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Determining the Right Foundation for Your Home

There are many important decisions to be made during the design phase, but arguably none as imperative as choosing the right foundation for your home. As the support system for your building, you want to be sure the type of foundation you select provides optimal durability and protection year-round, especially in the event of extreme weather conditions or natural disasters. While the type of soil, slope, and location of your building site will ultimately determine the foundation you can have, it’s always helpful to understand the different types of foundations available to home buyers and the pros and cons associated with each one. If you’re planning to build a custom home from the ground up,  here’s what you need to know about some of the most common foundation types and the factors that might affect your final decision.

Slab Foundations

Slab foundations are ideal for clients seeking an easy and affordable solution for their structure. Otherwise referred to as a concrete slab foundation, a slab foundation describes any foundation created by pouring concrete onto the ground. At DC Builders, we typically offer two types of slab foundations – monolithic slab and stem wall foundations. The primary difference between these options lies in their installation method, as monolithic is poured in one go while stem wall is poured in multiple stages.

Monolithic Slab Foundations

Between the two slab foundation types, monolithic slab foundations – or slab-on-grade foundations – are the cheapest and simplest option you can select for your structure. This type of foundation is also considered a low-maintenance and energy-efficient alternative to a basement or crawl space foundation, making it an excellent choice for homebuyers hoping to minimize their monthly energy bills. However, there are a few downsides related to this type of foundation that are important to consider.

For instance, all of your plumbing and electrical work is built underneath the slab in a monolithic slab foundation, which means a professional will have to break through the concrete to access your hookups if you begin experiencing issues with your drainage or wiring. On average, these repairs cost between $3,500 to $6,500, according to HD Foundations, Inc. However, some homeowners can end up paying upwards of $10,000 or more depending on the severity of the issue.

Another important aspect to consider with monolithic slab foundations is that there are more limitations to where you can build them. For instance, monolithic slab foundations are not feasible in areas susceptible to flooding or ground freezing because of the increased risk of cracking during freeze-thaw cycles. Monolithic slab foundations are, however, best suited for land that has already been leveled or one with very little fill dirt required, considering monolithic slabs can crack easily if the soil is not properly compacted. This makes monolithic slab foundations ideal for clients planning to build on a subdivision or developed land in relatively mild climates like Oregon or Washington.

Stem Wall Foundations

In instances where a monolithic slab foundation isn’t feasible or recommended for your property, stem wall foundations can be a great alternative. Compared to a monolithic slab foundation, this is a much better foundation method for several reasons.

For starters, stem wall foundations are typically several feet high as opposed to several inches. This design not only gives your structure a striking elevated look but helps protect your building from flooding and other environmental hazards, particularly in coastal regions. This type of foundation is also used for sites where a lot of fill dirt is required and is generally more stable. This is because stem wall foundations rest on concrete footers and exterior walls, leaving the inside portion open aside from the addition of piers. With fill dirt added to the interior section, this offers another layer of protection for your structure.

Additionally, this design allows easy access to plumbing and electrical hookups so clients can fix any problems as needed without jackhammering their concrete slab. The only setback is that stem wall foundations take longer to build and are generally more expensive upfront than monolithic slab foundations. That said, stem wall foundations are perfect for clients seeking an exceptionally stable foundation adaptable to their site and needs.

Basement Foundations

Basement foundations are commonly found in colder climates like the Midwest and Northeast regions. However, there are plenty of reasons to build a basement foundation outside their ability to handle brutal winters and storms. From increased square footage to providing extra strength for your structure, basement foundations are worthwhile investments that add value and functionality to your building. DC Builders typically offers both full basement foundations and daylight basement foundations. The decision between the two largely depends on your site, as either option benefits different properties.

Full Basement Foundations

A full basement foundation is ideal for clients living in climates susceptible to extreme weather storms like blizzards and tornadoes. This type of foundation is typically dug eight feet deep or more into the ground and built with concrete structural walls that rest on footings installed below the frost line. This construction method not only protects your foundation from cracking or buckling during ground freeze but also keeps your structure rooted firmly to the ground. As a result, you can enjoy a foundation that preserves its strength and stability over time — all while providing you and your family with a haven in unfavorable conditions.

