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High-end timber frame cottages and houses

In addition to its log homes, Harkins is also renowned for its timber frame houses, also commonly called lumber structures. A timber frame house is built with a construction technique that uses squared beams varying in size. These beams help create the structure of the house or add decorative elements.


Over the years, we’ve built several timber frame house projects. Each project features a unique style.

Get inspired by a few
of these projects.

The beauty of this technique is that the beams and posts are visible, adding character and a rustic or even contemporary look to a house or cottage, all while making the structure stronger and more solid. 

Timber is an extremely popular choice due to its strength and durability. There are two ways to use a timber frame in a house: structural or decorative.

If you want to build a house with a timber frame structure, our team can help you throughout the entire process, from design to installation. If you already have a plan, we can also provide you with services tailored to your needs. 

A lot of people add some style or value to their house or cottage that’s already built by using lumber in a decorative manner. Decorative beams can be added to the existing structure. They won’t support the house, but they will definitely accentuate its beauty by adding its own unique character.

Trust the wood experts at Harkins for your timber frame house.


There are several creative ways to use timber. Here are a couple ideas that can be used in all types of houses.


If you have a house with a high cathedral ceiling, you could design a timber frame truss structure that would add a lot of character to the room. In a room with a flat ceiling, we could fasten solid wood beams, adding coziness to the space.


Whether the structure is already complete or in progress, it’s always possible to add elements of traditional carpentry to embellish the exterior of a house or cottage. Maybe it can be an entryway structure, a veranda, or even decorative trusses in the gables? A few decorative wood beams can make a world of difference.


Timber can also be used to build a beautiful and authentically rustic staircase, which will quite literally become the centerpiece of the house, especially if the staircase is located in an open space. A staircase like this will increase the value of a house.



The lumber we use comes from Eastern White Pine, a type of wood found in the Laurentians, as well as Douglas Fir, which is known for its structural strength. 

It should be noted that wood is the best ecological material as it captures and traps CO2. Also, the manufacture of wood requires less energy than other construction materials. And, let’s not forget that wood is the only material that comes a renewable resource, trees.


An ancient technique that we’ve mastered for quite some time

Did you know that this construction technique used in Europe for quite some time dates back to the Middle Ages? Numerous houses, chateaus, inns, and churches in Europe, dating back hundreds of years, were built using this technique, and they’re still standing today.

Timber frame houses were also built here in North America hundreds of years ago. But, when light-frame, 2x6 lumber constructions were introduced in the 19th century, the timber frame technique slowly disappeared because the newer techniques were faster and cheaper. That said, timber frame houses have made a comeback in the last 50 years, and they’re continuing to grow in popularity. These features give a unique character to the structure and aesthetics of a house. Wood lasts through the ages and doesn’t go out of style.

Each timber structure requires a “beam to beam” connection. There are several ways to meet these needs, whether they are structural or decorative. Here are the most common ones:

Mortise and tenon

This joint technique has been used for centuries. The mortise and tenon joint allows the tenon (male) to be fitted into the mortise (female). This type of joint is bound together by wooden dowels. For a long while, this was the only type of joint available

Despite other options being available, some people ask that we use this more traditional joint technique. However, it should be noted that this joint system can restrict us in terms of engineering.

Concealed joint system

Over the past years, several new types of concealed joint systems have appeared on the market, and they have become the most common assembly option. These systems are designed to connect the beams of the structural frame without showing anything. In collaboration with the project engineer, Harkin’s experts will propose different options depending on the type of structure desired.

For standard joints, we use structural screws specifically designed for timber frame assembly. The screws used are Canadian engineering certified.

Exposed core and steel plate

Core plates consist of a steel insert in the beams that is fastened with exposed steel bolts or steel studs. This option minimizes the visual appearance of the steel joints.  

In some cases, clients want to use exposed steel plates to give the frame a distinctive look. These plates can be painted in a variety of colors, but black is the most common option.

