Characteristics of a Garland Mill Home

In the decisions we make, much attention is paid to the full life of our buildings, both in terms of livability and longevity. Because of this many of our projects share certain traits that reflect the Garland Mill approach. The following characteristics and methods are just a starting point. Your participation and input are what makes your structure a home.


Most of our buildings incorporate timberframes as the structure, or part of the structure. This building technique provides strength, longevity, warmth, and beauty. (For more thoughts on this subject, view our timberframe page.)

Local wood

Our timbers are harvested locally and milled at our water-powered mill.For the parts of our projects where we cannot mill the wood ourselves, we make a concerted effort to use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) materials, local or salvage woods.

Super-insulation and Mechanical Ventilation

Our homes employ super-insulated envelopes which are tested for air tightness several times throughout construction. Mechanical air ventilators are used to exhaust stale moist air and use the heat from that air to preheat incoming cold fresh air. This keeps interior air fresh and healthy while retaining some of the heat that would otherwise be lost.

Net Zero/Net Producer

A few of our clients have chosen to push the limits of high-efficiency and super-insulation in order to attain extremely low energy demands. Low enough that these demands can be met by renewable energy generated on their own property.

Healthy Interiors

Good interior air quality is a primary goal of any home. To achieve this, we use healthy paints, plasters, and wood finishes that are low in volatile organic compounds. This aspect of our work is becoming ever easier as manufacturers offer more products formulated to off-gas fewer harmful compounds than standard versions.

Salvage Materials

From whole barns down to door hardware, and everything in between, we love to use salvage materials in our projects. Four panel doors and associated hardware have been a popular of late, but our palette includes flooring, windows, framing material, claw foot tubs, slate roofing,old stone farm sinks, among others.

Universal Access

We endeavor to design homes that provide access to inhabitants of all abilities; small children, the elderly, handicapped, a teen-ager with a broken leg, a middle-aged inhabitant after hip replacement surgery.This means, for starters that homes have an accessible entryway, an accessible bathroom and bedroom on the first floor. The bedroom on the first floor can be an office, den or away room that can be converted for temporary use or in the future as inhabitants age. Bathrooms have sufficient backing in the walls for appropriate handles to be added when required.

Passive Solar Orientation

An important characteristic or pattern of a GMT home is that it takes advantage of the sun to provide both day lighting and passive solar heat gain.

Outdoor Living Space

Summers in the north are notoriously short. So, in the warmer months, it is important to be outdoors enjoying the sun as much as possible. Screened porches, outdoor rooms, garden space and patios are all design priorities for the Garland Mill. We spend a good deal of time considering how these outdoor living spaces integrate with the home and the landscape.