Archive for the ‘Barn Designs’ Category

Barn Home Builders Talk Exterior Siding Options

Home and barn builders like us can get pretty obsessed with exterior siding. Why? Because siding is what will define a building’s appearance for years to come. We build custom horse barns and homes to last for decades. Given the visibility of exterior siding, it pays to be choosy when picking siding for your custom project. Let’s examine the variety of siding choices we offer for DC Building barn homes, barndominiums, and barns.

DC Building Custom Horse Barns and Homes: Exterior Siding Options

Horizontal Tongue & Groove Siding is available in fir, spruce, pine, and other timbers on request. It may be stained or painted for additional beauty and surface protection. Many of our clients prefer a traditional barn look with a dash of visual interest. This goal is perfectly achieved by pairing horizontal tongue and groove siding with board and batten siding.

Custom Barn Homes Tongue and Groove Siding

Board and Batten Siding is created from Pacific Northwest rough sawn cedar. As with horizontal tongue and groove siding, its surface may be strengthened and customized with paint or stain. For a classic, timeless barn look, partner board and batten siding with horizontal tongue and groove siding.

Wedding Barn Builders Board and Batten Siding

HardiePlank Lap Siding is composed of fire-resistant fiber cement, a mixture of wood pulp and Portland cement. In the last three decades, fiber cement has quickly become a darling of the construction world, because it offers the beauty of wood with the low-maintenance endurance of masonry. What’s more, dozens of texture and color choices are available. We love how much easier HardiePlank Lap Siding is to maintain when compared to traditional wood siding. Last but certainly not least, HardiePlank Lap Siding comes with a 30-year, transferable warranty.

HardiePlank Vertical Siding is like its lap siding cousin, only with an upward orientation. You still get the fire-resistant, easy-to-maintain fiber cement, but in a direction that emphasizes height. A wide range of textures, such as stucco, are available. And again, this siding option includes a 30-year transferable warranty.

California Barn Builders HardiePlank Siding

Perhaps it’s unwise to judge a book by its cover, but visitors will inevitably judge your barn or barn home by its siding. The exterior siding will be what you see every day. It pays to spend some time electing an exterior siding option that will provide excellent protection in your area, while also adding beauty. Contact us today to discuss which siding choice would best complement your ideal home or barn.

Custom Wedding Barns Transform “The Big Day” [Infographic]

Our latest infographic explores modern wedding trends and the use of custom barn designs for wedding ceremonies and receptions. Custom wedding barns have dramatic open spaces that blend unconventional aspects with elegant solutions for a truly unique and memorable experience. Barn builders include sought-after rustic elements in the charming building alongside necessary amenities, such as electrical capabilities, shelter from unexpected weather conditions and a space that’s intimate yet ample. Argrotourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the U.S., and less than 24,000 farms provided this service to the public in 2007. With timeless, rustic weddings proving to be a long-term trend, wedding barns offer distinctive, creative way to use your land.

At DC Building, we create custom designs and build barns using traditional post-and-beam methods and quality lumber. We invite you to learn more about our custom wedding barn and event venue design services.

Custom Wedding Barns

 

Interested? Check out some of the awesome wedding barns we’ve brought to life here at DC Builders.

Project Spotlight: California Barn Builders Get Creative

As passionate home and barn builders, our designers thrive on custom projects, where their imaginations can be put to good work matching designs to clients’ dreams. Today we’re featuring the work of our California home and barn builders. Check out these gorgeous projects—they’re great representations of our designers’ unique work.

Penn Valley Monitor Barn
Beauty abounds in this monitor-style barn—and given its personalized design, it’s not surprising that owner Leslie Schoradt has exclaimed, “It’s my dream home!” With Classic Equine stall fronts and a stable comfort mattress system inside, this monitor barn is a horse lover’s dream. Gooseneck lighting pairs perfectly with the rich timber framing and striking red metal roof. Features include six stalls, a washroom, and beautiful tack room. Complete with a custom turret and rubber aisle pavers, this barn perfectly complements the Suncrest Vineyards of Traveler’s Rest in Penn Valley. Leslie explains, “What we love about this barn is it’s not just a place to house my absolute favorite treasures, it’s a destination point for us to go see.”