Another bonus of building a full basement foundation is being able to enjoy an extra level of living space below your existing floors. While some homeowners choose to utilize their basement area for storage, many end up insulating their basement to use it as a man cave, private office area, or guest bedroom. With a basement foundation, clients can also benefit from easy access to all their plumbing and electrical hookups. This makes the process of repairing any drainage or electrical issues much easier for you and your repairman, as you can assess any issues by simply walking downstairs as opposed to having to crawl through your foundation or jackhammer your concrete slab foundation.

Something else to keep in mind with basement foundations is that this foundation type is one of the more expensive options available, especially if you decide to condition your basement area. In addition to construction costs, you have to factor in how much you want to spend monthly on energy bills, as finished basements will increase your heating and cooling expenses. Because basements are built into the ground, this foundation type is also more susceptible to flooding. However, with proper drainage solutions in place, you can prevent your basement area from potential flooding.

Daylight Basement Foundations

Similar to a full basement foundation, a daylight basement foundation is traditionally dug eight feet deep or more into the ground and anchored by footings placed below the frost line. The main difference between these two foundation types is that daylight basement foundations have one or more walls that open to the outside and are often designed with windows or doors that allow natural light to pour through the space. Commonly referred to as walk-out basements, this foundation type is perfect for clients planning to build their structure on a hillside or sloped lot, as one or more walls can be built into the hillside while walls on the descending slope offer stunning property views.

As with full basement foundations, clients who decide to build a daylight basement foundation can enjoy an entire level of living space in addition to their main residence, plus the bonus of having a naturally well-lit basement. However, it’s important to note that this foundation type is the most expensive option of all, considering there’s a lot more site preparation and construction that goes into building a basement on a sloped lot. In terms of cost, clients can expect to pay about $20,000 more for a daylight basement foundation than if you were to have a full basement foundation. That said, the decision between the two depends on what you plan to do with your basement area and if you’d prefer to take advantage of your property views from every level.

Crawl Space Foundations

Crawl space foundations are the standard for most conventional homes in warmer climates. This elevated foundation type is made of short concrete walls that are typically four feet tall and rest on concrete footers. In comparison to stem wall foundations, crawl space foundations may seem similar, as both utilize concrete walls to form the perimeter support system and piers for structural support. However, the primary difference is that the top layer of a crawl space foundation is created with wooden floor joists while a stem wall ceiling is made of a concrete slab.

Crawl space foundations are slightly more expensive than concrete slab foundations to build but offer several benefits for homeowners that monolithic slabs do not. For instance, crawl space foundations are ideal for clients in areas susceptible to flooding or earthquakes due to their raised elevation and resilience to ground shifting. Their design also allows clients to easily access their utilities if any issues arise, considering the space between the footings and floor trusses provides enough room for someone to crawl under the home and inspect their hookups. Crawl space foundations can also be built on a sloped property with little excavation or site preparation required, making them a cost-effective investment for clients with sloped lots in hotter regions.

That said, crawl space foundations are not well insulated and can harbor pests if not properly maintained. This type of foundation can also trap moisture, which might lead to issues associated with water damage. For this reason, clients should consider adding insulation and waterproofing solutions to their crawl space foundations as a means of minimizing issues related to water damage and reducing their energy bills.


No matter what foundation type you choose for your structure, DC Builders is here to help you make the most of your investment. If you’re looking for something different than our standard foundation offerings, our team can design any type of foundation out there and is able to model your building around your selection, so long as it meets your local building codes.

Ready to get started on your project? Give us a call at (888) 975-2057 or request a quote today!

Why You Should Build a Timber Frame Home

It may surprise you to learn that timber framing is one of the oldest building methods still practiced today. In fact, timber frame construction is said to date back to the Neolithic times, with timber frame buildings appearing across continents nearly 12,000 years ago. While modern-day timber frame homes have changed drastically from those built thousands of years in the past, many of the qualities that made these buildings desirable throughout history remain as reasons to build a timber frame structure today–chief among them being their structural integrity, efficiency, and enduring beauty. If you’re debating whether or not to invest in a timber frame home for your property, here are a few characteristics of timber frame structures to consider as benefits for your build.