There are numerous types of finishes available for posts and beams. Here are the main types of finishes Harkins uses:

  • Flat sanded finish: This is the most popular finish as it suits all types of structures.
  • Resaw finish: This rougher finish is made with a saw so that the final measurements are exact on all four sides. This finish is often used for exterior structures as the stain penetrates better into the wood.
  • Handshaved finish: This finish gives a more antique look, as if the beam or post had been crafted by hand.


Once the client has chosen a finish, they can choose a stain from a wide variety of shades. We’ll apply the stain to protect the wood.  


To build a timber frame house or cottage, we usually follow five main steps with our clients. Here’s a summary of each step:


Together we’ll develop a preliminary plan based on your ideas and needs. A member of our team will discuss with you and also share their own ideas based on their experience and creativity.


Working from the preliminary plan, we’ll make an initial estimate of the costs to complete the construction or renovation project, allowing you to make a decision on the next step.


If you decide to move forward with Harkins for your project, our architectural team can draw up a detailed and precise plan of the timber frame house or cottage construction project.


Using this plan, we’ll send you a final quote and a contract to sign and return to us.


Here are the payment terms:
50% of the amount upon signing the contract
50% of the amount once the timber frame is complete and ready for delivery


For a top-quality timber frame house or cottage, Harkins is the way to go. With its expertise and pristine industry reputation, the Harkins team can offer you support and assistance all through your timber frame construction project, making sure to meet your needs down to the smallest detail. 


Thanks to the expertise of a team dedicated exclusively to carpentry, you can enjoy a carefully designed and conceived peaceful haven that blends perfectly with nature. Harkins is an industry leader with numerous timber frame construction and renovation projects under its belt as well as many satisfied clients.

For more information about the preliminary steps regarding design and delivery, check out our Frequently asked questions (FAQ)


Ready to embark on a timber frame cottage or house project? Schedule an appointment with a member of our team today.


A frame can be installed in many different places in a house or cottage. It can be part of the exterior structure or an interior decoration added to a cathedral ceiling.

A timber frame can be used decoratively or structurally. In both cases, posts and beams are installed to give a house or cottage a unique style.

We offer different types of finishes for our timber frames: rough, resaw, planed, flat sanded, or hand shaved. If needed, upon request, we can also offer other types of finishes.

We recommend applying a coat of stain in the workshop, which will ensure that the wood is in good condition before and during installation. For the second coat, it should be done once the installation of the timber frame is complete. 

We’re located in the Laurentians, in Quebec, and we can deliver anywhere in the world.  However, shipping costs and exportation logistics must be considered. In the past, we’ve delivered to the United States, the Middle East, and Morocco. Exportation logistics must be handled by the buyer.

Yes, we offer an installation service. We have a team specialized in installation that has the necessary competency cards. 

Yes, you can install the frame yourself. Make sure you have the expertise to accomplish such a task. Keep in mind that lumber is very heavy and that you’ll need lifting equipment.

Each project is unique and we would need to analyze your project before providing a price. We can give you an idea of how much to budget based on previous projects, but we’ll need your plans to provide a more accurate price.

Since each project is unique, we don’t sell premade plans. Each project is tailored to the property, sun orientation, and a host of other factors. However, we do have an album of plans that can be used for inspiration for creating your own custom plan with our architectural team. Contact us to get a copy.

First off, your architectural plans need to be completed. You can provide us with your plans or have them prepared by our architectural team.  

Then, we can prepare a quote. You can expect to wait between 2 and 4 weeks for a quote.  

Once the quote is approved, you should expect a delay between 6 and 14 weeks. These delays vary according to demand. We suggest that you place your order in advance to make sure you get it when you want it. 

Once the order is approved, 3D production plans will be sent to you for final approval.  

We primarily use eastern white pine. In addition to it growing in our region’s forests, white pine is a soft-grained, light-coloured wood that can be stained to the colour of your choice. It’s one of the most durable wood species and keeps joints in good condition longer. 

We also use Douglas fir, an excellent option from a structural perspective.

We also work with glue-laminate (SPF & Douglas). This type of wood can produce various lengths and dimensions. It doesn’t shrink since it’s kiln dried.