5 Advantages to Building a Small Timber Frame Home

Small Timber Frame Home

Since 1970, the average size of a new home has nearly doubled, from an average of 1,400 square feet to 2,700 square feet, as the number of people in a household continues to drop. While many people may think that “bigger is better,” building a small  timber frame home has definite advantages:

1. Small Timber Frame Home: Lower Utility Bills

Although newer homes are energy-efficient, the cost to heat and cool today’s large homes can take a huge bite out of your budget. Aside from financial considerations, large houses are also using up more than their fair share of natural resources.

2. Fewer Repair and Maintenance Costs

A small timber frame home has fewer items to replace, and what does need replacing, such as a roof, flooring, furnaces and air-conditioners, costs less to replace in a small home. Additionally, the amenities that sometimes come with larger homes, like whirlpool baths, will require extra maintenance and repair.

3. Less Clutter

People have a tendency to keep accumulating things until they fill up the space they have, no matter how large. A well-planned smaller home will have practical, multi-purpose spaces and will discourage large rooms devoted to one activity. Such rooms are an invitation to collect random paraphernalia, a good example of this would be a sewing or embroidery room. A smaller home forces you to buy more prudently, which also saves money.

4. No More Downsizing

Many people discover that they can finally afford a larger home just as their children are leaving the nest. Later, they must downsize when they can no longer care for the property or it becomes dangerous for them to get around. A small home built with handicap facilities or an easily convertible floor plan will allow you to stay in your home longer, Small Home Costsdelaying the need for assisted living or a nursing home. Even younger families can benefit from this strategy.

5. Overall Financial Security

If you have a fabulous house, but have nothing left after paying the mortgage and property taxes to enjoy life or afford groceries, your quality of life is not what it appears. Even if you can afford a large home, paying extra on a smaller loan will get you to home ownership that much faster, freeing up money so you can enjoy life in later years.

The benefits of building a smaller timber frame home make it an appealing choice for homebuyers, and one that more folks should consider.

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10 thoughts on “5 Advantages to Building a Small Timber Frame Home”

  1. Brice, Below an article extolling the advantages of smaller footprints
    and a comment that larger homes take more then their fair share of natural resources we see you proudly saying you are building a 3000 sq ft home. And that reads like a main level. ICF basement perhaps. 6000 sq ft
    What’s good for the gooose?

  2. Dave sorry for the confusion on the size of my house.
    If you head over to https://timberframehq.com/timberframehouseplansandkits/whetstone-creek-cabin/ you will be able to see the plan of home that I am building for family. It has 1300 sqft. on the main, a full walkout basement of 1300 sqft where we have two small bedrooms for the kids, laundry, storage, and a rec room and then a small loft with 400 sqft.. So, I have about 3000 sqft. of heated space. We also have a small front porch and a larger rear deck to increase our living space.
    It is a full timber frame, including the basement and is completely enclosed with SIP’s. I also had a lot of fun figuring out window placements and overhangs to make sure I got plenty of sun during the winter and almost no direct sunlight during the summertime. So it is as efficient as I could make it.
    This house is plenty big for me and I’m glad that I’m not building 3000 sqft. footprint, so much work work involved. I do think some of my spaces are a bit on the large side but feel comfortable with the overall scale of it.
    Thanks for the call out and giving me the chance to clarify.

  3. Brice, Confusion sorted. I guess I also made
    unwarrented assumptions
    Blame it on a humid office!
    I will check out your plan

  4. Sir,

    Thank you for promoting smaller timber frame. I completely agree that a smaller house is a wiser choice, for many reasons. This is an excellent site and I look forward to receiving your newsletters.

    More videos with details of your tools and how you use them to create specific timbers, joints, and other structures would be welcome. I am starting small with a modest structure, a garage. The stacked timber home we already have is 2000 sq ft, but the TF room addition we want to add will push that to 2700. Following your lead in tool choices. Looks like my first major purchase will be one of those Bigfoot saws.

    Best regards from Indiana,

  5. M Brice Cochran

    It is a great saw. More videos and article in the pipeline. I have been working on wrapping up my house…working all weekend on installing the pickets for my staircase and am looking forward to ramping up getting info posted.
    Thanks for the feedback.

  6. Having purchased 5 acres for a small homestead farm reciently,my wife and I are planning on an exterior foot print of 28ft by 40ft. This will give us an interior space of @ 1000 sq ft. plenty for two people and two dogs. Our property has plenty of Oak and Hickory and I want to use some of this for our framing. I plan on purchasing an Alaska Sawmill and cutting the timbers after the trees have seasoned one year in a covered area. We will heat the home with a wood burning stove that we can cook on and create our hot water. The house will be open concept and Timber Framing is perfect for such a structure.

  7. Michael Zuckerman

    I am timber framing a tiny cabin – it is 12’x12′ with an 8’x10′ front room (tiny kitchen/dining)….. the 12×12 bearing walls are 12′ high so there is a four foot knee wall when you get to that level.

    I am looking for a timber frame design for a stairway that either does a 90 degree turn with 2-3 steps built into the turn (landing) or a switchback (also with steps in the turn)…… the whole point is I am trying to take up as little space as possible but don’t want a ladder. Envisioning, a 2 ft. wide stairway with 12″ risers……….

    Any ideas? Can you point me towards some existing plans? Any thoughts would be helpful.

    By the way – I just completed the sawhorses……. a wonderful first timber frame project. They came out great……… Michael Z.

  8. We should be putting up the TF Storage Shed in the next two months. I’ve changed my plan for the house to using whole (round) logs instead of cutting the trees into timbers, this will give the interior more of a log cabin feel and it will insure plenty of strength in the structure. It will also mean all I have to do is debark the trees and let them air dry for a year. I’ve also reduced the pitch of the roof to 3 in 12, that will be just right for the solar panels to the angle of the sun on our site as well as make it easier on the gutters for water collection.

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