Archive for February, 2015

Project Spotlight: Barns with Living Quarters Across the U.S.

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We’ve built barns with living quarters across the United States, from Maine to Louisiana, and from Washington to New Mexico. Whether your ideal location is in the heartland or on a coast, we can create the building of your dreams. Today we’re highlighting four barn homes we’ve built in four very different landscapes, in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Washington State.

Fall City, Washington
Our Washington barn builders created what our client called “the greatest barn in the world” for her horse boarding business, Four Gables Farm. Four dormers beckon visitors inside, while a shed roof creates old country charm. Downstairs, we installed six stalls, a wash bay, and a tack room. The upstairs features a luxurious wet bar, a U-shaped seating area, and a large open area that perfectly suits the weddings and other special events that Four Gables Farm hosts.

Fall City Washington Horse Barn

Taos, New Mexico
Rancho Milagro is a comfortable, multi-purpose building where our clients Ed and Trudy Healy can care for their horses and special guests. The Healys are well known as art patrons in the Taos area, and so it should be no surprise that they allowed our designers and builders free reign to carry out their creative vision. The result? A stunning barn home with a diamond theme that resonates through structural supports, deck bracing, and even barn doors. As Ed says, the motif has become a sort of trademark for the barn. The 36-foot-long structure features four horse stalls, a 12’ by 24’ tack room, a half bath, and solar-powered radiant heat in the concrete slab of the first floor. Upstairs, you’ll find a stunning 21’ by 34’ great room with 14-foot-high ceilings at the upper ridge. Cedar clad supports carry through from the barn to the living quarters; their warm honey tones shine in the Taos sunlight. An exterior Ipe deck also features the diamond design.

Ranch Milagro Barn with Living Quarters

Laramie, Wyoming: Barn with Living Quarters
Many of our clients prefer to situate their barn homes to best highlight stunning mountain views. This was certainly the case with this cedar-finished barn near Laramie, Wyoming. To withstand the region’s extremely harsh winters—50 M.P.H. winds are common, and the area averages 50 inches of snow per year—we completely weatherproofed the barn home’s exterior. Downstairs, we installed three horse stalls with automatic washers, a wash and tack room, and a laundry room with an attached bathroom. The upper story’s 1,700-square-foot apartment boasts granite countertops, a Corian shower, tile floors, and wrapped timbers. A point of pride is the fact that this barn home is entirely off the grid! Solar power and propane systems partner to power this stunning home and barn.

Laramie Barn with Living Quarters

Fairplay, Colorado
Our clients envisioned an apartment barn where they could care for their dogs, horses, and cat without commuting. To make their dream a reality, we worked into the night, bringing in different crews for framing, concrete, and finishing. After just 18 days of construction, we delivered a gorgeous high-mountain apartment barn, with 4 horse stalls, a 12’ by 24’ tack room, a generous garage/workshop area, and a covered paddock. The 1,700-square-foot living area upstairs features a soaring great room where the family can relax in their year-round, full-time residence. A second-story deck allows for summer dining al fresco. At times, this location sees 100 mile-per-hour winds, and the client notes that our quality construction work prevents gusts from whistling through windows.

Custom Apartment Barn in Fairplay Colorado

Whatever building you imagine, in whatever location, we can deliver the barn home of your dreams. Contact us today to get started.

America’s Historic Barn Types: Dutch Barns, Bank Barns & More

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Wood Barn HomeSince our nation’s dawn, barns (and the farmers they represent) have figured large in American philosophy. Thomas Jefferson understood that the newly minted republic derived its freedom and stability from citizen farmers. Lincoln passed the Homestead Act, writing, “The wild lands of the country should be distributed so that every man should have the means and opportunity of benefiting his condition.” In other words, Lincoln saw farms as a way to give every American a fair chance. And Eisenhower celebrated that “In no other country do so few people produce so much food, to feed so many, at such reasonable prices.” Throughout our history, barns have represented close-knit communities with strong ties to the land and to family. Nowadays, although fewer Americans make their living at farming, barns still resonate as powerful symbols of a simpler, more traditional way of life. As such, barns have become popular locations for events, such as weddings.

Unfortunately, barn razing has eclipsed the barn raisings that were so common in America a century ago. Older barns may be derided as eyesores in various stages of decay. Yet these historic structures deserve our attention and preservation efforts because they embody our nation’s rich, historical past.

Here we offer a little background on the types of classic barns in the United States.

Classic American Barn Types

Dutch Barns
The earliest American barns are Dutch barns. Few have survived in their original layout. You can spot a Dutch barn by its simple, massive-looking exterior, with a wide gable roof; simple, horizontal clapboard siding; a pent roof to provide protection at a central entry; and stock doors at the corners. The interior of a Dutch barn is reminiscent of a church, with a central aisle, H-shaped beam structures, and mortise-and-tenon joints with rounded ends. When well preserved, Dutch barns are stunning in their simplicity and strength.

Bank Barns
Perhaps the cleverest American barn design is the bank barn, which takes advantage of a slope to create multiple levels of productivity. Traditionally, a bank barn was built with the longest side running parallel to a slope. That way, livestock could be housed on the lower level, at the bottom of the hill. Oftentimes, this “daylight basement” level faced south, and provided a protected space where animals gathered in the winter months. The second story was level with the top of the hill, and allowed wagons carrying hay or wheat easy access for threshing and storage. Early bank barns feature stone sidewalls, with ventilation apertures to prevent fire. (While curing, green hay can produce enough heat to combust spontaneously.)