Structural Integrity

Aside from its attractive heavy timber aesthetic, perhaps the single biggest reason why timber framing has persisted to this day is because of its unparalleled durability. Timber frame construction relies on large heavy timber posts and beams connected by mortise and tenon joinery and other traditional and decorative joints to secure the frame of a structure. Due to the combined strength of the heavy timbers and joinery, a timber frame building is able to withstand extreme amounts of pressure and, in many instances, even natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tsunamis. According to Timber Framers Guild, the frames of a timber frame building are so strong that they can remain standing after 300 years.

As an added bonus, timber frame homes do not require load-bearing walls to support the upper floors and roof, as the heavy timbers and joints used create a durable building system that doesn’t need extra supports. As a result, homeowners can arrange their layout however they please and enjoy wide-open interiors throughout their home.

Ease of Construction

Similar to post and beam construction, all of the heavy timbers used to frame a timber frame structure are pre-cut, labeled, and drilled to precision prior to arriving on a job site. This method of prefabrication ensures that every piece of framing lumber is ready to be assembled and no additional on-site work is required. Since timber framing traditionally uses wooden pegs to join heavy timbers, any skilled framing crew is able to construct the frame of these structures with ease and often in record time compared to conventional builds.

Energy Efficiency

Timber frame homes are energy efficient by design, as wood is considered to be one of the best renewable building materials on the planet. As a naturally insulating material, wood creates a thermal envelope that protects against temperature transfer between the interior and exterior of a building. Wood also improves air quality by absorbing and releasing moisture in the air to maintain equilibrium. This means you’re not only able to enjoy a cozy indoor environment in all seasons, but also see significantly reduced power bills for heating and cooling.

Additionally, the development of new insulation techniques has allowed timber frame homes to reach new heights in terms of energy efficiency, namely through the use of structural insulated panels. Otherwise known as “SIPs,” these high-performance building solutions are engineered to create an impermeable barrier that prevents air leakage for superior insulation and comfort. When added to the design of our timber frame buildings, SIPs succeed in creating an air-tight envelope around the structure and help us meet high-performance building codes.

Flexible Design

As mentioned earlier, timber frame homes boast wide-open interiors due to the fact that these structures don’t require load-bearing walls to support the frame of the structure. This allows homeowners to create a floor plan that perfectly suits their needs and vision. Since the walls of the structure are typically positioned on the outside of the frame, homeowners can also enjoy exposed heavy timbers in their living space and even design entire rooms around their timber centerpieces. With our vast heavy timber supply, clients can choose from a variety of select-structural grade lumber for their timber frame design, including builder-favorite Douglas fir, Western red cedar, and redwood. We source the finest heavy timbers from our mill-direct connections in the Pacific Northwest to provide clients with the best and highest quality options for their distinct build.

Timeless Appearance

Last but certainly not least, timber frame homes are widely beloved for their meticulous craftsmanship and rustic charm. Considered to be one of the most beautiful architectural styles in existence, timber frame residences are designed with an abundance of stunning details that make them endlessly fascinating for occupants and visitors. From their structural and decorative trusses to their seamless timber connections, timber frame homes showcase the best attributes of your building in every aspect and make excellent family homes that homeowners can be proud to pass down to subsequent generations.

If you’re interested in learning more about our timber frame capabilities, be sure to get in touch with our team today by calling 888-975-2057 or sending us a note!

For clients seeking an existing timber frame design, be sure to check out our sister company DC Structures’ line of pre-engineered timber frame home kits.

