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Contemporary design vs Traditional design – which would you choose?

When choosing your new home, one question will invariably come up – do you want contemporary design, or a more traditional aesthetic? Here we round up a variety of projects we’ve worked on that showcase the beauty of both.

For many years, oak has been associated with the more traditional style of buildings – after all, it is one of the oldest construction materials in Europe, and as such we work closely with historians and architects to ensure the best possibles. When you think of oak buildings you might imagine low ceilings and rafters creating cosy rooms, or rustic barn conversions with wood-burning stoves that could be in an Agatha Christie novel. This can indeed be part of the appeal, with people wanting this traditional style (some even ask for touches like Plank and Muntin walls – learn more here).

But another beautiful factor about a green oak self-build is that you can have free-reign with the home you’re aiming to create, and can therefore realise a more contemporary design for your new build. Our timber frames allow for direct glazing, meaning that sheets of glass can be incorporated into whole walls, flooding the room with light and allowing for some adventurous architectural dreams to become reality!

Here we look at some example of traditional oak design vs contemporary design.


Here we can see two very different but equally appealing approaches to a green oak living space. In the first image, we see a more traditional home. The oak framed ceiling – with its pale rafters that will gradually change in hue over time to create a light golden tone – has a real rustic charm. The fireplace adds to the sense of cosiness, and it’s the perfect place to escape to on a chilly day, or throw open the windows to let a spring breeze filter into the house.

Alternatively, in the second image, we can see the results of a living area where the brief was very different. Here the client wanted to remove the ideas of floors in the lounge, and instead the lofty ceiling above allows for a cathedral-esque quality. Since three parts of the frame are glazed, light floods into the space and makes for a thoroughly modern and awe-inspiring room.



Another great example of oak being the ideal material in both traditional and contemporary design is when you see it used in kitchens. In both examples oak is the star of the show – see how the sling brace trusses and the beautiful curves of the frame attract the eye, and the fittings of the kitchen seem to merge around the wood itself, so the oak almost cradles them.

In the top photograph, a country-cottage aesthetic has been realised with the help of a cream colour scheme and the warm honey-tone of oak. The wooden surface of the kitchen island brings the design together, while the glass wall (just seen) leads to a garden area that brings the outside inside and means morning light brightens up any breakfast time.

In the bottom image, we see a very modern kitchen that has a mezzanine floor above it. Striking dark grey tiles and vibrant red makes it an eye-catching heart of the home, while plenty of character comes courtesy of the green oak frame. It’s the epitome of an open-plan living and kitchen space.


Again, two very different oak framed rooms, both with their own beautiful appeal. The top image shows a very traditional bedroom, with an ornate four-poster bed that commands the space. However, the room is far from oppressive, with light reaching the room via the several small windows carefully incorporated in the frame, which still keep the historical aesthetic of the bedroom.

In the bottom bedroom, we can see a different approach. Light floods in from the window in the slanted ceiling, as well as the use of direct glazing at the front of the property. The oak frame seems to create a glowing, tranquil space, and it’s ideal for a bedroom that embraces calming, contemporary design.


Oak Framed Houses

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