The Adjacent Possible

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For the past 7 years I’ve held the job title “designer.”  I recently heard an interesting definition of what a designer is--someone with the ability to see “the adjacent possible… the range of answers that exist to a given question, including ideas that are one step away from the ideas we’re currently working with.

Timber framing is an adjacent possible to people building homes today. It’s an option that’s not widely known, and yet it’s so perfect for many more applications than it’s currently used in, particularly modest-sized homes.

We subscribe to a number of timber frame home magazines, and the vast majority of projects we see in those pages are massive, well outside the reach of most people contemplating building a new home. (They also tend to employ decorating schemes heavy on the trophy deer heads, but that’s another post entirely.) We believe timber framing is a real and attainable option for modest homeowners, provided they lean towards quality in the quality-versus-quantity debate. It takes longer to build a timber frame, and costs a bit more, but the results are incomparable. I’ve never lived in a timber frame home myself (although I hope to one day soon), but I can’t imagine complacency and selective blindness setting in the way it does in a stick-frame home, surrounded by four white walls unbroken by any architectural interest. I challenge anyone to spend time in a timber frame structure and resist the urge to pause during mundane tasks to run a hand over a nearby post, feel the weight of its presence, connect momentarily with a greater span of time and space. Not to mention that interior walls of any kind are totally optional. As are trophy deer heads.

Ogonek Custom Hardwoods is setting out to move timber framing firmly into the set of options that people know and regularly consider. Our Modern Modular design makes a simple rectangular frame into a repeatable unit. Change the dimensions, fit them together in different ways, and create a layout that works for your needs. The predictable, simple joinery means the overall cost moves closer to that of a stick-frame. An affordable handcrafted custom home with a modern aesthetic? Now that’s what I call the adjacent possible.