Why Wedding Barns Will Bring Big Payoffs in 2021

With more than half of U.S. states issuing statewide lockdowns in an effort to minimize the spread of COVID-19, millions of Americans are grappling with the fact that they will have to postpone or cancel social gatherings and travel plans until restrictions lift. The disruption to everyday life has caused thousands of businesses to suspend operations in the interim, with many major industries dealing with setbacks beyond what they anticipated for spring. Of these major industries, one of the biggest to experience a wave of postponements is the wedding and event planning industry.

With the majority of the country being forced to stay inside, springtime weddings are officially cancelled until further notice, with many couples postponing their wedding to later in 2020. To put the number of cancellations and postponements into perspective, recent surveys estimate that 6.5% of couples are cancelling their weddings, 28% are moving their date back to later in 2020, 22.5% are postponing until 2021, and 43% have yet to decide what they will do. While this means wedding industry professionals will likely take a huge hit to profits this season, these statistics suggest that the $54.4 billion wedding industry is gearing up to see an overwhelming amount of bookings in late 2020 and 2021. Likely more than they can handle.

Anyone in the wedding and event industry knows that couples typically book their wedding reception site at least nine months to a year before their date. With the majority of couples being forced to postpone their wedding date, this suggests that those who haven’t booked their venue yet will need to start their search as soon as possible if they plan to marry in 2021. Experts say that because of these postponements, the market for weddings is anticipated to look very different in the next 12 months. The expectation is that popular venues and florists will be snapped up quickly, leaving millions of couples to continue the search for their ideal wedding destination, and weekday weddings, brunch events, and smaller weddings will see a steady rise in popularity as venues struggle to keep up with demand.

This presents a considerable opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to break into the wedding and event planning industry in 2021. With millions of couples looking ahead to next spring for their big day, wedding venues can expect a big payout in coming months that will undoubtedly make up for lost profits this spring – our clients’ wedding barns included.

At DC Builders, we’ve designed dozens of beautiful wedding venues across the country that cater to the needs of today’s bride and groom. Built in the reliable method of post and beam construction, our wedding barns feature wide-open main halls characterized by their soaring ceilings and exposed heavy timbers sourced from the Pacific Northwest – perfect for any bride and groom seeking a uniquely romantic venue for their big day. Furthermore, our flexible design capabilities make it easy for our clients to craft the perfect wedding barn for their clientele, whether that be an intimate reception venue or an elegant wedding barn with an all-encompassing design.

As nontraditional wedding venues continue to grow in popularity, we anticipate that the demand for countryside ceremonies will see an unprecedented high in the next year. If you’re considering investing in a wedding barn of your own, there’s no time like the present to start building your structure and no better team to work with than DC Builders.

Request a quote today if you’re ready to launch your event business!

Project Preview: Sandy Foursquare Home

As the nationwide leader in one-of-a-kind wood structures, we’re constantly working on several projects all over the country. From custom wineries in Oregon to all-encompassing wedding barns in Tennessee, we’re known for designing some of the most versatile all-wood buildings in the nation; and this beautiful custom home in Sandy, Oregon is no exception.

Currently, DC Builders is finishing construction on an American Foursquare home located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. This 2,853 sq. ft. residence features an open concept living, dining and kitchen area that are partially separated by half walls on the first floor, as well as a private study and walk-in pantry.

Upstairs, our clients can enjoy four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a spacious third-story attic that they intend to use as an entertainment room for their kids. A pagoda-style dormer was added to create additional headroom in the attic area.

Inside, you’ll find a number of special design details including Craftsman style built-ins, custom in-lays, and box beam ceilings in line with the traditional interior of many Foursquare homes built between the 1890s and 1930s.

While vastly different from our traditional barn homes, this custom home displays a number of our signature markings throughout. This includes stained wood trim around the windows and doors, as well as cedar lap siding and fascia sourced from the Pacific Northwest.

Stay tuned for more photos of the finished project this spring!

Considering investing in a custom home for your property? Be sure to request our digital catalog today to learn more about our customizable barn and barn home kits.

