Everyone seems to be a home aficionado these days, and it’s easy to see why. From entire networks dedicated to buying homes, building homes, decorating homes — you name it — to glossy magazines and websites featuring page after page of inspirational home photography, there’s a lot of information to take in. The result? An ever-increasing number of passionate, knowledgeable and — lucky for us — opinionated experts on the topic. Enter our second-annual Readers’ Choice Awards. Created last year to give a voice to our growing group of loyal readers and online followers, the 2014 awards have reached new heights, with more than 30,000 of you having the opportunity to take part in our online voting. Some surprises surfaced (spiral staircases were a fan favorite), while other tried-and-true trends remained on top (small homes, reclaimed materials) — all of them authentic reflections of the most sought-after designs in the industry. Here you’ll find the information behind the nine winners; the runners-up will can be found here. So sit back, relax and hold on tightly to this issue. Because when it comes to jaw-dropping, inspiring timber-home designs, we have your winners right here. Enjoy. Best Home Under 2,500 Square Feet: Sand Creek Post & Beam
Square Feet: 2,273
Designed to mimic the look of an authentic timber-frame barn, this 2,273-square-foot home looks small but lives large. The bent design is the company's Great Plains Gambrel style, and allows for a massive great room along with two tucked-away bedrooms, a bathroom, a sunroom and an attached garage. Custom designed for clients of Sand Creek Post & Beam, the home has since been modified into a standard stock plan due to its popularity.
Best Home Over 2,500 Square Feet: British Columbia Timberframe Co.
Rusticity meets sophistication in this timber home by British Columbia Timberframe
. Visually impressive without feeling overwhelming, the home combines down-to-earth materials in the form of metal roofing, simple window styles and warm wood hues throughout. Pair these surfaces with plenty of interior space, top-of-the-line amenities and unique design features (we love the porte-chochere that welcomes you to the home) and you have a house that feels cozy and inviting while still being able to host a crowd comfortably.
Best Great Room: Sand Creek Post & Beam
In this spectacular two-story home, the great room is the star of the show, boasting a three-sided fireplace made from a combination of stone and metal. The home's staircase is located in the space (you can see it tucked alongside the hearth), leading up to a 40-by-40-foot loft area. The beautiful Ponderosa Pine frame is showcased in the open floor plan, while working to visually separate the room's living, dining and kitchen areas. Best Kitchen: Blue Ridge Timberwrights
To create a more human-sized aesthetic in this warm and welcoming kitchen, the design team at Blue Ridge Timberwrights
opted for lower ceilings — a design detail that brings instant comfort to the space. Another interesting element: the floating, glass-front cabinetry that works to section off the kitchen from the rest of the open plan. The combination of wood cabinets, colored granite countertops, dark cherry flooring, Aspen walls and a Douglas firt timber frame brings depth and visual contrast to the space. Best Outdoor Space: Colorado Timberframe
Made from a combination of Douglas fir beams and Ipe decking and railings, this spacious wraparound porch extends around 70 percent of the home's exterior. The depth of the porch also ranges from 10 to 15 feet (depending on the area), drastically increasing the home's usable living space. Best Flooring: Appalachian Antique Hardwoods
Reclaimed oak makes an appearance in this rustic flooring from Appalachian Antique Hardwoods. Salvaged from old barns, the wood comes with color variations, circular saw marks and nail holes — all adding to the floor's one-of-a-kind quality. Best Hardware: Colorado Timberframe
Custom made onsite by the Colorado Timberframe
team, this eye-catching entry door is made from reclaimed white oak salvaged from Pennsylvania. The unique hardware (window, lock, door handle) was crafted from metal pieces discovered at a local flea market. Best Stairway: Timbercraft
A unique choice for a timber-frame entryway, this wide spiral staircase gives the illusion that it's wrapped around a tree trunk. The mix of wood and metal in the stairway's design creates a rustic-yet-sleek appearance, and pairs perfectly with the wooden elements in the foyer, as well as the understated furnishings and clean drywall. Best Window Design: Texas Timber Frames
Located alongside beautiful Ivie Lake in Texas, this stunning timber home boasts one particularly show-stopping feature: the spectacular soaring windows. Design to usher in loads of natural light to the wide-open floor plan, the windows are framed with distressed oak timbers and topped off with an eye-catching oak ceiling. Not to mention they also showcase the beautiful landscape, blurring the lines between the home's interior and exterior spaces.