Brixey man creates art in construction with traditional building techniques

As a rainbow spans the sky above, Benjamin Miller and other workers with Ozark Farmstead work to build this traditional timber-framed home near Brixey.

Brixey resident Benjamin Miller is the owner of Ozark Farmstead, a construction company that specializes in traditional and artisanal building methods.

Ozark Farmstead’s workers use traditional joinery to frame this home, including a technique that uses a notched out board and a perfectly-fit groove to hold the frame together (above), as well as wood pegs instead of nails or screws (below).

Ozark Farmstead owner Benjamin Miller, far right, is pictured here with his family. Pictured, from left, are: Liesel, Nara, Brewster, Ben’s wife Liudmila and Atlas.

In today’s world, modern tools and techniques have propelled the construction industry into the future, but one Ozark County man says he finds his inspiration in older, more traditional ways. 

Benjamin Miller, a Brixey resident and owner of the building company Ozark Farmstead, has become an artisan and craftsman of frame-building and traditional joinery methods, which use all wood elements of construction rather than other materials, such as steel beams, glue or adhesives, nails or screws.


Finding a passion and skill for traditional building

Ben’s building experience started about a decade before he moved to Ozark County when he was helping as part of a church effort to provide aid for disaster relief projects in areas where floods or tornadoes had ravaged the land and left residents without their homes and basic necessities. “Cleaning up after disasters and getting new shelters up quickly in disaster areas will really teach you fast,” he said.

The work was relentless, but through the long hours, he found a passion for the trade of building. He also found himself wanting to lead a slower and more sustainable life in the rolling hills of Ozark County. “I’ve always had a love for farming, and my ultimate goal was to have animals and some land to grow my own food,” he said.

After moving here in 2011, Ben worked on at a dairy farm from 2012 to 2019. While that endeavor did fulfill his desire to work with animals, he also found his path leading him in a new direction. 

“As much as I love cattle and caring for animals, anyone who runs a dairy knows it requires your time 24/7, 365. 

“After having our first child in 2015, my wife and I got property in the Brixey area, and I soon purchased our first sawmill. This evolved into a mobile sawmill business. That mixed extremely well with my building experience, so I decided to go full-time developing my construction company,” he said.  


Starting Ozarks Farmstead

Ben said he was inspired by the large timbers on his land, and he knew he wanted to take his business in a unique direction for this area and focus on traditional timber-frame building methods. He started with smaller projects, things like remodeling structures and building outdoor living spaces, like decks and pergolas. But last summer, he upped his game.

“Last June, we started harvesting trees for a client. We selected black walnut and white oak to build a home. The trees were in abundance, and we were able to leave older and future generations of trees through selective sustainable harvesting,” he said. 

The client had heard about Ben through his neighbor, who was a friend of theirs. Ben’s neighbor had previously hired him for his own project, so he could vouch for his work. The new clients said they’d looked for quite some time for a builder who could construct a timber-frame home and were happy to find that Ben could make their dream home a reality. Ben worked with the clients to develop digital blue prints based off a design they’d picked out and a list of ideas the clients provided. 

“After harvesting trees, we began to mill them down to the dimensions needed. Afterward, the timbers were then precisely measured and cut to the appropriate joints in order to hold the structure together. The walls are assembled on the ground, then stood up. Then the beams were installed, tying the walls together,” he said, explaining that he is completely self-taught in traditional joinery. 


The difference between timber-framed and conventional homes

“Many ‘timber constructions’ are actually post-and-beam and do not use the traditional joinery needed to be considered a timber-frame,” he said. 

Ben says that a timber-framed house is a load-bearing structure held together by wood joints, mortises and tenons with wood pegs instead of nails and bolts. Post and beam building is similar to timber framing, but in lieu of wooden joints, post and beam buildings are held together with bolts and other steel connections.

“I prefer the traditional structures because they will last hundreds of years longer in comparison to a conventional two-by pine buildings, and they have all the timbers exposed to the interior of the home, making it a beautiful experience to be inside. This type of work also brings a much more honest form of carpentry because the work is exposed and not hidden in the walls of the home,” he said. 

Ben says he’d like to continue to build timber-framed homes as well as custom conventional homes and outdoor living spaces. He also offers home remodeling and sawmilling services. 

“Honestly, I just really like using larger site-harvested timbers. Nothing beats standing in your home, knowing these beautiful pieces of timber came from your own land,” he said. 

Ben says he and his wife are currently remodeling their own home with plans on adding timber-frame elements.

“Someday we will timber-frame a new home for us on our land and let the kids take over our current residence,” Ben said. “We love the area and our neighbors. We will continue to stay in the Brixey/Zanoni area and raise our children here.”


For more information

To contact Ben, call 417-989-9220 or email To follow along with the progress on the timber-framed home or other projects, visit the “Ozarks Farmstead” Facebook page. 

Ozark County Times

504 Third Steet
PO Box 188
Gainesville, MO 65655

Phone: (417) 679-4641
Fax: (417) 679-3423