Tips for Living in a Small Space

Not everyone dreams of living in a big mansion. People who choose to live in small spaces have a variety of reasons for doing so, whether that be finances, desiring a minimalistic lifestyle, or simply not wanting to clean five bedrooms and bathrooms at a time. As tiny homes and co-living spaces grow in popularity, even those who are not self-described minimalists are warming up to the idea of living with fewer things. If you’re considering downsizing your home, here are some ways you can make the most out of living in a smaller space.

Ignore the Rules

Forget everything our teachers taught us and throw the rulebook right out your second story window. One of the best ways to thrive in a small space is to look at everything you currently own and assess how it could best function within each room. For example, a desktop computer in your bedroom can double as a television. A couch and coffee table in your living room can transform into a cozy dining table for two. Even your shower rod could turn into an indoor clothesline. It’s all about using your creativity to make the most of what you’re given. That, I’m sure, your former professors can appreciate.

Use Multifunctional Items 

When you’re living with fewer items, it’s essential to maximize on the multifunctionality of everything in your space. Storage ottomans and cabinet drawers are a few examples of areas in your home that can help you stay organized and keep personal items stored away. Depending on the size of your home, you may want to consider investing in a wall bed so you can make the most of your living area during the daytime. Another testament to multi-use living is seen in garages with attached living quarters, where owners can work by day in their garage and utilize their living space at any time.

Say Goodbye to Clutter

One of the greatest benefits to living in a small space is learning to de-clutter. Often, home owners with more space will cram memorabilia and unnecessary junk into any unused room in their house, namely their garage and closets. Sometimes it can get to the point where people have accumulated so much junk, they don’t even know how to start removing it. With a smaller living space, you’re forced to consider every new purchase or decorative item and the value it brings to your home.

Look at Everything As If You’re Moving

If you were to move into a tiny living space today, what items would you bring and what would you get rid of? Think about it, because this is the exact mentality you would need to have while living in a smaller space. When visualizing the layout of your small home, look over everything you currently own to determine what should stay or go. Guaranteed you’ll feel better once you do!

Find a Home for Everything

Not everything you own will fit seamlessly into a smaller living space. Your beloved pool table and grand piano will most definitely have to go if you plan on purchasing a tiny home or small apartment. However, this doesn’t have to be a negative thing. The main purpose behind the process will be to show you what is most important in your life as opposed to what simply exists for added entertainment.

For more helpful tips on de-cluttering your space, be sure to visit this article from Good Housekeeping that will help you maintain an organized, minimalistic living area.

How to Organize a Garage or Workshop

Keeping your garage or workshop clean can be difficult, especially if you’re working in the space on a daily basis. While it’s tempting to toss a bunch of junk and memorabilia in the garage, as it is to leave tools and materials lying around a workshop, consistently tripping over your vinyl records doesn’t exactly make for the most productive workday. Instead, it’s important to take a strategic approach to organizing your garage or workshop so you can maximize your time and ensure the success of your projects. Here are some ways you can make the most of your space while keeping it clear of chaos.

The Deep Clean

Doing a deep clean of messy garages and workshops isn’t as intense as it sounds. Often times, it just means starting with the smallest things first and working your way up from there. This step is for people with garages and workshops in disarray who might need a little motivation to start the cleaning process.

Organize

One of the best ways you can start your deep clean is by making piles for items you want to keep, throw away, or donate. This helps you better understand what you need so you can design a space centered on making these important items more accessible. Luckily, there are plenty of places in every city that welcome donations, regardless of what the item may be. If you’re looking to donate specific supplies, we recommend checking out this article by Consumer Reports that details where to donate heavy-duty items like appliances and building tools.

Relocate

Some items you choose to keep simply shouldn’t be stored in a garage or workshop. For instance, pet food should be relocated to an area of your house where pests can’t easily break into it. Similarly, propane tanks can be ignited by vehicle sparks and thus should not be stored near your vehicle. It’s important to critically think about how each item functions in your garage or workshop, and decide from there if it works in the space or needs to be relocated.

