A custom home is one that is especially designed to meet the specifications of the person who commissioned it. Stock building plans are not custom designed; the same plan may be sold to many different people. Frequently a builder will customize stock plans by changing details. The builder may change the type of siding, move a doorway, or even add a dormer. However, the house is not truly a custom home unless a designer (usually an architect) has closely studied the land and interviewed the clients to create a one-of-a-kind home that is tailor-made for the people who will live there.
To build a custom home, you will need a building site and an architect or a professional home designer. A builder who specializes in custom homes (not a Production Home Builder) may also offer design services.
Timber framing and “post-and-beam” construction are methods of building with heavy timbers rather than “dimension lumber” such as 2″x4″s. Traditional timber framing is the method of creating structures using heavy squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs (larger versions of the mortise and tenon joints in furniture). It is commonplace in wooden buildings from the 19th century and earlier. The method comes from making things out of logs and tree trunks without modern high tech saws to cut lumber from the starting material stock. Using axes, adzes and draw knives, hand-powered auger drill bits (bit and brace), and laborious woodworking, artisans or farmers could gradually assemble a building capable of bearing heavy weight without excessive use of interior space given over to vertical support posts. Since this building method has been used for thousands of years in many parts of the world, there are many styles of historic framing. These styles are often categorized by the type of foundation, walls, how and where the beams intersect, the use of curved timbers, and the roof framing details. Three basic types of timber frames in English-speaking countries are the box frame, cruck frame, and aisled frame.