Blog > Mike's Top 10 Coolest Timber Frames > Top Ten Coolest Timber Frames by VTW (according to Mike)–#6

Top Ten Coolest Timber Frames by VTW (according to Mike)–#6

By Mike McLaine on February 27, 2015

It is the end of another brutally cold New England week, and along with the massive amount of snow we’ve had and the frozen seas off of Nantucket I have been glad that I am in the office not too far from the pellet stove.

Browsing through our library of images of our completed projects I was reminded of the Bethlehem Monastery of Poor Clares project in Barhamsville, VA.  This was such a cool project that it had to go into my top ten list as the sixth coolest timber frame Vermont Timber Works has built. Check out the rest of The Top 10 Coolest Timber Frames (According To Me) here!

There is a poster in our display room of this image, which is such an inspirational space:

Nun's Choir

The Nun’s Choir in the Monastery

Douglas fir was a good choice because of the warmth of the grain, and because of its strength for the modified hammer beam trusses.


Trans B Bethlehem Monastery

Exterior picture of Monastery

We also built the timber frame porch that wraps around their garden, sort of a cloistered effect.

Monastery at dusk

Lights on inside Monastery

You can see how the shed roof framing buttresses the center section of the choir in the image above.

Timber frame porch

Post and Beam porch

We also built the timber frame porch on the exterior of the building.

Packages for Monastery

Timbers for Monastery cut

We label all of our pieces after we fabricate the joinery, which makes assembly on site a breeze.

Preassembled timber bents

Bents preassembled at jobsite

The first few days on site we build all of the bents and trusses on the ground before the crane comes in to set the frame.

Timbers raised

Raised frame

Once we are done with the raising we brace everything so that the frame is true and plumb.

Ceiling in refectory

Coffered Ceiling

We didn’t do anything in the refectory, but I love coffered ceilings.  Just an image I wanted to share…

Chapel Interior

Chapel Interior

I love how the windows let in the natural light, which shows off the beauty of the wood.

Chapel at Bethlehem Monastery

Bethlehem Chapel

Sanctuary at Monastery

Monastery Sanctuary

The natural materials present in this construction–wood and stone–are symbols of the simplicity of this particular order of nuns, who follow the Franciscan tradition.

Bethlehem Monastery Choir

Choir for Bethlehem Monastery

Some images speak for themselves, which I believe this image of the sacred space certainly does.

Thank you for stopping by our timber framers’ blog! If you like this timber frame, or have any timber work questions, we invite you to get in contact, ask an expert, or share your thoughts in the comment section below!

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