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Simply Irresistible: A Contemporary Timber Home

A smaller footprint paired with a sleek design creates a comfortable, contemporary timber home in Washington state.

Written by Sara Brown


Nathalie and Thong Trinh will never forget their daughter’s ninth birthday. After all, it was the day they moved into their dream retreat nestled on 45 wooded acres near Washougal, Washington.

“We moved in at the beginning of the winter, on our daughter’s birthday,” explains Nathalie. “It was the first time our family saw the finished project together, and the feeling we had was, ‘This will be our long-lasting home!’”

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Though it snowed the day after they moved in, the Trinh family couldn’t have been happier. “We were thrilled to just stay in and enjoy the snowy view outside. It was so inviting and cozy, and we knew the house was just perfect for us,” says Thong.

Looking at the impressive timber home, it’s easy to see why the Trinhs fell in love at first sight. An oasis of tranquility, the 2,350-square-foot retreat offers breathtaking views of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and the Columbia River. The elegant wood home harmonizes perfectly with its serene surroundings.

“We spent a lot of time searching for a site that fit our soul and love of nature,” recalls Nathalie. “It was a bit of luck that we came across this property.”

As nature enthusiasts, Nathalie and Thong wanted to create a home that blended with the peaceful setting they had discovered. A timber home proved to be a perfect fit. “The simple but strong lines of the timber structure complemented the elegant, high-end building materials  that make it grand and timeless, and allow it to seamlessly blend with the surrounding nature,” shares Thong.

Choosing timber construction was an easy decision for the Trinhs — they had spent several years poring over log and timber magazines to get ideas, and they had attended many showcase home events held by local companies. An Internet search for the perfect floor plan led them to PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes of Meridian, Idaho. 

“In our search for a model with a size ranging from 2,000 to 2,500 square feet, we found the winning floor plan, a mountain log home design called the Caribou,” recalls Thong. “We worked with PrecisionCraft’s architects to modify the structure to a timber frame design using the same floor plan, but raising the entire structure one foot higher.”

The in-house design firm at PrecisionCraft, M.T.N. Design, helped the couple create a home that maximized views and captured the natural aura they craved. “The home was designed as a single level so as not to be too tall and impact the natural landscape,” explains M.T.N. designer Tim Brock. “The Trinhs were looking for a subtle timber frame with clean lines.”

A timeless appeal is the hallmark of the timber frame, which features 11-by-11-inch Douglas fir beams, a king post truss system and free joinery (without visible brackets). A crew from PrecisionCraft erected the frame, while the Trinhs handled most of the construction project management themselves. The building process was smooth, except for a few challenges acquiring permits due to the home’s proximity to a designated National Scenic Area.

The resulting home features a functional floor plan that makes the most of available space with an open flavor that brings nature inside. Featuring three bedrooms and baths plus an airy great room area, the house has more than enough space for the Trinh family.

 “It’s the perfect size for our family — we don’t have to worry about downsizing in the future, yet the open plan and multiple outdoor spaces make it big enough for us to entertain a large group of friends,” says Nathalie.

A number of space-saving tricks help make the home feel larger. “The layout was created with minimal hallways to maximize space,” Brock explains. “The majority of the house is designed around the three main public spaces and their view corridors. The incorporation of outdoor living areas also expands the square footage, as do the open rooms and large windows.”

The taller windows and doors create a feeling of grandeur, and help to bring more of the outside views into the home. The modest size allowed for upgrades in high-end materials. “The smaller square footage and simple structure helped make it affordable for us,” says Thong. “It gave us some room in our budget to select and upgrade some key building materials such as the real stone, wooden floors and the copper roof.”

A number of distinctive features lend a note of grandeur, from the one-of-a-kind blue Australian granite in the kitchen, to the custom plaster walls that impart a warm ambiance. “The decor is a mix between Eastern and Western design, striving for simplicity and a peaceful feel,” shares Thong. “It is rustic and simple, natural and modern.”

The exterior is just as striking, thanks to thick cedar siding, Colorado Telluride stone and a copper roof. An outdoor fire pit is a popular gathering spot, and serves up spectacular views of the mountains beyond.

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 “We wanted the setting to be resort-like,” explains Nathalie. “We wanted the design to be timeless with a natural aura. Our visitors are stunned with the beauty of the house and the grand commanding view.”

For the Trinhs, the feeling of relaxation is now a part of their daily lives, whether they are enjoying an outdoor meal on the patio, hiking local trails, kayaking on the river, or simply gazing at the beautiful wildflowers.

As they sip their morning coffee and gaze at the beauty of the Columbia River and downtown Portland in the distance, the Trinhs know they have built a home that they will enjoy for many years — and many birthdays — to come. 

TIMBER HOME DETAILS:
Square footage: 2,350
Architect: M.T.N Design, 800-729-1320
Timber provider: PrecisionCraft Log & Timber Homes, 800-729-1320

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