Shelter Institute – Partner Spotlight

Post & Beam (Timber Framing) Class, Design Build Services, Real Estate

Shelter Institute, a third generation 45 year old home building school and design build service which has become synonymous with high quality, craftsman homes, barns, garages and other post and beam structures. They’ve built over 3000 homes and taught over 30,000 students. The magic starts at their campus in Maine where they offer a high quality tool store, a stunning post and beam classroom where students learn home building science, materials and techniques.

Students can then take those lessons and put them right into practice in the on-campus Post and Beam workshop. Students use traditional hand tools, under supervision, to measure, mark, cut and chisel posts and beams over the course of a week while learning the proper techniques to build amazing hand crafted strutures. The outcome is a capable and confident students, tons of smiles, amazing memories and a beautiful timber frame! If you want to try timber framing, hands down, this is the only way to do it!

Shelter offers design and build guidance including a full build service for those who want help getting a design they can build or if they’d rather let the Shelter team take the lead start to finish. The in house design and engineering team work with you to design your dream home and then, if appropriate, can build it for you!


Meet the Team

Pat Hennin – Founder

Pat, and his wife, founded Shelter Institute over 45 years ago with the goal of teaching people to build simple, practical, efficient and durable homes. A grassroots movement to make housing affordable and accessible to everyone. The desire to teach people real skills that would empower them to tackle their own home projects from start to finish. The tradition has affected thousands of families all across the world and taught generations to build their own homes.

Gaius Hennin – President, Engineer

Gaius is a second generation builder and lead engineer. His passion is for building and helping customers find the right home design for them whether a SIP only structure, a timber frame or a hybrid. Working with cutting edge building science and over 45 years of experience Gaius offers a ton of real world building experience to home builders, whether DIY or design build, and helps make YOUR home the perfect home for YOU. His experience, engineering skills, patience and understanding of job site flow shine whether as a mentor or as the lead on a project.

Shelter Institute Engineer Gaius Hennin

Blueberry Beeton – Manager, Realtor

Blueberry, daughter of the founder, loves helping people. Yes, she’s as sweet as her name! Whether it’s getting your arrangements together to attend a Purely Post & Beam workshop, purchase craftsman tools or to coordinate a design project. She runs the day to day operations and makes sure that the Shelter Institute is working smoothly as the classes fill up, customer builds are taking place and the crews are in the field building structures. She also has an absolutely brilliant disco dance move!

Shelter Institute Manager Blueberry Beeton

Featured Products

Online Timber Framing Course

Not able to travel or want to simply immerse yourself in timber framing tools and techniques on your schedule or from the comfort of your home? The online timber framing workshop is everything the Purely Post & Beam Workshop offers but in digital format available as an on demand course. Learn at your own pace, review curriculum and access 24/7 with no need to travel!

Online Structural Insulated Panels Build Course Workshop

Learn to build with high efficiency structural insulated panels in this online course. Designed for self-guided learning and available on your schedule this course will teach you the unique characteristics and design considerations of SIP technology and how to use these panels to build amazingly efficient homes and buildings.

Purely Post & Beam Workshop

A power packed week long “build experience”, the Purely Post and Beam workshop is taught on campus in Maine. Starting with an orientation in classroom students learn design techniques and how to draw, scale and measure. Then the students move to the indoor workshop environment to tackle chisel sharpening, their first saw cuts with Japanese pull saws and finally to get hands on experience cutting joinery on massive beams. Local homes are toured and a potluck round of the experience. Finally on Friday the frame is raised and a graduation ceremony is held. If you’re just post and beam curious and looking for a “work-cation” or want real world experience in post and beam construction this is the ONLY place to do it. For the full experience, book lodging with local families living in timber frames they built after attending Shelter Institute.

Design Build Service

Helping buildings come to life through an in house design and engineering service the Shelter Institute can work with you to get a floor plan that makes sense, fits your needs and budget. Then they’ll help you craft a post and beam structure to make the floor plan come to life. Owner builders can take it from there with guidance from the Shelter Institute team or let Shelter take the lead and they’ll make the project happen with their team of skilled craftsmen.


Enzo T.

As a second generation carpenter/joiner Shelter Institutes online course is a must for all interested in timber framing and the enjoyment of life!

I have found the team to be responsive, caring and helpful. A pleasure to deal with.

Chasen G.

We drove thirteen hours through a blizzard to take the timber framing course and it was worth it! They’ve probably mapped out every minute of the week for the students but it still feels relaxed. Best of all, I can say with confidence, I can build a house. A timber structure and I will!

Video Series – Building a Country Home & Garage

Episode 1

Building A Country Home & Garage


8 Videos

Join the Shelter Institute team on site of a country timber frame build! They’re doing site prep and building a 30’x32′ post and beam home enclosed with high efficiency Structural Insulated Panels.


[SERIES] Timber Frame Workshop Maine
Series - Sawmilling 115 Piece Timber Frame



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