A little house on a hill reveals the true beauty of “less is more.”
By Suzanna Logan | Photos by Roger Wade | Styling by Debra Grahl
The scene from Beau and Martha Langfitt’s front porch is like something from a novel. Fields of green sway in the breeze, stretching as far as the eye can see. Livestock wander in and out of view under endless blue skies. In the center of this idyllic setting is a modest house that appears every bit at ease in its surroundings as the deer that leisurely wander its grounds.
Above the front door of this little home is a carved sign. It bears the instructions that guided the Langfitts in the creation of their idyllic refuge: “Be still and know that I am God.”
“This whole place echoes that,” explains Martha. “It’s a place to go off the beaten path and take in the beauty of all creation.” The couple’s guiding philosophy, simple but profound, influenced the home’s design and its timber frame, in particular. “Their decision to build a smaller house was partially maintenance and budget driven, but it was also a result of their personal style,” explains Johnny Miller of OakBridge Timber Framing
. “They chose a simple, straight-lines type of structure.” The open, purlin-style white oak frame is accented by hand-hewn timbers and tongue-and-groove white oak roof boards. The couple opted for straight braces over OakBridge’s usual curved ones to keep things “simple but strong,” says Johnny. The Langfitts bent towards the simplistic stems from their years performing post-construction cleanup for mega-sized log and timber frame homes in Colorado. “We gleaned a lot of our ideas from being in those homes,” says Martha. An abundance of windows, radiant heating, geothermal systems and acid-stained concrete floors were a few of the features that won them over. But the sprawling lodges didn’t convince them that bigger is necessarily better. So when it came time for them to build their own forever getaway, they opted for a 2,100-square-foot floor plan with open living areas, an office, a master suite and an additional bath. A partial-loft space, open to the living area below, serves as a media room. Aside from the loft, the home is fully handicap accessible.
“We have a sidewalk on a slab around the home, and all of the spaces are wheelchair-friendly, with wide doorways and pocket doors.” In keeping with the rest of the design, the home’s furnishings are minimal. There are no pictures or artwork on the walls, and of the dozens of windows, there is only a single curtain. The simplicity is purposeful. “We like everything open, plain and simple so you get to see the beauty of the few things you do have,” Beau says. “We tried to keep things at a minimum, so the frame itself would be able to speak. When people walk in, the first thing they do is look up; the timber frame grabs them right away.”
When guests aren’t taking in the beauty of the timber frame, they’re undoubtedly gazing at the swaying hayfields — and views — surrounding the home. “We’re high on a hill with no trees and 360-degree views,” says Beau, who specifically requested windows in every area of the house, including clerestory windows in the gable end, to capture the views. The picturesque setting also heavily influenced the home’s exterior design. Hardiplank board-and-batten siding with shake-style accents, PVC window trim and a standing seam metal roof are all in keeping with the home’s low-maintenance, keep-it-simple scheme.
“We didn’t want to take away from the natural surroundings,” explains Martha. “There is this amazing outside life going on around us, and when you look at the home, it fits right in with the farms.” Beau agrees, adding, “We call it our little haven in the hayfield; it’s a place to be still, soak in the tranquility and view creation.”
Square Footage: 2,100 Designer; timber provider: OakBridge Timber Framing