Gather together on a beautiful, summer night, a stargazing fall evening, or enhance a cool winter afternoon with the melting of marshmallows and eating s’mores with family and friends in an outdoor living room. A timber framed pergola complimented with an outdoor fire pit as part of a landscape can extend the time and seasons that you and your family can enjoy with each other in the outdoors.

The fire pit provides warmth and a romantic ambiance, making it a natural gathering place to relax, socialize and entertain. There is something about a campfire-like atmosphere that draws people to spend time together with story-telling and laughter. The natural warmth of a timber framed pergola with a fire pit also creates an important focal point in your outdoor landscape design.

In this world of texting, cell phones and instant messaging there is a tendency to substitute social media and electronics for real face-to-face interactions. Physically meeting generates more love, support and unity.

Through a cutting-edge wave of studies documented on the science of touch research has shown that the ways and everyday forms of touch create emotional balance and give us better health. This can be a pat on the back or a caress of the hand, impromptu expressions that we take for granted. Touch is the primary language of compassion and how people are best able to communicate compassion. Touch is truly fundamental to bonding, human communication and to our health.

In a one study the question was asked as to whether or not humans could clearly communicate compassion through touch. A barrier was built to separate two strangers from one another. One placed their arm through the barrier while the other participant was given a paper with a list of emotions. Through a one-second touch to the other persons forearm, he or she had to guess what the emotion being conveyed was.

The estimated scientific odds by chance of guessing the right emotion from the large number of emotions listed was said to be around eight percent. Remarkably, to everyone’s surprise the participants guessed compassion correctly 60 percent of the time. The other emotions, such as love, anger, fear, gratitude etc. -–those were guessed right more than 50 percent of the time.
In other research it was confirmed that not only can people identify love, fear, and compassion from a quick touch but they can also differentiate between the different kinds of touch, which in studies done on facial and vocal communication people have not scored as well.

Psychologist Sidney Jourard studied the conversations of friends as they sat in a café in various cultures around the world. In observing the United States as a culture, he said Americans are more touch-deprived than most places and in England there was no touching at all.

The United States is largely a litigious society with plenty of other good reasons why we hold back and keep hands off. There is less connection with children and it has become taboo in the American school classroom with some valid fears associated with abusive forms of touch. Yet, findings in studies have shown what we can lose when we choose to hold back too much. Children in studied classrooms did better when they had the right kind of touch such as in a slight tap on the arm when speaking to them. Somehow they had a sense of comfort and confidence that came through with the right kinds of touch.

The benefits of touch started at from the moment we were born. Newborn infants born prematurely were found to gain 47 percent more weight who received fifteen minute touch therapy, three times a day over infants to only received the standard medical treatment. Studies have shown that touch can sooth and give the body a signal of trust and safety; calming cardiovascular stress. A simple touch can release oxytocin which is referred to as the love hormone. Michelangelo said: To touch can be to give life. He was so right.

We are a face-to-face species. In our many modest ways we can witness the human capacity to empathize, to promote devotion, in our smiles, in our laughter, to appreciate and care. For our health and emotional well being we do better when we can physically socialize with one another.

Our dream at Western Timber Frame is to create outdoor living spaces where family and communities can gather and bring people closer together, face-to-face, in a similar fashion as the American front porch once did for America.

We cherish the American tradition of family, community and country and in inviting people who share in the same common values to gather together; to build a stronger America. we believe the integrity of a structure says everything about the people who built it; which is why we engineer and design beautiful architecture that the great-great grandchildren will enjoy, as well.


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