The Guru of Timber Framing

Tedd Benson, founder of Bensonwood, has always put craftsmanship first.



(page 1 of 2)


Christine and Tedd Benson’s sunny kitchen also showcases Tedd’s woodworking talent. He built the kitchen island out of cherry. The bar stools are by ClearLake Furniture in Ludlow, Vermont, and the cabinets are by Crown Point Cabinetry in Claremont.

Although he has been building homes for more than forty  years, Tedd Benson is still humbled by his craft. Constructing a well-designed home is a near-religious experience for Benson, who helped revive the one-thousand- year-old craft of timber-frame construction—giant wooden posts and beams that are secured with joints, wooden pegs and braces. His timber-frame homes are energy-efficient works of art, with soaring open spaces framed by majestic wooden walls and beams.   

 Benson, founder and owner of the Walpole-based Bensonwood, appreciates good craftsmanship—any work, really, that’s accomplished by hand. “There’s something about approaching a job as a craft, whether it’s home-building, pottery, sewing or anything else,” Benson says. “You want to make it perfect and get it right. There’s a certain amount of humility because it’s an endless path, not a destination.”

An appreciation for simplicity

Photo by John W. Hession

Unique when constructed in the late 1970s, the great room’s soaring “timber frame within a timber frame” design gives the room a more human scale. The beams are made of salvaged Southern yellow pine. The Japanese-style hanging lights are by Cherry Tree Design in Bozeman, Montana.

Benson was enamored with carpentry and building when he moved to New England from Colorado as a young adult. Studying the timber-frame barns and Colonial homes he found across New England, he was interested in the methodology behind timber framing but also wanted to improve the quality of home construction. The simplicity and beauty of timber-frame construction became the foundation of his growing business, as he learned to combine his craft with contemporary building needs, such as high-performance insulation and modern mechanical systems.

Benson’s burgeoning passion became the foundation of his company Bensonwood, which now employs more than sixty employees. Bensonwood has developed a national reputation, not only for its artfully designed timber-frame structures, but also as an innovative builder of hybrid and energy-efficient homes and commercial buildings; the company also designs and builds prefabricated homes through its sister company, Unity Homes located in Unity and founded in 2012. But homebuilding isn’t the only thing that keeps Benson busy—he’s also published three books on timber framing (Building the Timber Frame House; The Timber Frame Home; and Timberframe: The Art and Craft of the Post-and-Beam Home) and helped establish the Timber Guild of North America.

Click on the arrows below to read more.

More of NH's noteable homes and homeowners

Settling into Lakeside Living

The early-twentieth-century style of Prentice Sanger inspired architect Jeremy Bonin’s design of this welcoming home on Lake Sunapee.

Four Winds Farm Carries on the Monahon Legacy

Four Winds Farm in Peterborough is a multi-use property that pays fitting tribute to its owners’ legacy.

An Artist's Oasis in Cornish

Noted for their beauty, Stephen Parrish’s early twentieth-century gardens in Cornish have been revived—thanks, in part, to the painter’s detailed journals.

Liz Barbour's Edible Landscape

Cook Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast creates beautiful— and delicious—dishes with what she grows.

The Warner House is Beginning Its Fourth Century

The landmark Warner House in Portsmouth is the earliest building of its type in New England.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Calendar

October 2017

Today

  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat
01 02 03 04 05 06 07
08 09 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 01 02 03 04
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags