In 2014 and 2022 we built two magnificent timber-framed structures at our East Marion and Calverton locations. Our goal was to create a serene and relaxing space for all to take in the beauty of the lavender fields. We recently interviewed David Yasenchack, the master carpenter behind the timber pavilions.
When was each pavilion built?
The cruck frame in East Marion was raised in 2014, Calverton in 2022.
What does your process look like– what went into the planning/drafting stage and what is the concept behind each pavilion?
When first engaging with clients we explore their ideas and needs and tastes, also their building site and budget. Then I typically produce one or more conceptual ideas. This is a very enjoyable phase.
When Serge approached us for a structure for the East Marion farm, he shared his fondness for the lavoirs he remembered in France, and sent images of several small lavoirs he thought most appealing. That was a wonderful start. That Serge appreciated the form and qualities of these historical structures made for an easy design path.
The recent pavilion for the Calverton farm uses a traditional timber framing pattern, but with the substitution of asymmetric, curving cherry logs for the tie beams, and curving cherry bracing. Irregularly shaped beams and the preservation of rough, cambium surfaces adjacent to finely finished surfaces have long been interesting to me. I’ve learned the aesthetic would likely be described by the Japanese as Shibui.
To begin this Calverton project, Serge sent photos of a larger, more formal lavoir he had recently visited in France. He gave an approximate size, location, and orientation for this structure, but otherwise entrusted me with the design. In commissioned work like this, trust really makes for the best possible outcomes.
Serge also understood, perhaps better than most, that unique materials and traditional joinery methods require time. He appreciated, indeed celebrated, that we were going into our forest and selecting trees specifically for his project. Such a forest-to-frame approach requires far more time, equipment, and skills than does purchasing commodity lumber and sheet goods delivered to a job site. Serge understood this right away. I remember he asked us to commit to a delivery prior to the lavender bloom–that was important for the farm–but he understood the long path of our process.
How long did it take from conception to final construction/raising the structure?
The East Marion structure took 17 months from our first conversation about lavoirs until the raising.
The Calverton frame was hampered by Covid. It was around 2 years in the planning, design, and making. I should add that both of these projects are open-air pavilions in a coastal hurricane zone, and had to undergo engineering reviews.
The best part of creating timber structures? The most difficult part?