The Floor Plan

Another great way of keeping your garage or workshop organized is by drafting a floor plan that outlines where everything will be stored in the space. This is especially helpful if your garage and living space are joined. Noting the location and dimensions of doors, outlets, and windows is recommended so you can plan to keep those areas clear of any blockages. Otherwise, here are some helpful tips for designing your floor plan:

  • Categorize items and put them in the same spot so you know where to look for certain supplies.
  • Place items used often near the doorway, this way you can easily access them once you start your workday.
  • Put seasonal and other rarely used items in the areas hardest to access.
  • Store bulky items in areas away from vehicles so they won’t get damaged

The Storage

When working in a smaller structure like a workshop or garage, it’s important to have plenty of floor space. For this reason, it’s crucial to invest in shelves and storage bins to ensure messy piles don’t collect on the floor of your workspace. It’s generally recommended to purchase clear, stackable bins so you can easily spot out the items you need and be able to keep them stored together.

 

 

Should You Buy a House?

It goes without saying – buying a home is a major decision. Even people who have saved up for years question whether or not it’s the right time to purchase a home, especially in a market where housing prices are record high. And while it can be a confusing and difficult process, buying a home can also be a very exciting time. If you’re on the fence, here are some basic things prospective homebuyers need to consider before buying or building their own home.

You Feel Ready

It may seem like common sense, but listening to your gut is sometimes the best way of realizing whether or not it’s the right time to buy or build your own home. Societal pressures such as getting married or having kids can often override someone’s sense of self-awareness, but it’s crucial to make decisions according to your own comfort. So ask yourself, is this something you want to do because it aligns with your goals or is it something you feel you need to do in order to be accepted by others? If it’s the latter, maybe it’s time to take a step back and try to re-evaluate what your priorities are. I guarantee it will give you a better sense of clarity than following a how-to guidebook on adulthood.

You Are Financially Stable

Again, it’s common knowledge that you should be financially stable before buying or building a home, but you might be surprised to discover the many factors that go into purchasing a home, such as your credit score, job security, and savings.

Do You Have a Good Credit Score?

According to NerdWallet, a credit score of 620 is typically the minimum that mortgage lenders will accept for homebuyers. Sometimes lenders will go as low as 580 or below, but it’s more likely you’ll be approved for a loan if your credit score is between 680 and 740. Paying your bills on time and keeping balances low on credit cards is a great way of raising your credit score.

Is Your Job Secure?

Sure, you may have a really good job with a great salary and benefits, but is it a guarantee that job will last forever or otherwise propel you into the next job if you get laid off unexpectedly? Prospective homeowners need to consider if their consistent source of income will be just that – consistent. Even if you have enough savings, it’s essential to make sure you’ll have a steady income to keep up with monthly home payments.

Do You Have Savings?

People seeking to buy or build a home should have a great deal of savings before finalizing their purchase. Savings are not only necessary for a down payment, but will also act as a safety net to protect buyers and their homes in case of any unforeseen emergencies. Losing your job and natural disasters are some of many circumstances that make savings key before deciding to purchase a home.

Home Ownership Aligns With Your Long Term Goals

Some people dream of traveling the world, while others envision settling down and buying a home near family and friends. Prospective homebuyers should determine if they plan to keep their job long-term and if the location aligns with their vision for the future. Other factors to consider are your current family size, if you plan on having more kids, the type and size of home you will need, and the lifestyle you want to live. If you still have dreams of traveling the world or living in several cities over the next couple years, buying a home is probably not the best decision for right now.

If you’re still interested in buying a home, but feel like you need more information before finalizing your purchase, we recommend reading this article by Bankrate that discusses the home buying process in depth and the Forbes 2019 real estate forecast.

The Millennial Love Affair With Barns

There’s something to be said of a generation consumed by technology and innovation, yet obsessed with rustic spaces in the countryside. The trend is better known as barn-chic and it’s apparently all the rage with millennials. More so than ever, millennials are choosing barn wedding venues over traditional church settings, or generally incorporating rustic elements into their living spaces. While it may seem contradictory, millennials are definitely on to something by blending rustic design with contemporary spaces.

