The Brimfield House
The This Old House crew made a get-away to western Massachusetts, where they raised an expansive post and beam cottage with spectacular mountain views.
For the second project of its eighth season, This Old House decided to get away, tackling an idyllic summer cottage. The project was no vacation, however, as rising land prices both by the sea and in the mountains and new building codes made simply built vacation cottages a thing of the past.
After touring traditional vacation spots on Cape Cod, TOH decided on less expensive Brimfield, Massachusetts, a quaint rural village located 60 miles west of Boston. Homeowner Bob Houde sold most of his 300 acres—an old hog and dairy farm—to help pay off their purchase, but reserved a prime spot with spectacular views of New York and the mountains for his home. After visiting a pre-manufactured post and beam house, Bob decided this timesaving method was the perfect choice for his cottage.
To prepare the land for construction, Bob poured the foundation, regraded the area and brought in a crew to build the first floor deck, which was not included in the package. After the permits were secured and the groundwork completed, the entire framing system was manufactured in two days and shipped to the building site. The lumber was precision cut to insure snag-free construction. Of course, there is no such thing as "snag-free" construction. In perfect weather, it would have taken just five more days to raise the roof. But inclement New England weather paid a call. The blizzard conditions and rain caused the temporary loss of the road to the building site and progress halted.
Despite this temporary roadblock, Bob ended up with a spacious house filled with exposed posts, beams and hangers, topped off with a soaring cathedral ceiling. The galley kitchen opened onto the dining room, which lead into the living room with its two separate sitting areas and a wood burning stove. Two staircases led to lofts that served as bedrooms, one doubling as a den or study. Bob finally had his get-away, for minimal cost and maximum enjoyment.