Join Chambers Architects for a Timber Frame Barn Raising

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Antique log home under restoration at Heritage Barns, Waco, Texas, being used in new design for a Cutting Horse Ranch near Weatherford in Parker County, TX

In early American rural life, communities raised barns for each other because many hands were required for these large, yet necessary structures. In areas that were sparsely settled or on the edge of the frontier, it was not possible to hire carpenters or other tradesmen. Texas Architect, Steve Chambers, will photograph his newest ranch project in stages and provide blog readers with updates on the erection of these antique structures, creating a virtual barn raising.

Barn raisings formed a social framework of cooperative interdependence. Rural communities often shared bonds going back several generations, trading with each other, buying and selling land, sharing labor, seed, cattle, canned foods and other homemade goods. They celebrated together, cities being too far away to visit by horse and wagon. Despite our American tradition of independence, self-sufficiency, barn raisings were necessary for the survival of most settlements.

The Parker County Cutting Horse Ranch project integrates two antique log homes and a timber frame Scottish barn from the Revolutionary War era into a more modern ranch home. Of the many ways to design a ranch home, recycling pre-Industrial age historic structures is one way to capture the authenticity, character, and hand-of-the-craftsman aesthetic so apparent in work of this period.

Assembly of two antique log homes under restoration

Antique carpenter’s slick, used to shape mortice and tenon connections for timber frame structures at Heritage Barns

In gallery below: the log homes are in various stages of reconstruction onsite at Heritage Barns; the barn timbers showing “marriage marks” in order to fit the correct timbers together; Michael Taylor of English Heritage Homes, project contractor, discusses the adjustments with Kevin Durkin of Heritage Barns that need to be made to the antique structures in order to integrate them into the modern design of the ranch; mules and draft horses are still used at Homestead Heritage to work their fields. Drawings for the design of this entire project, as well as photos documenting the progress of the ranch construction, may be found at this link: