Posts Tagged ‘Barns with Living Quarters’

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]

Why More & More People are Building Barndominiums

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Newnan Barndominium“Did you grow up in a barn?” For kids growing up in barndominiums, the answer to this question is a hearty, “Yes!” Barndominiums are barns with living quarters attached. In some parts of the country, such as Texas, many homeowners prefer barndominiums to conventional homes. Indeed, in certain communities, barndominiums, or barndos as they are affectionately called, are more popular than traditional houses.

Barndos may feature stalls, workshops, living quarters, and storage areas, all under one roof. Some barndominium owners delight in waking to the sound of horses whinnying for their breakfast. Others use the extra space for in-home workshops. And many open up the large barn area for social gatherings.

Why are barndominiums so popular? Here are a few attractions that Texas barn builders can offer by building these modern barns with living quarters.

Benefits of Barndominiums

  1. Quick Construction. Barndominiums can often be built in a fraction of the time required for traditional homes.
  1. Bang for your Buck. Barndominiums tend to be more cost-effective than conventional houses as well. Indeed, barndominiums may be half as expensive as traditional homes! This is partially due to the metal construction that’s commonly used to create barndominiums. Barndo owners may use the money they saved on construction to add a pool, an airy kitchen, or other luxury features.
  1. Exceptional Energy Efficiency. Oftentimes, barndominiums feature foam insulation that’s sprayed in for a uniform layer of thermal protection. Compared to conventional fiberglass insulation, foam insulation tends to be far more energy efficient, making many barndominiums extremely energy efficient as well.
  2. Flexible Space Use. The metal framing of most condominiums allows owners to locate walls wherever they’d like. The external load-bearing metal walls do the heavy work, so there are few or no restrictions on where internal walls may be placed.
  1. Enjoy a strong connection to nature with the luxuries of modern construction. There’s nothing like country quiet to bring peace, tranquility, and self-discovery. Many barndominium dwellers are city transplants looking for a place to enjoy nature in comfort. Barndominiums fit the bill perfectly.

In general, barndominiums often feature soaring interior spaces. Many builders focus on an industrial style, with exposed metal and beams. Here at DC Builders, we have enough expertise in the barndominium field to offer customization to our clients. We can design and build your barndominium to match your personal style. Call us today to learn more.