Barn Weddings

As mentioned earlier, more and more millennials are forgoing a traditional church wedding for one in a barn or ranch. However, this is not to be confused with a typical barn full of hay bales. Instead, these weddings are taking place in faux barns specifically designed for modern weddings. These faux barns are often decorated with brass lamps and faded couches from boutique rental companies and feature other rustic touches with a contemporary twist, such as mason jars with tea lights in place of old-timey candlesticks. The appeal is that barn weddings blend rustic with elegant touches in a way that makes each ceremony feel more personal. Essentially, it’s the experience of marrying in a luxury barn with an intimate design that appeals to millennials – not so much saying “I do” while your horse looks on.

Barn House Design

While sustainable design seems to be the frontrunner of all interior design trends adopted by millennials, barn home interiors are quickly climbing their way up the ladder. Thanks in part to Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” who popularized the idea of barndominiums, millennials have started to add more rustic décor to their living spaces to give it a barn-like feel. This can take the form of installing a barn door on the master bedroom closet or using reclaimed wood to spice up a dull white wall. When you think more about the trend itself, it makes a lot of sense – people like contemporary styles, but crave the sense of warmth and nostalgia that rustic décor brings to a space.

Upcycled Priorities

There’s no doubt about it – there’s an innate charm connected to barns. There’s something about them that reminds most of family and a slower pace of life, which might further explain why millennials could be obsessed with barns in a time where everyone needs instant gratification. More so than that, barns are near and dear to millennial’s hearts because they feel aligned to their sustainable, environmentally-friendly priorities. With renovated barns nearly breaking the internet, millennials are finding purpose in taking a decrepit barn from the ’30s and turning it into a dream residence. Even if they’re simply taking a barn door and incorporating it into their modern living space, it’s the idea of upcycling that appeals to millennials and thus makes barn-style décor such a hot commodity.

Raising Kids Who Aren’t Afraid to Play Outside

In an age where toddlers use iPads and smartphones to watch Doc McStuffins, it can be difficult for parents to motivate their children to play outside. It used to be the case that kids would gather their neighborhood friends for cul-de-sac soccer and basketball games on a daily basis. Nowadays, the average child spends about five to eight hours a day in front of a screen, opting for video games and television shows instead of rollerblading down the block. And while technology isn’t necessarily bad for children, studies show that spending plenty of time outdoors helps kids and parents lead happier and healthier lives. If you’re struggling to get your kids off the couch, here are some helpful tips that might just do the trick.

Lead By Example 

Many parents today are scared of their children playing freely outside, and for good reason. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, kids could run off with friends without their parents even questioning where they might be. There were no cell phones or Google to answer any parental questions. Instead, parents turned to Dr. Spock as the only guide to child-rearing. These days, the challenge is that parents know too much, and therefore are too afraid of letting their kids roam the neighborhood unsupervised. However, if you want to raise kids that aren’t afraid of going outside and getting dirty, you can’t be afraid of it either. One of the best ways of combating this fear is by exploring some of your favorite outdoor spots with them. Have a favorite hike? Take them with you! There are plenty of family-friendly outdoor activities you can do together. It just requires making that extra effort to find somewhere in nature that the whole family can enjoy.

Make It Regular

Much like making the bed or putting on a seatbelt, getting your kids into the habit of playing outside is essential for their well-being and growth. If you find that inspiring them to love the outdoors feels like pulling teeth, it might be time to sign them up for sports activities or nature clubs.

Take Lessons

This can come in the form of rock climbing classes, horse riding lessons, or even signing them up for a little league sports team. Any introduction to the outdoors can be an eye-opening experience for a child, but it’s best if you can make it a part of their weekly schedule. If your kids are interested in horseback riding, we recommend getting them into an arena.

Join a Club

If your child doesn’t like sports, no need to worry. There are dozens of after-school activities that cater to every kid’s natural curiosity about the great outdoors. One of the most famous and fun organizations for young explorers are the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America. The best part is that parents can be involved in group activities as well, making it a great opportunity for you and your kid to bond while camping in the woods. The National Wildlife Foundation is also an incredible resource for parents stumped on where to find nature clubs in their area. They frequently host gardening and tree planting activities in different cities around the U.S.

