We first reported the River Company project in the Spring ‘07 issue of the Newsletter. At that time the opening of the upscale restaurant was planned for fall of ‘07. But this project is a labor of love for owner builder, Mark Hall, and he’s not rushing it. Significant improvements have been added since last Spring and the opening has now been scheduled for May ‘08.

The main floor of the interior was constructed using a floorSPAN, concrete pourover system in order to maximize ceiling height and allow for the routing of utilities directly through the beams. The main deck, which overlooks the New River, was constructed using a Metwood deckSPAN system and is now complete except for the 3” copper railing. The interior of the structure is now completely enclosed and the underside of the deck has been covered in knotty pine to accent the rustic motif found throughout the structure.


The original article can be found below

Combining Cold Form Steel and Timber Framing on this project was the perfect solution to maximizing space while creating a special environment.

One look at the project leaves little doubt that it will be an amazing place. Located in the lavish hills of SW Virginia, The River Company overlooks a picturesque view of the New River. But the location isn’t the only thing that makes it special. We spoke with owner Mark Hall to get the details.

MN: Tell us about your project.
Mark: We purchased the property in October of 2005 to build The River Company, a five star restaurant and banquet facility. We should be open in the fall of 2007. There will be nothing like it in Southwest Virginia and maybe the entire state. The River Company will feature American style steak and seafood cuisine. We have our own beef farms and will feature registered Angus dry aged beef. We will have an Executive Chef, Food and Beverage Manager, and a Master Brewer overseeing all food preparation. Despite the location and menu we intend to keep prices down.

MN: Did you say “Master Brewer?”
Mark: Yes. The River Company will have its own Micro-Brewery. You can actually look down into the Brewery from the main level.

MN: This is a beautiful location. How did you find it?
Mark: We love the area. There is no place else like it. The River Company overlooks the New River, which is said to be the oldest river in America, and many believe the second oldest river in the world. The views are absolutely spectacular. A modern design was never a consideration. We needed natural materials; Timber Frame and stone were the only way to go, with large windows all around to bring in the light and allow guests to experience the beauty of the surroundings. We’ve moved 35,000 cubic yards of dirt on 6 of the 21 acres. The restaurant sits on 2.5 acres. The Restaurant is the first phase, but the project will include 45 town homes with a similar style.

MN: What is the inside like?
Mark: We can seat 350 guests between the main dining hall and the banquet area below, with additional seating on the rear deck overlooking the river. Whether you’re inside or out, we’ve gone all out to make the mood and atmosphere extraordinary. Each of these areas, including the rear deck, will have stone fireplaces. The structure on the main level is completely open with exposed beam timber framing everywhere you look, right up to the vaulted wood ceiling. We wanted to have a banquet room on the lower level with the same feel. But a two story Timber Frame would have increased cost dramatically. Metwood’s floorSPAN system and throughSPAN beams allowed us to make use of the space below the main level while maintaining the open feel. We supported the floor system with Timber Framing and maximized ceiling height by running most, if not all of the utilities through the throughSPAN beams. We also made use of Metwood’s new Beam Reinforcer. This allowed us to cut larger openings in the Triple and Quad truSPAN beams, again with the benefit of improved utility routing and maximized ceiling height. So we get everything we want, large open spaces, high ceilings, and Timber Framing. If we had used I-Beams we would have lost a lot flexibility and the ceiling would have been lower.

MN: How did you find out about Metwood?
Mark: A friend of mine was using Metwood for a lot of his projects and I ended up using several products on my house. When we began this project I looked at the Metwood website and saw that they were doing a lot of commercial projects. So we began exploring the possibilities. Metwood has been great to work with through the whole process; from working with my designer, right through fabrication, delivery, and installation.

MN: Who did you work with on the design and architecture?
Mark: We interviewed three different companies for the project and settled on Josh Coleman’s company, Lancaster County Timber Frame, Inc. Josh and his people do it old fashioned way; every joint is hand carved and signed by the artisan. The same artisans came down and assembled the structure onsite. It took five days to assemble the basic structure and another two and a half weeks for the roof. Josh and I worked directly with Metwood Engineer Landon Horne. Adapting Metwood’s floorSPAN system to the timber framing was a snap. It’s really a hybrid structure, combining the best of wood, concrete and steel.

Lancaster Country Timber Framing Website - www.lancotf.com