California Custom Barn Home Builders

Woodside Horse Barn
Our California custom barn builders’ creativity shines in this tailor-made equestrian facility. Featured here is an all-wood barn complete with five custom stall fronts, pine-covered ceilings, and stamped concrete made to look like beautiful hardwood. The gable ends feature timber trusses, cedar board, and batten siding. Complete with a customized iPod docking station, a hobby shop in the loft, and trail entry to the Woodside Equestrian Park, this barn is simply stunning.

Claifornia Horse Barn Builders

Morgan Hill Monitor Barn
Our California barn builders worked 12 hours per day, six days per week to erect this facility to exact specifications. As owner Joe Leonard recalls, “The process with DC Building was actually enjoyable, which is kind of rare with contractors.” While other contractors had focused on the negative, our own expert Dustin arrived for a walk-through, and explained how DC Building could create their dream barn.

Morgan Hill Monitor Horse Barn Builders

From the Classic Equine stall fronts to the all-wood Dutch and breezeway doors, this barn is completely custom-made. It features a beautiful wraparound porch that serves as a relaxation space and a refuge from the summer heat. Its cedar board and batten siding make the exterior shine, while post and beam framing with heavy exposed timbers gleam on the inside. Our client Joe was impressed with DC Building’s creative finishing work, which included custom-made doors, and cedar trim boards placed in alternating colors.

As these projects show, our California barn builders enjoy working closely with clients to create the perfect structures for their properties. Contact us today to arrange an initial walk-about for your California property.

Understanding Barn Home Structural Design Options

While building barn homes across the U.S., we often kick off the design process with a few basic barn types. By starting with a review of structural options, our barn builders can get a big-picture idea of which barn shapes would best suit the client. From Minnesota to Texas, barn builders in America are familiar with these common structural design options:

Shed Row Barns are simple classics. They feature a basic box design with a single-pitched roof. Shed row designs are popular for their affordability and easy customization.

Shed Rown Barn Home Builders

Monitor Barns, sometimes called Raised Center Aisle (RCA) barns, are on the other end of the barn complexity spectrum. They are named after their unique roofline, which includes a dual-pitched, triangular roof with an elevated center section. The central aisle is protected by a gabled roof of its own. As the raised center aisle is often filled with windows, RCA barns enjoy excellent circulation and natural light. For a gorgeous example of a Monitor Barn, check out the Morgan Hill Barn that our California barn builders created.

Monitor Barn Home Builders

Gable Barns have a dual-pitched roof that creates a triangular profile. This cost-efficient, straightforward design is easy to personalize with dormers and more.

Gable Barn Home Builders

Gambrel Barns may be the best-known barn design. Two distinct roof pitches—the outer pitch steep and the inner pitch shallow—create extra storage space in upper stories. This familiar barn structure dots the American landscape, making it ideal for those looking for a classic structure for their barn homes.

Gambrel Barn Home Designers

Selecting from these basic structural options is often the first step in the design process we follow with clients. However, we must emphasize our passion for custom building and barn designs. No two clients have identical experiences because each design process is customized. A DC Building design team works with each client for drafting and design meetings conducted via live web meetings. Our advanced yet approachable drafting software and cloud-based project management system allows DC Building customers to fully envision the final structure before building begins.

From Maine to Washington, barn builders from DC Building are passionate about creating stunning structures for our clients. Whatever you imagine, we can make it a reality! Contact DC Building today to learn more.

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]

Advantages of Post and Beam Construction for Barn Designs

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Custom Barn Homes with Living QuartersRather than using dimensional lumber, heavy timbers are used in post and beam construction. In this elegant, time-tested building style, vertical posts are anchored to concrete piers. Horizontal beams transfer structural loads to the vertical posts. The whole structure is held together with steel gusset plates or wooden joints, and the posts are secured to the foundation via steel anchors. While this construction approach dates back to ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman architecture, it continues to be popular for homes, barns, and other structures, due to the following advantages.

