Mark & Stephanie's Open Timber Frame

Mark & Stephanie's Open Timber Frame

Kate Stockman
Feb 25, 2011

Name: Mark & Stephanie
Location: Fortuna, California
Size: 4,400 square feet
Years lived in: 5 — owned

As Mark and Stephanie planned for their wedding back in 2005, they realized their combined six children were going to need a lot more space. They took on the challenge of building their own open floor timber framed home. Despite some hang-ups, they managed to get the project done in record time.

Mark regularly works 60 hours a week, and Stephanie runs a successful business making elaborate wedding cakes. During the building period, they both worked more than they ever thought possible designing and building their home to suit their new family in just 10 months.

Early on, Mark broke his leg. Confined to a recliner, he quickly discovered the thrill of eBay and became somewhat of a "prolific chandelier aficionado". Once he was back on his feet, he and Stephanie searched flea markets, second hand stores, and online to find salvaged, unique pieces to fill their incredibly large space.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: A little bit of rustic, modern, and vintage with a lot of salvage.

Inspiration: Unique salvage and thrift.

Favorite Element: The timber frame itself — the heavy timbers, the mortise and tenon joinery, and the knee bracing (all exposed) performing as both a structural element as well as a decorative element.

Biggest Challenge: SCALE. Trying to fill very large spaces with a limited budget.

What Friends Say: Speechless.

Biggest Embarrassment: This house is freakin' tall! I need a boom truck to get to the pampas grass that is growing in my rain gutter.

Proudest DIY: Building a 4,400 square foot house (plumbing, electrical, everything) in 10 months while working a 60 hour a week job.

Biggest Indulgence: Heat!

Best Advice: Open floor plans and 3 younger children don't always mix. We make it work, but maybe wouldn't do it quite the same again.

Dream Sources: Flea markets, second hand stores, anywhere there's unique finds for a bargain.

Resources of Note:


    • Stained glass transom over door: salvaged from a dismantled house in Philadelphia
    • Iron art deco chandelier: salvaged from a San Francisco/Bay Area theater
    • Bronze sculpture: Floyd Marchi (Stephanie's father).
    • Candelabrum: Bradley and Hubbard.


    • "French Area" - Mostly 18th century Louis XV furnishings mixed with faience figurines and plates (inherited from Stephanie's uncle Jay, an antique dealer in Manhattan)
    • Still life 19th century Italian artist Sylvane Chellini
    • Iron work on the wall (it's a pair of gates): found at the Alameda Flea Mart
    • Tables: made from wood salvaged during the building process
    • Chandeliers: salvaged from a dismantled house in Connecticut
    • Fireplace stones: gathered on the cheap from a local riverbed


    • Mirror: Art Nouveau sculpted copper frame
    • Chandelier: antique French Regency


    • The 2" solid maple countertops were salvaged from a local bakery during their remodel — they were going to just throw them away!
    • Refrigerator/Freezer: looks cool and it was cheap! Just a Frigidaire refrigerator and freezer with the handles placed to match
    • How 'bout that mixer? A 20 quart Univex


    • Iron gate and frames: Alameda Flea Mart finds.
    • Small oak Louis XV table with rouge royale marble top: French 18th century


    • Re-purposed turn of the century Art Deco Buffet


    • French 18th century refectory table
    • Shutters and windows on wall: Alameda Flea Mart
    • Fireplace mantle and surround: salvaged from a dismantled farmhouse in Tennessee
    • Cabinets: all hand built by Mark
    • Bronze sculpture: Floyd Marchi (Stephanie's father)


    • Pool table, circa 1917, was from a local saw mill's "Men's Club". With the table we acquired the club's registration log which is full of very colorful entries from the turn of the century up to the seventies.

Thanks, Mark & Stephanie!

Images: Kate Stockman

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