February 4, 2018

Hand Hewn Beams

Hello All!

How is winter going? Too quickly for me, yes, you read that right........that's what I get for my "I'll put that off for a winter project" mantra. Now I am overloaded and hoping I can get my butt in high gear before the madness that is Spring.

Still in "lounge" mode here, some of that time has been thinking about beams, specifically hand hewn 400+ year old beams from England. Even more specifically, when will mine arrive and what will I do with them?!?!
The options are endless, as you will see, But Let's step back a bit.....what am I talking about? 
Staying on in England with my bestie Sylvia, after our tour we antique…..pinch me! Near the very end, we went to visit the construction site her husband Joe was managing from design through construction.
There on the site was a stack of beams, 27 of them, irregularly shaped and roughly 12’ long, these are so hard to find!
The origin was the series of buildings, being sensitively restored for re-use into several townhouse-like homes. 
And yes, these beams had to come out, the originals being 
400+ years old, 

Give me hand hewn beams any day over diamonds! They could go on the same container as my antique finds, I said to myself……no problem
The history is vastly intriguing to me as I think, who carved these beams? How old were the trees that came down? 
We are talking Shakespeare's era!!
Below is a sample of hand hewn with the Mortise and Tenon technique. 
 An even older option was pegged mortise & tenon
A hand-hewn timber is a wooden marvel: the product of intensive labor and old-fashioned craftsmanship. Hand-hewn beams are a prized commodity among those who favor antique building materials, and the carpentry techniques used to create them are still in use among traditional builders today.

What is a hand-hewn timber? It’s any long piece of building material that has been transformed from round log to square timber using only hand-held tools. These timbers can then be sawed to different lengths and used as beams, joists, or trusses.
The less precise, the older they are.
 These have an inherent charm 
all their own
With renewed eyes, I am looking around my home for ideas
Deep in thought for ways to use them. If all my dreams were fulfilled,
 27 would not be enough!
But I know better........Mr 5th & State's "project" days are withering

An image from the Giannetti home, Patina Farm

I will choose my concepts sparingly, to guarantee them becoming reality
......wish me luck! 

First on the list is reverting one of the fireplaces to a beam surround

Yes, like this

Maybe with iron strapping?

Mad for this look, and many walls have been chosen....we'll see

What's not to love here? So you see, they are not just for ceilings
And they need not be in a rustic setting only. Loving contrasts, this really appeals to me, your thoughts?
CRAZY for this. Most of my homes ceilings are 7', after all it was built in 1865. With massively tall ceilings, these beams create an intimacy, a human scale to the room
The rest will go into my barn awaiting a client project, or for you! Need a beam, drop me a line

The England container is due to be opened & displayed

February 13th. Come on by, tea will be served 🇬🇧

As an aside……..
We are hosting a contest, shortly. A free exterior design, a facelift for your home. But......there is a caveat, only open to those that are serious about moving forward. Why? Looking for a before & after for my book  shhh! 
Could that be you?

Happy Super Bowl weekend!


  1. WOW! I cannot wait to see what you do with your beams. I love this history lesson of the beams. I am like you I love to imagine the history of these beautiful pieces. I love the fireplace mantle with the metal strapping.

    Sign me up for the contest! Does the winner have to be local? And BOOK??? I cannot wait for that, will it be interior and exteriors?

    Have a fabulous week. I have to send my sister in to see your container treasures

  2. Hi Debra,
    If anyone can come up with a creative way to use 400 year beams from England, it's you! What beautiful images you've shared.
    I'd enter your contest but the sweet little cottage we're renting has 'association' gardeners for all but my little patch of English garden in the backyard!

  3. BEFORE and AFTER for YOUR BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    WHAT BOOK?????
    I will fly in for the LAUNCH if it's not the HEART of WINTER!
    BEAMS BEAMS the MAGICAL WORK of a forgotten SOUL...........
    YOU have saved THEM and will give the BEAMS a NEW STANDING GLORY!
    I bet you keep them ALL............
    POP over for THE ANSWER I NEED!!!!!!!!
    TOODLES,it's wine time in your HOOD!
    I'm ready TOO!

  4. Oh my, my, my...hope to see you on the 13th.


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