All posts by Eris Creative

Accessorizing Your Pavilion or Pergola Kit

There are many ways to spruce up your outdoor space, but arguably none as striking as adding a timber frame pavilion or pergola kit to your backyard. With a heavy timber pavilion or pergola kit, you not only have the opportunity to elevate the look of your outdoor space but the ability to enjoy your backyard in any season. At DC Structures, we partner with America’s best suppliers of outdoor living accessories to provide our clients with everything they need for their pavilion and pergola kits. If you’re looking for an all-inclusive outdoor living space, our designers can incorporate your chosen features into a pavilion or pergola design that’s just right for you.

Learn more about some of the outdoor living accessories we offer through Weber, Necessories, Cal Flame, Timber Pro UV, and many more.

Fireplaces & Fire Pits

Bring the charm of a cozy campfire into your backyard space with an elegant fireplace or fire pit from one of our trusted suppliers. Whether you plan to roast marshmallows with the family or keep extra warm in the winter months, a fireplace or fire pit makes an exciting and practical addition to any pavilion or pergola kit.

BBQ Grill Islands

No summer party is complete without traditional barbeque, whether that be hot dogs, hamburgers, steaks, or the classic corn on the cob. Make your pavilion or pergola kit the perfect barbequing area with a BBQ grill island or stand-alone grill.

Outdoor Kitchens

Add some utility to your pavilion or pergola kit with a complete outdoor kitchen built into your space. With refrigerated storage for your food and drinks and prep center cabinets for easy kitchen tool access, you can truly make the most of your outdoor entertainment area.

Patio Heaters

Pavilion and pergola kits aren’t just useful for the spring and summer months – they’re meant to be enjoyed year-round! If you’re looking for ways to keep your outdoor space cozy and comfortable in any season, consider investing in patio heaters for your selected kit.

Natural Wood Stain & Finishes

If you have a certain aesthetic in mind for your wood framing elements, we offer a variety of natural wood stain and finish options from Timber Pro UV to help you achieve your vision. From transparent options to heavily pigmented colors that make a bold statement, you can choose from dozens of premium color selections to create your desired appearance.


Ready to get started on your pavilion or pergola project? Request a free quote today or give us a call at (888) 975-2057 for more information.

Part II: The Lumber Surge Explained & What This Means for DC Structures

Like every home builder, DC Structures has had to adjust its pricing to match supply and demand as a result of the lumber surge. However, there are a few unique ways we’re able to keep costs reasonable for clients while adhering to desired timelines and ensuring our clients have only top-quality lumber for their projects.

One of the most important things to note about the lumber surge is that the materials in high demand right now are dimensional lumber and engineered wood products. This includes several lumber products that we use in our pre-engineered building kits, including:

(Photos of TJI Joists & LVL-I Joists: Weyerhaeuser)

  • OSB Plywood: Otherwise known as oriented strand board, OSB plywood is a conventional sheathing material we often use for our subfloors, roof, and wall sheathing
  • TJI Floor Joists: These are lightweight joists, or structural components used to create a rock-solid floor framing system, made from engineered wood.
  • LVL Joists: Similar to TJI floor joists, laminated veneer lumber is an engineered wood joist used for floor framing. We frequently use LVL joists in our building kits, especially when a building has multiple floors.
  • Architectural Glulams: These are engineered wood products designed with an appearance-grade surface. This material is not as in demand as the others.

While these lumber products are driving up the cost of our pre-engineered building kits, we don’t experience the same problems as other home builders when it comes to supply. This is the case for a few reasons.

For starters, a lot of home builders buy from retail lumber yards, which are currently experiencing major shortages in dimensional lumber and engineered wood products. Because they purchase lumber as needed, this means many builders are facing lengthy delays in the material acquisition process. This leaves their clients in a less than favorable position, with many forced to extend their project timelines past their desired move-in date.

At DC Structures, however, we benefit from buying large quantities from our mill-direct suppliers. Due to the volume we purchase, we can get in-demand lumber products that other home builders simply can’t and with quick turn-around times. We’re also fortunate because we have a huge lumber market here in the Pacific Northwest and we have several ways to acquire premium quality lumber for every project. To put it plainly, we don’t have the shortages we’re seeing in other markets and can continue business as usual when it comes to procuring material.

Another thing that’s unique about us is that we primarily rely on FOHC Select Grade Douglas fir timbers to frame our pre-engineered building kits. Our heavy timbers are considered to be a niche item in most conventional structures, with standard homes utilizing faux or box beams instead. The size of our timbers is also uncommon for light-frame construction. Because the most in-demand wood products right now are dimensional lumber and engineered wood products, this puts us in an extremely favorable position with lumber mills here in the Pacific Northwest and allows us to source the finest heavy timbers at competitive pricing for clients.

