Lakeside Family Hosts Old-fashioned “Barn Raising”

Visitors are invited to experience the romance and camaraderie of an old-fashioned “barn raising” Saturday and Sunday, January 23-24, in the Chautauqua community of Lakeside, Ohio. Homeowners Frank and Brenda Baker will lead a crew of family and friends in raising the timber frame of their new cottage by hand, and look forward to a celebratory event with plenty of guests.

“People have always enjoyed the fellowship of coming together to build something,” Frank Baker, founder of Riverbend Timber Framing, said.  “I think it’s in our DNA.”

Timber framing is a centuries-old building method prized for its sturdiness, longevity and beauty.  The massive timber “bones” of the cottage will be assembled like a puzzle at the site, joined with wooden pegs, then lifted into place by the volunteer crew.

“All the joinery is pre-cut, and it’s really neat to see how the pieces fit together,” Baker said.  “It’s a fascinating process, and you don’t get a chance to see it too often.”

The raising will take place at 174 Vine Street in Lakeside, with work planned to begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. For maps and directions visit For more information contact Riverbend Timber Framing at 888-486-2363.

Case Study: Ultra-Efficient ‘Hybrid Home’ Utilizes High-Performance Building Techniques

Here is a great recent article from Eco Home Magazine about a recently built Ultra-Efficient Hybrid Home. Give the article a read:

Here is a quick excerpt from the article:

Utilizing several high-performance building techniques designed to make it ultra insulated and efficient, a 4,200-square-foot home in rural Pennsylvania was constructed using a systems-built approach for its three separate living areas.

The LEED-H Silver home in Kennett Square, Pa., features a Superior Walls’  Xi insulated precast concrete foundation, timber framing, and structural insulated panels (SIPs). It boasts a HERS rating of 51, 34 points below the Energy Star target threshold.

Let us know what you think in the comments section!

Lakeside Green Cottage

Last June our 100 year old seasonal cottage in Lakeside, Ohio took a direct hit from a 100 year old maple tree during a storm that came across Lake Erie. We loved the funky old cottage but we knew from the outset that repair versus replacement would be the major decision in front of us. After months of debate, evaluation, structural analysis, historical study and consultation with experts and some not so experts, we finally decided that the Greenest thing we could do was salvage what we could from the old cottage and build a new, state of the art Green Cottage. Tearing down the funky but appealing old structure and the history that would go with it was a tough decision. We also knew that we may have difficulty getting the Lakeside community to accept the idea of tearing down one of its treasured architectural structures. The entire Lakeside Community is on the National Historic register.
 It initially seemed that the Greenest thing to do was to repair the old cottage. We had already been planning to repair it and spruce it up, but the tree forced us into action. But how do you economically and esthetically repair something that had no real foundation, no level or square floors or walls, would not meet any current building code, had antiquated cobbled wiring and plumbing, a compromised fireplace and chimney (the only heat source), no insulation or subfloors, inoperable and deteriorating old windows, multiple broken structural members, hidden areas of rot, and a roof way past it’s prime. As we considered all the options, repairing the cottage was looking more like the classic money pit.
So we decided to rebuild. Once that decision was made, we were excited at the opportunity to build what would be a much better cottage and would also be a state of the art Green Cottage. For 30 years we have been advising and supplying sustainable design and materials to clients. Now we had an opportunity to incorporate all we have learned into our cottage. With all the experience and the resources available, that should be easy, right? If only that were the case.
I’ve heard it estimated that there are over 30,000 decisions to be made in the construction of the average home. Add in the considerations to make that home truly green, the complexity grows immensely even for folks like us who have had experience with Green and sustainability thinking.
In an effort to assist those hoping to build their own Sustainable Green Home, we will chronicle the path of how we have made our Green choices, developed Green specifications and rationalized decisions where Green was more like Gray. We’ll be keeping a log here on Greenspeak as the project progresses. Follow this link for a general overview of the project and follow Frank’s Green Speak for updates on the process.