The Making of Cedar Pond Pavilion
By Iris Gestram, Executive Director, Willowsford Conservancy
One-of-a-kind structures, carefully crafted from local materials, contribute to the special quality of the Willowsford community. Cedar Pond Pavilion, Willowsford Conservancy’s new education and event site, adds to the lineup with a rustic post-and-beam pavilion handcrafted in Tennessee by Homestead Timber Frames (HTF), a family-owned timber frame maker using classic methods of joining timbers that date as far back as the 1200s.
Working with the talented craftsmen at HTF, from the creative design, to the selection of materials, and the making of each post and joint until – lastly – the pavilion is assembled at our chosen site, is a unique and instructive experience.
After initial conversations with HTF, we were confident to have found a quality-minded team that could bring our ideas to life. Hearing about HTF’s skilled craftsmen and designers, and the pride and care they take in realizing each client’s vision, we felt excited to work with not just a business, but with a group of professionals who truly cared about the project, and about Willowsford.
Named after Cedar Pond in The Greens village, the three-season pavilion and spacious deck will be nestled in the woods, trail-side, overlooking the scenic pond. Befitting the rustic, wooded location, we envisioned a well-crafted, comfortable structure that would echo its tranquil setting.
Early into the project, Bruce and Cyndy Gardner, co-owners of Homestead Timber Frames, began sharing pictures and information about the progress of “our pavilion”, and about the joiners, engineers and timber suppliers involved in creating it.
In mid-July, they traveled and handpicked eastern red cedar logs, while completing the renderings for our project. Bruce’s fascination with history and dendrochronology (the study of data from tree ring growth) emerged when he presented us with a hand-made tree calendar using a slice of cedar post from our project. By Bruce’s count, the post was a tree seedling some 125 years ago, having witnessed many events in American history now documented on the dated tree slice. Come and see it when the Pavilion opens this summer!
From HTF, we learned about the builder’s thoughts behind selecting a particular tree for a post, and about different joint designs, their purpose and history. Most of all, we treasured the conversations along the way—hearing how awesome it was to watch the solar eclipse in Tennessee; learning about sassafras ice cream; and just sensing the pride and care that went into our project.
Asking Bruce and Cyndy about Homestead Timber Frames, they shared: “We are a company of folks who value our craft, our work life, and the quality of the timber frames we design and build. Our work is mentally and physically stimulating, and each project is different. We have built timber frames to be the beautiful bones for large homes, a bank, farmers markets, and playground shelters. We have also built timber frame jewels small enough to serve as porches, bus shelters, and trailhead kiosks. For us, a successful project is measured in ways beyond the bottom line. Those measuring sticks include beauty and balance, fitness for its intended purpose, longevity, responsible resource use, and a positive answer to the question, “Will our client wish to break bread with us at project’s end?
Cyndy and Bruce founded their initial company in the late 1980s. “Our business beginnings in timber framing were entirely accidental. We raised our first frame as our home on our farm and had visitors within a day or two. The first couple to arrive down our country lane parked their bicycles and sauntered up to have a look. ‘Mark and Susan’ declared they were building a home soon, and wanted to know what it cost. I replied, ‘A timber frame. I don’t know what it cost. How much money do you have?’ Mark told me the budget for their home, which I felt was sufficient, and we were off to the races—the classic accidental start-up.
Today, Cyndy manages the day-to-day operations and serves as inspirational designer. I crunch numbers and cheerlead, helping to work out technical problems. While continuing to use classic methods of joining timbers, we now use engineering software to solve load requirements and substantiate how we join wood together. In the end, the structure remains expressed and on display within the building—honest, strong, and beautiful.”
While our strong and beautiful structure takes shape in Bruce and Cyndy’s woodshop, the Willowsford Conservancy and Land Development teams are prepping the building site, creating access to and space alongside Cedar Pond for the HTF team to come and “raise” the building. When Willowsford’s new gem is ready this summer, residents will be able to enjoy it inside and out, attending Conservancy programs, renting the pavilion for small events, or just resting on the roomy deck to take in the scenic setting, picnic, and observe the ample wildlife in and around Cedar Pond.
*Feature photo is of another HTF project. Cedar Pond Pavilion will open to Willowsford residents in early summer 2018.
Willowsford Ramblings is a blog by Willowsford, a community of new single-family homes in Loudoun County, Northern Virginia.55 and older communities, active adult communities, adult communities, agri-hood, agrihood, ashburn va new homes, Chantilly va new homes, Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, eat local, Farm to table, home communities, homes aldie va, homes for seniors, Loudoun County, main-level living, new build homes for sale, new home builders, new home communities, new home developments, northern virginia, over 55 communities, retirement communities, retirement living, senior independent living, senior living, Willowsford, willowsford blog, willowsford conservancy, Willowsford Farm, Willowsford Ramblings, willowsford va, Willowsford Virginia