It has been a while since we have spoken. My wife and I have finished our sugar shack just in time for boiling in the winter of 2013, and I have attached a photo that we captured this fall of the completed building. I do not know how many completed photos you get, but figured I’d send this your way so you can see how the building turned out. We are very pleased with how the building looks, and appreciate the design work that you have done for us.
I hope all is well with you-
Your expertise has been invaluable. Your insights have proven that we
were far better off tapping into your great resource of expertise than
making the attempt ourselves to design our timber frame addition. It
was such a pleasure to work with someone who could comprehend exactly
what we were aiming for. We hope to get started within a few months!
Hope you can make a trip to La Grange some day to see the finished
T. & R. King
Don is currently designing a second plan for us. This may require some explaining. We hired Don to design a house that I had "drawn" up on the computer over a year ago. He did a fantastic job (details later). After some careful thinking and a lot of visiting NC, we were going to buy a home in NC, and live there while we built our "dream home." We went to NC twice from South Florida where we live now. After two trips we realized we are better off financially just building our home....with a twist. We loved one of the floor plans we saw, so, we hired Don again a second time to turn my drawings into a home for us. He is currently working on that. Don offered to revise our existing plans, but after explaining the layout and sending him my drawings he understood why we were requesting new plans. Both plans were/are SIPs and Timberframe.
I am going to answer as many questions as I can, if you still would like to speak on the phone, just let me know.
There was nothing we did not like about working with Don. We've worked with other designers before, that just didn't listen. It's like they were afraid to say they didn't understand what we were explaining. Don listens. Not only does he listen, he offers suggestions throughout the process. Now I'm not talking just about placement of toilets and walls, I'm talking that and more. He introduced us to SIPs, and different types of exterior coverings and more.
One thing I loved about what Don does is that he uses his web site to work with the client. Drawings are posted on a special page for the client. We then can go online and see the plans. In the past we've called him and discussed the items in question while both of us looked at the plans.
We had one company work with Don on our previous plans, and they said they had no problems working with him. He provided them with all they needed. Don does much more than just "draw" for his clients, he really does have their best interest in mind. Other companies we've work on designs with were in such a hurry to just get the project done, mistakes were made.
Our original plans were sent to Harmony Exchange (in NC), when they got them, they told us there was nothing they needed to do to them in order to provide a quote. Since we have not actually built a home Don has designed (yet! :) ), I cannot indicate about him speaking to contractors or supplies, but Harmony's comments and experience give us a good idea and feeling. Don also sent our Timber and SIP design to several companies and we received quotes extremely fast.
We're in Florida, and working with Don long distance was probably as easy as working with him in the next room. In the past we've had him on speaker phone and we explained the issues and problems we had with past designers. Don professionally explained why and what he does different to avoid those issues.
Based on every experience we've had with Don, I can comfortably recommend him to anyone who wants professional quality and care.
Boynton Beach Florida (Soon to be in NC)
A quick update. I have all local approvals with very minor notes. Your plans seems to fit quite good with local codes in Ontario .... Hope that you will get more clients from here ....
Don designed our timber frame structure from a CAD drawing I had put together that gave the principal dimensions and floor plan (in the manner of a conventionally-framed structure). Don’s task was to provide us with a set of engineered plans and piece/part drawings from which we could build our own hand-cut timber frame ourselves (with some hired labor) from scratch. The plan needed to be structurally sound and aesthetically appealing. I was particularly concerned with the joinery, which needed to be simple to cut yet strong. This was the primary reason I elected not to design the frame myself. Even though I have an engineering master’s degree, I was concerned that I wouldn’t get the joinery right. I needed a professional and Don filled the bill with great competence and poise. He provided comprehensive plan view and elevation drawings of the assembled frame, along with a pdf file that produced an 8½ x 11 print of a 3-view production drawing of every unique part in the structure (of which there are some 180). There are 415 total pieces in the frame, by the time duplicate cuts are made (like rafters, joists, etc).
The home is a 2-story cape of approximately 3400 square feet with shed dormers, lots of porches and a breezeway. all timber.
