Building a Dream

Living Space

Photo by Bill Cardoni

Near the river, nestled deep in the woods, just a short distance from the Delaware National Forest, sits a rustic timber frame home. Sounds like the beginning of a fairytale, right? For Mark Biedlingmaier, his new home is just that- it is his dream come true. The home, located in Dingman’s Ferry, is quite a ways from his full time residence in Washington D.C., where he works in the State Department. Sitting on his deck, gazing at the forest, it is easy to understand why Mark is so happy in this space. Here, the chaos of D.C. feels light years away and the only background noise is the soothing sound of chirping birds. Having served closely with military counterparts in both Iraq and Afghanistan, he was particularly sensitized to war zone casualties, suicides, and traumatic injuries which in some instances will require long-term rehabilitation. For this reason, Biedlingmaier explains, “I intend to use this as a healing space someday to help soldiers suffering from PTSD.”

Creating this sanctuary has been a three year process. Biedlingmaier, who grew up visiting the Poconos with his family, was downsizing his D.C. home and exploring real estate in NEPA. He bought the Dingmans Ferry parcel at auction, 70 acres of land upon which two old homes stood. Choosing a builder was easy; R.W. Buff of Stroudsburg was repeatedly recommended as a professional builder of the highest quality. The initial project was to completely renovate the older structure: a once dilapidated homestead is now a beautiful stone farmhouse, serving as a guest cottage. The next task was major- The Manor House. After removing a 25 year old modular home and preparing the site, the R.W. Buff team began building Mark’s dream. From the start, Biedlingmaier knew what he wanted- a large, welcoming, and open home constructed to last generations. The R.W. Buff team suggested timber framing, an ancient method of building using large wood timbers with traditional joinery methods. “Timber frame fits perfectly into the landscape,” Mark explains. Joe Holbert of R.W. Buff agrees: “The concept we were given by Mr. B. for the house was begging to include at least some timber frame. So we did a hybrid frame, including both structural timbers and traditional stick framing. We had met an impressive timber framing company a few years back at a trade show. When this project came along, I gave them a call. This project was a great opportunity for us to start a relationship with Woodhouse, a passionate and well run Pennsylvania company.”

Photo by Bill Cardoni

Photo by Bill Cardoni

Throughout the construction process, Biedlingmaier knew he made the right choice in R.W. Buff. “Joe [Holbert, Project Manager] and designer Mike Weida carefully translated my vision into this product of perfection, class, and distinction. To them, I was more a co-worker than a customer, and to me, they became my friends as well as my contractors.” The most astounding elements of this project lie in the details and finishes, handcrafted by R.W. Buff’s workers and trade partners. From the fireplace constructed of stone picked on the home site and a mantle crafted from unused beams, to the old soap stone laundry sink reclaimed from the property and used for the bar, their passion to create timeless details is obvious. Biedlingmaier has successfully blended the rugged timber frame style with his own eclectic design taste. His diverse collection of art and antiques from around the world creates pockets of defined spaces throughout the house: “Africa,” “Asia,” and “Church and State” are just a few themed rooms that envelop guests in Biedlingmaier’s world travels.

From start to finish, Mark Biedlingmaier’s home was crafted locally. R.W. Buff, of course, but the list continues: interior designer Dayne Altemose of Bangor ensures every painting, furnishing and treasure is in its perfect spot. The Artisans of the Anvil, of Stroudsburg created the sculptured railing leading down to the Church and State Room. Biedlingmaier is proud of the project and amazed by the level of care and talent each person put into his new home. As he looks out into the peace of his new world, he marvels, “They created my dream.”

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