Hear from our clients...
We are writing to tell you how much we love our Zirnhelt Timber Frame home with peek-a-boo views of Horsefly Lake, BC. For us novice homebuilders, working with the Zirnhelt team was a continuous learning experience. Their knowledge, professionalism, wit, and always-appropriate sense of humour helped to keep us grounded throughout the project.
Our journey began with the removal from our property of BC Hydro-designated pine beetle kill trees that threatened hydro lines. A logical choice, then, for our timber frame infill walls were pine beetle kill timbers. Very early in the building process, we were excited to be able to view our house in pieces at the Zirnhelt Big Lake mill. Sam Zirnhelt arranged for us to view other Zirnhelt-built homes, which often helped us in our decision-making process. For example, did we want scrolling on our knee braces – if so, what design?
Prior to and throughout the project, our heads were full from reading books and articles about sustainable building, building green, lowering our carbon footprint, and being ecoholics. Damon Zirnhelt offered us the opportunity to learn more about sustainable building practices as our house was built while Damon was enrolled in BCIT’s Sustainable Building Advisor Program. Our building project was the subject of his team’s final project. We received lots of innovative, location-specific recommendations about design, orientation, heating and ventilation, lighting, insulation, and finishes from the class and the Zirnhelt team.
We were fortunate to have two architects work on our design. Initially David Eaton (David Eaton Architect Inc., Vancouver, BC) helped us distinguish our wants from needs. Then Phil Harrison (Harrison Design, Williams Lake, BC) worked with us and the Zirnhelts to ensure a sustainable design. Another Zirnhelt, Robin, from Camrose, AB, engineered the timber frame details.
Throughout our project the Zirnhelt team demonstrated impeccable attention to detail, and were always responsive to our concerns and questions. If Sam wasn’t immediately available, he was always diligent about getting back to us by phone or email. We learned that the coordination of trades is always a challenge, and the Zirnhelt team handled this challenge with diplomacy and tact.
Our project from excavation, through pouring of our insulated concrete forms (ICFs), to timber frame erection took approximately one-and-a-half months. We were very pleased to be able to work for/with our finishing carpenters Jimmy and Jens. For seven months they professionally guided us in the techniques and safe building practices to finish our home to a high quality standard. They made knowledgeable, thoughtful suggestions that made our timber frame house a home unique to us. Their commitment to excellence is obvious in our beautifully handcrafted home.
Nancy and Jim Miller, owners of Miller's Horsefly Home
We wanted to extend our appreciation and thanks for your involvement in helping us build our Dream Home on Harrison Lake.
The experience with you and your team was exceptional in every way. What helped us was your willingness to work with us right from the Concept Stage, through to Design, Engineering, Fabrication, Frame Installation, Roofing System, Fill In, and passed Lock Up. You were flexible in scope, and willing to accommodate our timeframe and our budget. You made us aware of costs as we went along in order to keep within our limits. It was helpful that Jimmy and Yens had experience in all facets of building construction (Foundation, Framing, Electrical, Plumbing, etc). They coached us in making informed decisions that has paid off as we continue with the inside construction. From our point of view their comprehensive knowledge of Building Construction was invaluable.
Before we began the work on site we shared three objectives: the project needed to be Safe, it needed to be Productive, and it needed to be Fun!
Stellar on ALL counts! Thank You!
Debbie and Rob Robinson, owners of Harrison Lake Retreat
Upgrading a small summer lakeside cabin, which I built in the 1970’s, to a year round home was a retirement dream. The challenge was to preserve the charm of the small cabin and integrate it with the modern conveniences of a new home. Also I wanted to create a unique private space as a writing area for my wife Donna. Working closely with Zirnhelt’s skilled and dedicated craftsmen during the design, construction, and detailed finishing phases was a positive experience.
Zirnhelt Timber Frames helped us achieve the dream. Sam Zirnhelt came up with the basic conceptual design of a separate two story post and beam structure to be incorporated with the updated original cabin. The upper floor of the new area became Donna’s writing studio.
We installed a solar system with a back up propane generator as we are off the grid. Also we installed a propane boiler, which provides hot water on demand and heat to a modified floor heating system which a backup to the primary heat provided by a traditional wood cook stove in the original cabin area and a freestanding fireplace in the new structure.
The addition of Satellite HD TV and internet, with antenna assist cell phone, keeps us in touch with the outside world.
The end result is a unique year round lakeside home that we are extremely proud of.
Tom and Donna Milner, owners of Rimrock Retreat