Don was extremely easy to communicate with, by email and by phone. We did not seek Don’s help to get a bid on the frame, since we had already resolved to do the work ourselves using locally milled timber. Don designed a set of panel plans for the roof and helped us to receive a couple of bids for those, but we subsequently decided to design our own 2x8 foam-filled over-roof structure to cut down the cost. We used 2x6 stud walls (set out 2-inches from the exterior of the frame to leave more of the structure exposed inside) instead of SIPs to give us more flexibility for wiring, plumbing, etc and we felt we could save money there as well.
I am very pleased with the entire experience. This was a custom project with some unusual twists (like the 2x6 walls for in-fill), but Don did a great job with it. He was a pleasure to work with throughout the design, ordering of timbers (he produced a comprehensive list on an Excel spreadsheet), cutting and erecting of the frame. When I had a question, all I had to do was call or send him an email. When I needed more detail to figure out the cuts for the valley rafters (which are pretty intricate), Don quickly responded with additional views from his CAD program. He was always helpful and easy to reach. I highly recommend Don’s services to anyone who wants to design and build a custom timber frame home.
Good luck with your timber frame!
You're a good man! We know these plans will make life a lot easier for everyone. Thanks again.
And be back in touch very soon.
I found your company on the internet this weekend, read all your information and looked at every diagram at least two times. What a great web site! I have learned more from your site than any other source since I started researching many years back. I can honestly say that I will not build anything without the peace of mind I came away with after digesting your information.
We visited your website last night and it was a breath of fresh air. We have ground to a halt on our timber frame plans mainly because we are so disappointed in the architect to whom we were referred.
We appreciate your 3-D design work. We think it would give us a chance to visualize the spaces in the house and make some better decisions about what it should look like.
Al and Kim S.
Wow, that looks soo gooooooddd!
I appreciate your work and thank you for copying me.
I can not tell you how happy seeing this frame has made me.
I have talked with several of the clients and professionals that you sent me as references. I was very impressed with you after our first phone
conversation and what your references had to say confirmed a lot of what my gut told me! We are very excite about working with you and getting the ball rolling. I look forward to receiving the application and any other paperwork that we need to complete to move forward.
Dear Mr. Whippie
Thank you so much for the detail drawings. They will help me complete my drawing on a Skateboard Park Competition. I am a senior at Morris Knolls and I am interested in an architectural degree. Thanks for taking the time in your busy schedule. I will keep you updated on my progress and how I placed in the competition.
Instructor of Drafting
Morris Knolls HS
I wanted to touch base with you. The trip went real well. It
took some time to get stuff going but we have about 35 beams cut. The wood is good and the saw works slick. There was hardly any variability in the cuts. We will be heading back out next Friday to finish cutting. I am anxious to see how the wood looks then.
I am going to review the cut list and may have a couple more questions. So I expect that I will talk with you before I head out again. Thanks again for the help.
It made everything work a lot better, but I will talk with you soon.
Tom K Wisconsin
Keith here, sending a couple photos of our porch. We worked on it weekends only, begining the last weekend in April, finishing (exception-mudding the drywall in bathroom), the end of June.
Unfortunately we didn't take any photos of the finished porch until we were closing the pool down this fall, and the sun was not good for the photos. I am planning to put all of the construction photos on a web site, and will send you the address if you'd like.
Thank you for the plans, and working with me on the details. All of your work was right on!
Keith H. Kansas
Thank you so much for your hard work on our new timber home. You produced a product exceeding our wildest expectations. Because of your drawings and help getting several quotes, we saved thousands of dollars.
We will be spreading the word of your service to others.
Allan C. Colorado
I would like to comment on the work you did for me. My timber frame was cut by my brother and myself, according to your plans. The process was very clear and enjoyable with the details you supplied.
The frame has been raised by the two of us and is incredible, even without the finish touches.
Thank you for your dilligent work and concern for my budget.
Steven W. Vermont
My husband and I would like to thank you for such a fine job on our retirement home. You really made things work very well. I would like to explain how comfortable we felt working with you and how happy we were that you took our conventional home design and turned it into a beautiful timber frame home.
If we can ever return to favour, please let us know.
Karen and Paul V. Washington
You have truely turned our generic house plans into a work of art. Our savings from using your drawings for quotes, have allowed us to enjoy our retirement with much more comfort.
We have friends who will be contacting you soon about their retirement home plans that they found through ideas on the internet.
Thank you Don.......
Gary and Peg K. Scotland