Head north on State Route 38 in central Ohio towards Marysville, and you’ll pass fields of corn and soybeans that stretch to the horizon, rows of charming brick storefronts that look like a movie set and a sign that reads, “Marysville: Where the grass is always greener.”
Down the road, tucked into a clearing between one of those corn fields and a thicket of shag-bark hickory, a long driveway leads to Bill and Monica Verhoffs’ home. If a sign marked their entrance, it would read: “Verhoffs: Where the living is easy.”
If you’re one of the lucky ones invited to the couple’s 4,800-square-foot timber retreat, the purpose of your visit is clear from the moment you arrive: relaxation. The result of a daring design decision, timbers span over a spacious patio situated in the front of the home, rather than the rear. An intentional arrangement of chairs gathered around a stone fireplace
practically begs you to linger. Here, lounging and long conversations aren’t just encouraged — they’re required.
“When you make that final turn around the driveway, you see this large, welcoming front patio, and instantly the house speaks to you,” Bill says. “It’s like the welcome mat that says, ‘rest and relax.’”
And, that’s exactly what the couple was craving when they decided to build the custom home. After raising their family in the suburbs, the couple longed for a slower pace and a home surrounded by water, sun, sky and wildlife.
They began searching for a property and struck gold when they discovered a site with the infrastructure already complete. They came in second on the bid, but luck struck again when that deal fell through. They snapped up the property and agreed that nothing but a timber frame
would do. “We’re surrounded by trees, so building a home that feels like it’s part of the woods was really important to us,” explains Bill.
As the Verhoffs researched timber frame companies, their fortuitous circumstances continued: “While reading through the notes after closing, we realized the owner was going to build a timber home and use a local company, Oakbridge Timber Framing,
” Bill says. “A timber home on the property was meant to be.”
Following fate’s lead, the couple teamed up with Oakbridge and, with a vision in place, a home made for gathering and recharging emerged. The heart of the house is an open concept living area that encourages both conversation and movement. The design also includes a basement recreation room, children’s play loft, a master en suite and three guest bedrooms. In each space, there is “a design and a flow that makes you anxious to see what’s ahead,” says Johnny Miller, co-founder of Oakbridge.
There is also an urge to linger, probably to dwell on the details. Throughout three floors, classic timber lodge elements abound, “With a little Craftsman and Prairie style mixed in,” says Johnny. Besides the home’s white oak frame, wood details include eastern white pine tongue-and-groove, hammerbeam trusses with acorn embellishments (handmade by Johnny’s father) and extra-wide trim on the windows and doors.
But not all the elements are rustic. Thanks to modern finishes and furnishings, the atmosphere is timber-lodge-meets-casual-chic-hotel. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the octagonal room. A triumph of good design, the serene space catches both the sunsets and sunrises and offers views to the riverbed, Zen garden and frequent wildlife sightings. “When you walk through the kitchen down the short hallway to the octagonal room, you just feel yourself relax,” Bill says. “It is palpable. You’re in touch with nature. And it’s peaceful, quiet and relaxing — everything we wanted our home to be.”
TIMBER FRAME DETAILS:
Square footage: 4800
Tour this Ohio Timber-Frame Retirement Retreat
The couple juxtaposed the rustic timber interiors with contemporary finishes and furnishings. Dark wood floors flow from the kitchen, with its gray cabinets and granite countertops, to the living area where neutral furnishings and rich layers of texture add interest.