About The New England Barn Company
Have you ever had the opportunity to wander into a centuries-old barn that still proudly rises above the fields of a once working farm? For some, the experience may be akin to entering a great awe-inspiring cathedral. The massive timbers overhead convey a feeling of strength and permanence as the rafters soar to lofty heights where light filters down through age-old gaps in the structure's weathered skin. The farm and its family may have long since moved on, but the mighty barn, even in a state of decay, remains as a testament to the strength, endurance, economy & ingenuity of both its construction and the people who built it.
New England Barn Company owners Gary Hellman and Robert Turnquist are among the rare few who are doing their best to perpetuate the tradition of building classic timber frame barns that look and feel like their early architectural ancestors. Adhering to the old-fashioned ethic embodied in the sturdy, long lasting construction method of Mortise and Tenon Joinery- using pegs rather than nails- The New England Barn Company has built over 100 authentic handcrafted timber frames throughout New England and New York over the past 3 decades.
Master carpenter Rob Turnquist says, "We love and appreciate the craftsmanship of days gone by." Rob has a deep passion for traditional barn frames and has been building authentic timber frames since the mid 1980's. He started timber framing after becoming bored with conventional "stick frame" production carpentry. "True timber framing is kind of a mixture of cabinet making and carpentry. A lot of the joints are the same as in furniture making. There is more attention to detail and craftsmanship- for some processes we use the same chisels used 200 years ago. And our frames are designed to last hundreds of years", says Rob.
Designer and project manager Gary Hellman says, "The charm of a New England barn embodies the beauty and simplicity of an earlier time, and somehow people are trying to recapture that feeling." After studying architecture in college and then working in construction, Gary became fascinated with the majesty of antique post & beam barns which he noticed were disappearing from the New England landscape at an alarming rate. After building an authentic timber frame barn on his own property, he decided that barn building was what he wanted to do full time.
Working out of their timber frame workshop in Gaylordsville, Connecticut, Gary & Rob are eager to assist their clients in all aspects of the construction process- from initial concept & design to the raising of the timber frame- to closing in and finishing details. There are numerous standard barn configurations to choose from, but customization is usually part of the process. In fact, in most cases, standard barn designs will get modified as needed to suit client's preferences, site conditions and wishes. All projects are developed and presented to the client via 3D computer models - right down to the location of the pegs- so there is never any confusion about how the finished product will look and function. And all the joinery is meticulously fashioned by hand, resulting in better, stronger, more traditional joints than if created by some computerized CNC machine (contrary to what some competitors may preach!). Gary & Rob are also willing to work with clients on a more limited basis, if desired, and provide only the timber frame. Always budget-conscious, The New England Barn Company is dedicated to finding project solutions that honor the client's vision as well as the tradition and spirit of the early American masterpieces from which they draw inspiration.
Whatever your barn needs are, whether it be a small authentically framed garden shed or a beautiful barn-style timber frame home, don't hesitate to give us a call to discuss your dream!
"A feeling of boundless strength, of security and steadfastness, as well as a noble kind of dignity is inseparable from the ponderous timbers which go to make up these mighty frames" - J. Frederick Kelly: Early Domestic Architecture of Connecticut
"Late barn guru Eric Sloane's reverence for antique barns is alive and well..."