Post and Beam Construction: Benefits for Barn Designs

Stronger Framework Opens Up Interior Spaces. In a post and beam building, fewer supports are needed, due to the strength of the timbers. This allows designers to create expansive, breathtaking interior spaces

Timely Construction. The simplicity of post and beam construction allows barns to be erected quickly. Assembly is accelerated because there are fewer structural joints overall. Moreover, infill panels can be pre-constructed offsite and added to the building in a snap.

Easily Customizable Floor Plans. Post and beam structures have no load-bearing walls. The timbers do all the work. This allows you to choose exactly where you’d like to place walls, horse stalls, doors, windows, and whatever else you’d like in your custom barn home.

Indeed, because the interior walls may be made of any material, they can be mobile, assuming this requirement is included in the barn’s initial design. Imagine moving walls into place to create an additional stall, or removing walls to make space for large gatherings. This wouldn’t be possible with dimensional lumber construction.

Opportunities for Custom Touches. Connectors are key in post and beam buildings. They join together the posts and the beams, and the beams to each other. We are happy to work with clients to create custom connectors. For instance, at the Last Chance Ranch barn in West Linn, Oregon, we worked with our client to create custom knee brace connectors, which add visual interest inside and outside the barn.

Extraordinary Strength. Post and beam construction is rooted in early Oriental architecture. This construction approach would eventually sweep the globe, partially due to its inherent strength. Some medieval post and beam structures are still standing. (Indeed, some would say Stonehenge qualifies as post and lintel form of post and beam design.) Post and beam structures are often the only buildings left standing in the wake of hurricanes and earthquakes.

Natural Elegance. Exposed beams create a visual rhythm that most people find appealing. Wood is known for its innate warmth, and the airy interior spaces of post and beam construction resonate with beauty.

We have built post and beam structures all over the nation, in 24 different states. Whether you’re looking for a commercial or residential structure, with or without equine amenities, we can create a stunning post and beam edifice to your exact needs.

5 Reasons to Add a Dormer to Your Custom Barn Home

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Barn Homes Gable DormersDormers are vertically oriented windows that are located within the roof’s slope. When proportional to the roof, dormer windows add undeniable charm. Seventeenth-century French architect Francois Mansart originally invented dormers to skirt Parisian height restrictions. By pairing steep rooflines with “roof windows,” Mansart was able to create the circulation and natural light required for an additional story of sleeping quarters. Indeed, the word dormer comes from the French verb dormir, meaning “to sleep.” Dormers continue to enjoy popularity four hundred years later. Let’s take a look at the advantages of adding dormers to a custom barn homes.

Custom Barn Home Design: Dormer Benefits

Brighter interiors. Dormer windows add interior light without requiring additional square footage.

Spacious upper stories. Mansart turned uninhabitable attics into bedrooms by adding dormers. His roofline windows increased usable interior space. Today, dormers may serve as cozy reading nooks, or charming bump-outs for beds.

Exterior interest. Dormers can draw the eye toward favored architectural features. Their placement may also balance otherwise bulky, awkward elements. For instance, twin dormers can balance a heavy entrance portico while drawing the eye to the front door.

Increased air circulation. Particularly in the summer months, upper stories can be stiflingly hot. Dormers create a more comfortable atmosphere by allowing for improved circulation.

Introduce New Roofing Materials. Dormers are a great way to feature attractive new materials in a barn home design. A copper dormer roof can create visual pizzazz, for instance.

Dormers are excellent avenues for adding character to your custom barn design. Our custom design team is happy to work with you to create the ideal dormers for your barn home plans. There are many dormer styles to fit your family’s personality while complimenting the barn home’s surroundings. Contact us today to discuss the best dormer placement and style for your new custom barn home.

