Homestead Timber Frames

The Case for a One Level Timber Frame Home

Posted by Larry Johnson on Jan 11, 2017 4:24:52 PM

One level timber frame home

Lately we’ve been getting a lot of design requests for one level timber frame homes from clients looking for the perfect ‘forever home’. ‘Ranchers’, as these rectangular homes were once called, are perfect for those who are looking for a grand home with a simple and accessible floor plan. They can come in a variety of styles, from rustic to modern to mountain or even Mediterranean. This only serves to further boost their popularity with home builders, and these layouts are an excellent choice for timber frame homes.

The one level rancher rose to prominence in the 1950’s, usually boasting a square footage of around 1500. California-style ranchers were more rambling and built in an L or T shape with lots of windows and terraces. In the east, you found more compact ranchers with covered porches or a carport attached. A few builders would introduce open roofs or beams in the ceilings which only lent to their attractiveness. Modern ranch style homes featured angled or sloped rooflines also featured open rafters in the ceilings. The ranch style home waned in popularity for some time, but the one level style of living is making a comeback, and for good reason.

One level living allows inhabitants to have an open floor plan for their ‘living’ area while having easy access to private rooms in the home – all without going up or down stairs. If well designed, they encourage no wasted space, nice traffic flow and lots of natural light from all sides of the home. Ceilings can be 8’, 9’, or even 10’. If you choose a T shaped home, the Great Room can have a timber framed cathedral ceiling with a low roof pitch. Timber Framing fits perfectly with these types of homes just as they do with two story homes.

There are many benefits to living in a one level home, especially for those who are retired or close to retirement. Let’s take a look at some of those now and see how a one level timber frame may work best for your family.


Timber Frame Bedroom-282595-edited.jpgFor those of advanced age or for those suffering from mobility issues, a one level timber frame home provides a level of accessibility that a multi-level home would not. 

One level homes keep bathrooms and bedrooms to a single floor, eliminating the need for stairs and making life much easier for those with arthritic joints or physical handicaps. It’s also easier to incorporate Handicap Accessible bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms into a one level floor plans.

Energy Efficiency  

Timber frame homes are designed to be energy efficient from the get-go, but keeping your floor plan at one level will only make it more so. Heating and cooling a two-story house can be a bit more costly when you consider that you may need to purchase two systems to even out the air flow between your first and second floors. Timber Frame living room.jpg

Even if you only need to purchase one system for your entire home, your electric bill may see a serious jump in cost as you attempt to keep your sleeping family cool on the second floor during the summer. Heat rises in the winter, but you’ll still likely need to compensate to keep your family warm. A one story house heats up and cools down evenly, vastly reducing the need for constant thermostat adjustment and increasing your energy savings year after year.

In Case Of Fire

No one wants to think about their home catching fire but sometimes the unthinkable happens.  If you were to find yourself in such a situation, it’s much easier to escape danger in a one level home than a multi-level home. Hot door handles or spreading flames may impede your exit plan, forcing you to jump to safety from a nearby window.   

Easier Outside Access 

Like most people, you probably love the great outdoors.  If you’re looking to head outside any chance you get, a one level home makes it much easier for you.  It’s a breeze to incorporate wide doorways that provide outdoor access from any room in the house. This is especially nice if you’re planning to build a deck of any sort.

Easier To Clean

Multi-level homes are difficult to clean for many reasons. Dust gathers in odd places, more spots are out of reach, and it’s exhausting having to lug a heavy vacuum up and down the stairs. A one story home requires far less effort to clean and will generally be much cleaner as a result. 

Easier To Renovate

One level floor plans make expansion and renovation a cinch due to their openness and accessibility. Adding an extra room or two to a one level home is often much easier and carries less expense than expanding a multi-level home.

Easier To Scale Back 

Timber Frame Kitchen.jpgHomeowners looking to build a home that’s perfect for just one or two will find that a one level timber frame home can provide them with more than enough space. Multi-level homes can feel overwhelming to a single person or a couple building their first house. The open and spacious feel of a one level home gives you a welcoming structure that’s big enough to host a few, but cozy enough when it’s just you.

Of course, a single level timber frame home can provide you with far more benefits than those we’ve discussed here. For instance, if you stay within a reasonable square footage such as 2000 or less, your building costs should be just as reasonable. Clean roof lines with few ‘bump-outs’ and some nice covered porches should ensure a very livable and attractive home. One level living allows you to strive for a quality built home with many unique amenities that will last a lifetime.

We’d be more than happy to discuss how a one level home may best suit your family’s needs. Call, email or visit today to schedule a consultation.  We’ll be looking for you. 


Topics: Timber Frame Building, Home Planning, Timber Frame Planning