Give Responsibility

There’s nothing more valuable than giving kids the opportunity to be responsible for something so they can see firsthand the impact of their efforts. When I was growing up, this took the form of caring for a caterpillar and watching it grow into a butterfly in my first grade class. At home, this can mean showing your child how to garden and take care of their plants. For tips on how to encourage your kids to get into gardening, be sure to visit this article from Country Living.

Demonstrate the Value

Parents can demonstrate the value of outdoor activities by making their kids feel like they accomplished something important at the end of each adventure. For instance, if you take a three mile-long hike with your 8-year-old, you can demonstrate the value in this by giving them kudos for navigating a trail at such a young age. Or if your kid tends to a vegetable garden and sees their plants growing tomatoes, you can show them the value of their hard work by using those ripe tomatoes in a delicious recipe. As we’ve noted before, garages and workshops are also the places where hands-on trades, collection-based hobbies or active outdoor lifestyles find their homes. It’s important to show your child that their contributions to nature matter, and discover new ways of incorporating regular outdoor activities that add meaning to their lives.

Embrace Spontaneity

While it’s ideal for children to be involved in regular outdoor activities, sometimes the best kinds of activities are those that aren’t planned. As mentioned earlier, it used to be the case that neighborhood kids would get together for activities on the block, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be that way again. If a kid in the neighborhood asks your kids to play basketball, let them! It’s healthy for children to make connections with kids in the neighborhood. And who knows? Maybe that neighbor kid will turn out to be their lifelong best friend.

 

Why Living in the Country is Better

There’s always a trade-off when it comes to where you decide to live. City dwellers often sacrifice clean air and cheaper rent for endless job opportunities and easy public transit while rural residents abandon convenient access to popular shops for sprawling green pastures. Urbanites may argue that country folks have the short end of the stick, considering there are less conventional entertainment options in a rural setting, but research shows that people living in the country are generally happier than those living in a city. If you’re questioning your decision to live in a city, here are some reasons why country living might be a better fit for your lifestyle.

More Space

In expensive places like San Francisco and Manhattan, the average median home price is a whopping $1.2 to $1.3 million. In rural areas, you’re not only able to find a home for about a quarter of that price, but can acquire quite a bit of land along with it. And with that extra square footage comes more space to do the things you want, like own horses or build a workshop in your back of your property. City dwellers are lucky if they get a fraction of the backyard space.

A Sense of Freedom

In addition to paying less for more land, homeowners in rural areas have little restriction on what they can and cannot do on their property in comparison to those living in the city. Property development in metropolitan areas is restricted by more stringent local and regional codes, often making it difficult to build on your existing property. So even those who have the luxury of walking to work or the grocery store won’t be able to enjoy the same privacy and agency as someone living in the country. However, there are still some restrictions, even in the most rural areas. It’s important to read up on the property laws in your individual city and state before planning your next construction project.

Access to Nature

One of the biggest draws to living in the country is having the ability to immerse yourself in nature. Those who live in rural areas can own sizable, verdant properties surrounded by lush trees and rivers – a scarce occurrence in concrete jungles. Rural residents can also enjoy the peace and quiet that less populated areas offer. Instead of hiding out in your bathroom to get some much needed alone time, those living in the country can simply go outside and look up at the starry sky as a means of de-stressing. Another plus is having access to organic, fresh food grown on nearby farms. While city dwellers have the convenience of fast food restaurants and farmers markets at their fingertips, country folks are able to buy locally-sourced meat, fruit, and vegetables without paying big city prices.

Community Bonds

Lastly, living in the country means getting to know your neighbors and everyone else in the community on a more personal level. It’s said that less crime occurs in rural areas because people know everyone in the community and are generally better at looking out for their neighbors. More than that, neighbors in a rural setting have to be able to rely on one another. They’re often more open to making new friends, while city dwellers have a hard time just talking to their next door neighbor of many years. And if someone knocks on your door at 10 p.m. at night, it’s likely a friend hoping to hang out, and not necessarily a murderer!