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This Hybrid Home in Maryland is a Natural Beauty

A slew of organic materials combine with a healthy dose of imagination to create a unique heavy-timber hybrid home.

Written by Janice Brewster
Photography by Joseph Hilliard
 
In the sea of coastal-style houses that dot Annapolis, Maryland, Janine and Vince Carran’s mountain-style home stands out. When the niece of the original landowner saw the Carrans’ home, she teared up. “She said it looked like someone had planted a seed and the house just grew up out of the ground,” Vince says.
 
Finding their 2-acre wooded building site in the midst of former tobacco fields was the start of the Carrans’ journey to a hybrid timber frame home. The farm’s 500 acres had been subdivided, but most of the lots are large, giving each residence a secluded feel. “The site seemed perfect for a house like this,” Janine says. “It looks like it was always here.”
 
Still, the site posed some challenges: Steep slopes created a narrow building footprint. Fortunately, the Carrans discovered a plan offered by MossCreek of Knoxville, Tennessee, that would fit their available space. The couple took MossCreek’s “The Wedge” plan and ran with it. “We do custom designs but we also have a library of plans,” explains Allen Halcomb, MossCreek’s president. “Almost all of our customers want to modify the plans to suit their needs.”
 
Vince and Janine liked the plan’s first-floor master suite but removed a third bedroom from the second floor to create space for the vaulted great room. For their walk-out lower level, they planned a bedroom and recreation space with full-size windows and sliding glass doors.
 
With the design nailed down, Vince, who works in commercial property development and management, was ready to be the project’s general contractor, while Janine would choose and source all of the home’s interior and exterior materials, fixtures and finishes.
 
 
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The Carrans were drawn to the natural look of wood timbers, so Janine’s first stop on the quest for their one-of-a-kind home was The Log & Timber Home Show in Pennsylvania. There, she met Bruce Bode and Kevin Perdue of Heavy Timber Truss & Frame based in Elkview, West Virginia. The company provided rough-sawn oak timbers for the great room, kitchen, master suite and stair tower. Timbers on the exterior are cypress. “It’s more naturally insect- and rot-resistant than just about any other species,” Bruce explains.
 
Next, Janine attended one of Heavy Timber Truss & Frame’s workshops to learn more about the process of building a timber style home and really loved the onsite expert guidance the company could provide once construction began.
 
 
In terms of design, to keep their home’s interior bright and fresh, the Carrans limited the use of wood tones in other areas. Painted walls and whitewashed tongue-and-groove ceilings showcase the timber trusses and beams. “We’re glad we chose the lighter ceilings as it really shows off the beams and brightens up the place,” Janine says.
 
For added interest, the couple mixed the plank widths of the wood floors. Some measure 6 inches wide, some as many as 11 inches. They also varied the direction of the planks to define the living, dining and kitchen spaces of the open floor plan.
 
For the kitchen, Janine tapped the talents of Crown Point Cabinetry. Most of the cabinets have a light finish, but she chose a darker wood hue for the island. “There was so much white,” she says, “so I put a stain on that.” Dark granite countertops mimic soapstone — with easier upkeep. “I like the contrast with the creamy cabinets,” she says.
 
 
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MossCreek’s original plan included a wall between the kitchen and the dining room, which the Carrans decided to remove to better showcase the beams outlining the dining room. “We wanted to see the beams but add some separation between the two rooms, so we came up with the idea of a two-sided hutch,” Janine said. She asked Crown Point to give that piece a rusty, barn-red red finish for a bit of “farm charm.”  
 
But for all its inner beauty, one of the couple’s favorite spots in the home is the covered deck that sits up high on the back of the house. “We kept the trees that were close to the house, so it’s like being in a tree house,” Vince says. “It’s so peaceful on a stormy evening. We just sit out there and listen to the rain.” An outdoor fireplace makes the space cozy even when temperatures drop.
 
Janine took great care when plotting special touches, like the custom vanity in the master bath. “I sat many nights with graph paper and drew things to size,” Janine says. She envisioned bathroom cabinetry that looked like furniture to give the new home a sense of age. Mantels for the three fireplaces created “another graph paper night,” Janine says. She drew out the fireplace surrounds to decide on the perfect mantel size — finally realizing that hefty 12-inch mantels would better complement the heavy-timber framework than a dainty 8- or 10-inch size.
 
Now complete, the home is everything the couple hoped for. “It’s my Zen,” Janine says. She shares that peaceful feeling, as she and Vince frequently host gatherings of family and friends. At their first fall get-together, everyone was amazed at the home the couple had created. “They all wanted to stay for the weekend,” he laughs.
 

Home Details

Square footage: 5,303
Designer: MossCreek
Timber Provider: Heavy Timber Truss & Frame