Round Barns
Barn at Mt. VernonGeorge Washington’s sixteen-sided barn at Mount Vernon is representative of the round barn’s appeal. Round barns are efficient, in that they require fewer materials to create the same amount of storage. Washington’s high-tech barn was tailor made for efficient threshing. Horses would run around a central column while stomping on wheat, working the grain out. Gaps between floorboards on the first level allowed the grain to fall through to a lower story, where it could be gathered for storage. Compared to rectangular barns, circular barns are also more stable. A final advantage is that round barns may be built with self-supporting roofs, eliminating the need for interior supports and increasing storage space.

Prairie barns, crib barns, and house barns are additional American barn types. Barn structures reflect local crops; tobacco barns with gable-on-hip roofs are common in the southeastern U.S., while dairy barns are found throughout the Midwest. Building materials vary according to location as well; Idaho barns may be built of basalt (a volcanic stone), while the Southwest boasts adobe barns. The variety of barns in our country reflects our nation’s cultural and geological diversity.

Unfortunately, as Americans move away from the country, many barns are being abandoned. A 2007 USDA census of farmers making more than $1,000 of farm income annually found that there are about 650,000 barns left in America. There are problems with this survey—it doesn’t include barns that are being used for other purposes, for one thing—but it does suggest that the number of American barns has dropped since 1950, when National Barn Alliance president Charles Leik estimates that there were 6 million barns still standing in our country.

Barn HomesFor barn enthusiasts, one encouraging trend is the growing interest in barn homes. As dedicated barn home builders, we appreciate the growing popularity in barns with living quarters attached. The barn portion of the structure is often included on the ground floor, while living quarters are situated above.

If you’re interested in contributing to the number of barns in America, contact us. We build custom barn designs, including horse barns and barns with living quarters. We can work with you to create a custom plan to perfectly fit your needs. And we are happy to work with you to include design features that echo America’s rich barn history.

[Mt. Vernon Barn Photo by Matt Howry via CC License]

DC Building’s Specialties: Barn Homes, Custom Riding Arenas & More

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For more than a decade, we’ve built stunning structures across the country. While we call Boring, Oregon home, our veteran crews travel the nation to create unique buildings for families, businesses, and their animals. Today we’re discussing the wide array of wood structures that we specialize in constructing.

Horse Barns.
As experienced barn builders, we’ve created barns across America, from private facilities to commercial barns. One of our favorite barn projects was the 3,200-square-foot HGTV Lodge created for the 2013 Country Music Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. We were able to complete the project in just five days, with over forty workers pitching in. DC Building can create one-of-a-kind barns in all sizes and shapes. We work closely with clients to create perfectly suited design solutions.

Custom Barn Design

Custom Riding Arenas.
We are passionate about building dynamic equestrian facilities were horse and rider can enjoy ideal conditions. Oftentimes, our clients prefer to combine riding arenas with barn and storage facilities, for the ultimate in multi-use performance. We work to the client’s preferences; some opt for year-round covered arenas, while others are looking for outdoor riding areas. Our industry background gives us insight into design options that equestrians value, such as drainage solutions, hoof grid systems, and caretakers’ apartments. View some of our latest projects!

Riding Arenas

Barn Homes.
We’ve built barn homes in dozens of states, from Georgia to Washington. Our clients love our fast building schedules, as well as our unparalleled construction quality. We enjoy working with customers to create the stunning structures of their dreams. Want to include a garage, a home, and a barn all in one? We can do that. We also offer barn home kits.

Barn Homes

Workshops and Garages.
Need more storage space? No problem. DC building can create the ideal workshop/garage for your needs. Whether you need a man cave, a creative space, or more play spaces for the kids, our designers can work with you to design the ideal garage/workshop.

Custom Workshop Design

Timber-Frame Barns.
Timber-frame construction is incredibly flexible; it can provide phenomenal structural support without the need for cluttering inner walls. The result? Soaring indoor spaces inside structures that will last for generations. We can work with you to create the perfect blend of modern posh and rustic charm.

Timber Frame Barn

Your Custom Design.
If your vision doesn’t fit neatly into one of the above categories, all the better! We appreciate clients who think outside the box. Whatever your dream, we can work with you to create a custom design, or to adapt a pre-drafted custom design.

To conclude, we’ll mention that we’ve also created commercial properties, from wineries to special event buildings. Contact us today to learn more about how we can create the building of your dreams.

Choosing Your California Custom Home Builder

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California Custom home buildersSan Francisco and Marin County are highly sought after residential areas—so much so that San Francisco came out on top of HSH.com’s list of salary requirements for home buying in 27 American metro areas. The Bay area is the most costly place to buy a home in the U.S., and those who are planning to create custom homes there must be aware of potential financial and logistical challenges, from high costs, to extensive permitting processes, to stringent building energy efficiency standards. To enjoy a stress-free construction process, it’s key to work with an experienced contractor such as DC Building.

Why DC Building is an Ideal California Home Builder

Lower costs. Our industry experience and construction approach allows us to achieve cost efficiency while manifesting clients’ custom designs.

Impeccable design and construction with incomparable attention to detail. We deliver matchless construction quality.

Our In-house design team means fewer construction hassles, as clients have one fewer contractor to track. We can create a custom design in-house, or work with your custom design.

Experienced project managers with the expertise to avoid potential snafus, including permitting problems.

Our passion for custom design endures, whether you’re working with post and beam, timber frame, or stick-built construction.

Please the neighbors with a building that adds to, rather than detracts from, the surrounding landscape. Our wood building approach is sustainable and visually appealing. In such a high-demand area, it’s key to create designs that nearby residents will rally around.

Structurally sound construction is a given when you build with wood as we do. The Bay Area is notoriously prone to earthquakes. Wood structures fare well in ‘quakes because wood absorbs force.

If you’re looking to work with California home builders to create your custom home, give us a call.