfortable.
Post and beam construction can be traced back to ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman architecture. In fact, some medieval-era post and beam structures are still standing!
Post and beam framing was also used by early American settlers, who used hand-hewn oak timbers fitted together with hardwood pegs or various types of joinery slots that were cut into the beams.
The sheer size and strength of the timbers used in post and beam construction made the early American buildings enduring. Many are still standing after hundreds of years.
The advent of Industrial Revolution-era machinery facilitated the mass production of “dimensional lumber,” (for example, the 2”x4”), and the popularity of heavy timber construction eventually yielded to the stud and joist type of construction so common today.
However, quality post and beam homes are still being constructed by discerning homeowners who shun the commonplace and who are willing to invest in the longevity, beauty, customization and openness associated with these homes.
Wood is a beautiful, natural building material with innate warmth. People tend to instinctively love the look, smell and natural authenticity of wood, so it is natural that exposed timbers add perceived beauty, character and charm to a home, especially when they soar above open, light-filled spaces.
Post and beam homes also tend to have an appealing visual rhythm composed by alternating exposed beams and “bays,” the open spaces between the beams.
In my opinion, post and beam construction is a natural fit for New Hampshire, a state that is both rich in history and the second most forested in the nation. For second home owners, post and beam homes can offer a New Hampshire-themed getaway that feels more like a vacation lodge than another cape, colonial or saltbox.
A true post and beam structure does not rely on “load-bearing” walls as the timber frame does all the heavy lifting of the home’s weight. Accordingly, homeowners can enjoy maximum flexibility in the placement and materials of walls, doors and windows, allowing for expansive, breathtaking interiors, and interesting and dramatic features.
As you can see, while building methods come in and out of fashion, post and beam construction has demonstrated centuries-old staying power for many good reasons.
A Contemporary Post and Beam Home: My listing at 163 Eastman Shore Road North in Laconia (MLS# 4751540) is an excellent example of a contemporary post and beam home with modern conveniences and efficiencies complemented by timeless beauty and appeal.
This unique, beautifully constructed three bed, two bath home with soaring exposed-beam ceilings sits deep on 3.28 acres, offering peace, privacy, nature and quiet... while being centrally located minutes from both downtown Meredith and Laconia. Enjoy a dine-in cook's kitchen with stainless appliances, central island, hand-laid granite tile countertops, attractive cabinetry, and a woodburning stove.
The first floor also features a spacious bedroom with en suite bath, a laundry area, a bonus room/office and a workshop. Filled with floor-to-ceiling windows and sliders on both levels, this beautiful home offers abundant natural light, decks, a grand, central stone chimney, spacious bedrooms, to-die-for bathrooms, and a gas fireplace in the sprawling living area. Photos don't do this property justice. You've got to see this gorgeous home in person to fully appreciate the tasteful quality throughout.
But wait, there's more! This home includes a deeded shared lake access lot with 150 feet of water frontage on Winnisquam--one of New Hampshire's largest lakes--just a short walk down a peaceful dirt road. Also walking distance is Ahern State Park and 128 acres of hiking, non-motorized boating, biking and fishing on 3,500 feet of shoreline. Schedule a showing today if you value superior construction and interior design, privacy and lake access close to all the Lakes Region has to offer.
Schedule a showing today if you value a superior construction and interior design, privacy and lake access proximal to all the Lakes Region has to offer.
Brent Metzger is a Realtor® with Roche Realty Group in Meredith. He may be reached at (603) 229-8322 or firstname.lastname@example.org.