Wedding Barns: A Perfect Event Space You Might Not Have Considered

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Wedding Barns by DC BuildingWedding planning can be tricky. Determining a wedding location is one of the first questions that every couple must answer. It’s not always easy to find an attractive room in a stunning setting that’s capacious enough to hold a few hundred guests. For summer weddings, it may be possible to rent a gorgeous outdoor location, but what if the weather turns unexpectedly? Ideally, a wedding venue should offer covered space, a charming atmosphere, and plenty of elbowroom. Wedding barns fit the bill perfectly.

Wedding barn builders can create lovely spaces for ceremonies and receptions. The simplicity of barn construction makes it a snap to erect a spacious, charming building exactly where you want the ceremony and reception to occur. Wedding barns offer the perfect union between nature and elegance, between country chic and old-fashioned charm.

Aesthetic Advantages of Wedding Barns

  • Create the space you want. Renting a farm barn for a wedding can be a pricey hassle. Farmers may not consider the logistical accommodations that your ceremony requires, such as ample parking, strong electrical capabilities, and space for catering and prep. Given these practical headaches, many brides and grooms opt to hire event barn builders. When you engage a professional to build a wedding barn, you can rest assured that all of your needs will be covered, so that you can relax on your big day.
  • Wedding Barns by DC BuildingEnjoy a Relaxed, Rustic Atmosphere. The shabby chic wedding trend isn’t going away any time soon. Guests appreciate the informal feel of a barn wedding. Barns and open country make for stunning wedding pictures. It’s easy to entertain everyone with outdoor games nearby. And the farm setting brings to mind the old country dream of growing old together, while making a place for yourself and your family. In our modern era, many couples appreciate how a farm setting harkens back to yesteryears, when a new couple put down roots for future generations.
  • No need for extravagant decorations. The rustic charm of a barn makes for endless visual interest. No need to jazz up the space—your guests’ eyes will be delighted with the exposed beams and warm wood siding. Wedding pictures can be taken in surrounding fields. For those who would like to create a magical scene, there is always the option of a flower canopy, with your favorite blossoms hanging from the ceiling.

Event barn builders can create breezy spaces for other special occasions as well. Though weddings are the most popular event for custom barns, corporate retreats, birthday celebrations, and any number of other soirees can also shine with a barn as a backdrop.

What is Your Ideal Barn Design? Features and Structural Styles

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Gambrel Barn

A Gambrel Style Barn

When it comes to barn designs, we can offer custom creations or pre-designed packages. Across all of the barns we’ve built, there are certain recurring structural styles. In today’s post, we’re taking a look at the features and attributes of structural layouts we’ve worked with over the years. If you’re dreaming about potential barn designs, read on to discover a few basic formats that can serve as the backbone of your dream barn.

Gables. If you appreciate classic style, gable barn designs could be your best bet. Gables boast dual-pitched roofs that come to a central point, for a triangular structure. We can add dormers for more flexible second-story designs. The timeless appeal of gables is only strengthened by this barn design’s cost efficiency.

Monitors represent a classically American barn design style. Imagine a simple gable triangle with an additional raised section running down the middle. A second gable roof protects the elevated monitor section. Many of our clients place generous windows in the monitor, for added natural light.

Gambrel. The traditional red barn most people envision is of gambrel design. Gambrels continue to enjoy popularity, as they feature generous head room on upper stories. A gambrel barn roof features two pitches. An external, steep roof pitch is combined with a shallow central pitch, to create a more rounded profile with plenty of extra storage space.

Shed Row barns are easily adapted to any property. They are the simplest option for housing equines and their nourishment. A shed row barn is comprised of a simple box, with a slanted roof. There is no central pitch on a shed row barn—instead, the roof slants downward in one direction only. We can add a covered entry walkway to create protection in damp locales throughout the Pacific Northwest.

At DC Building, we are passionate about building barns with personality. The design structures listed here are a great place to start with your next barn project—but don’t be afraid to add personal touches! Our designers are happy to work with you to create the perfect barn for your family.