McMinnville Homebuilder Teaming up with National Firm

May 31, 2018

Our Oregon timber frame homes partnership with Woodhouse was announced this month in The Daily Journal of Commerce.

McMinnville-based contractor Winsome Construction announced Tuesday it will work with Woodhouse, one of the leading timber-frame manufacturers in the United States, to build timber-frame homes in Oregon.

Winsome handles both residential and commercial construction, including custom designs. For its part, Woodhouse has provided timber-frame packages and design services for homes since 1979.

Now, the two companies are joining forces to meld the old with the new. It’s a big expansion for Winsome, which will now be building custom homes using Woodhouse designs and technology.

“We found a real alignment with the two companies,” said Wendy Stassens, one of three Winsome Construction partners and co-owners.  “There just seemed to be a real match there.”

Woodhouse has a track record of working with other contractors through its independent selling partner program.  In this way, the firm is able to offer its designs, prefabricated frames and more through a nationwide network of partners.

“Woodhouse has always had a strong belief and vision to partner with successful custom homebuilders,” said Craig Johnson, the firm’s vice president of sales and marketing.  “Not only is Oregon one of the top markets for timber-frame homes, but (partner Shan Stassens) and the team at Winsome Construction are one of the top builders in the area.”

Timber-frame construction is a traditional method featuring heavy wood beams and intricate joinery rather than slender lumber.  Walls are almost always positioned outside of timber frames, leaving large support timbers exposed for a striking visual effect.

“It’s an ancient form of carpentry that they’ve basically been able to modernize,” said Shan Stassens, who has worked as a licensed commercial and residential contractor in Oregon since 1990.

The joinery also is different. Instead of closely spaced lumber that is butt-joined and nailed together, the custom timber frame uses large timbers that are squared off and spaced farther apart.  These heavy timbers are carefully fitted and joined together with mortises and tenons, and then secured with wooden pegs.

Because of heavy timbers’ supporting strength, timber-framed homes don’t require interior load-bearing walls. This creates design opportunities and durability not possible with other construction methods.

One of those opportunities is an expanded use of prefabrication.

“Packages are designed through CAD systems,” Shan Stassens said. “The machine does the vast majority of the milling.  You do need craftsmen to clean it up with chisels and do the finishes on it, but the majority of it is done with a machine now.”

Woodhouse has decades of experience building this way, he added.  Further, the company’s headquarters in Mansfield, Pennsylvania, is located adjacent to a manufacturer of polyurethane structural insulating panels (SIP). The technology is used in conjunction with timber-framed buildings.

“They’ve been working hand in hand for 40 years on a system where the timber frames are built and (contractors follow) with the structural panels,” he said.

The time savings are notable.  Installation of framing and insulating panels on a new home built this way can take as little as two weeks for smaller designs.

“We’re a general contractor, we build homes, and the timber-frame component is just one part of the house,” Shan Stassens said. “But we’re integrating everything into this assembly, from structural to mechanical and aesthetics, and I feel that’s something that’s unique.”

Article by Josh Kulla, “McMinnville homebuilder to work with national firm,” The Daily Journal of Commerce – May 11, 2018

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