Lastly, our prefabrication method makes it possible for our team to save clients time and money during construction, as every piece of framing lumber is prepared ahead of time to facilitate a lightning-fast assembly process. Our prefabrication process also takes far less labor than any conventional build and results in less noise, waste, and dust on your job site.

 
So while there’s no telling when lumber prices are going back to normal, our team can ensure our clients have the best deals on the market and the best results for their dream home.

If you’re interested in learning more about our commitment to keeping costs down during this time, get in touch with one of our design specialists today!

The Difference Between Timber Frame and Post and Beam Homes

Known for their stunning craftsmanship and unparalleled warmth, heavy timber residences are some of the most sought-after home designs for today’s homebuyers. Yet, you may be surprised to learn that most people can’t tell the difference between the two of the most popular styles for these homes – timber framing and post and beam construction.

Timber framing and post and beam construction are centuries-old building methods that utilize large heavy timber posts and beams to create the frame of a structure. The walls of the building are placed on the outside of the frame, creating a beautiful interior characterized by exposed structural timbers and high ceilings. Because these methods are similar in style, it can be difficult to distinguish one from the other. To the trained eye though, it’s easy to determine which is which by simply paying closer attention to the detail in one’s space.

The key difference between timber frame and post and beam homes lies in the method used to secure the frame’s joinery. While post and beam homes employ metal fasteners and connectors, both exterior facing and hidden, to join its heavy timber posts and beams, timber framing relies on wooden pegs only to create a rock-solid frame. If you’re having trouble visualizing how this works, just think of timber framing as Legos, in which all the pieces are designed to fit perfectly with one another.

Since timber framing is very labor-intensive due to the precision and skill needed to execute this style, timber frame homes are also much more expensive than post and beam homes to build. This is partially why the majority of timber frame homes being built today utilize a combination of timber framing and conventional building methods to achieve the same look and feel at a lower cost. These types of timber frame homes are commonly referred to as hybrid timber frame homes, which is the term we use to classify our line of timber frame homes.

Ultimately, the decision to invest in a timber frame home or post and beam home comes down to how you want your interior to look and feel. If you’re looking for a stately home with dramatic interior spaces, a timber frame home would likely be a great fit for you and your family. If you’re interested in a home with plenty of flexibility and classic style, a post and beam residence might be a perfect option for you. Regardless, timber frame and post and beam homes are timeless designs that are guaranteed to stun any guest and last you and your family a lifetime.

If you’re looking for the perfect heavy timber home for your property, be sure to check out our line of timber frame and post and beam home kits today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apartment Barn Kits For Family & Financial Gain

The way Americans view their living spaces has been upended with the recent explosion of the shared economy. This trend–exacerbated by the fact that nearly 30% of American adults ages 18-34 stay with their parents–has given rise to an entirely new definition of a roommate. Formerly dormant bedrooms and living spaces can be transformed into lucrative endeavors, for those bold enough to forego privacy for profit. New, hybrid buildings are constructed every day to reflect patterns of flexible, small-scale living.

Thankfully, the team at DC Structures has evolved in lock-step alongside these recent developments, with the growth of our apartment barn kit product line. While the idea of a bespoke living space above a garage was once an upper-class luxury, we here in the Pacific Northwest have designed and built these gorgeous and affordable structures nationwide for over 15 years. Chances are, we have a project in your neck of the woods. Check out our gallery to see what we can create for you and your family.

If you were considering a new garage or mixed-use building for storage, take advantage of our trusted team of project specialists and designers and consider an apartment barn for your property with living space above for extra income or the occasional visitor. You could even be so generous as to host a lingering son or daughter, or use it yourself to finally carve out that special space for your hobby or workshop.

At DC Structures, we won’t just send you your materials package and head for the garage door – we are partners for the duration of your project long after completion. We know that by using our sturdy post-and-beam style of construction, combined with a durable mix of cedar and Douglas fir materials, your garage with living quarters kit will be built to last.

Let us help you create a heavy-timber style apartment garage built for the 21st century. We’ll share the expertise; how you use your structure is up to you. From shared living space designs for paying guests, to stunning wraparound decks and exterior staircases that overlook your property, DC has the versatility and experience to handle the most ambitious of projects.

For a simple overview of our design and procurement process, visit our process page.

Oregon’s Old Mill District

The Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon draws thousands of visitors a year from all around the world. Shops, art galleries, and music venues now occupy what was once home to the two largest sawmills in the world.

The Shevlin-Hixon Lumber Company established a mill in 1916 on the Deschutes River’s west bank, with another mill built by the Books-Scanlon Lumber Company on its east bank shortly after.

This mill confederate dominated Bend’s economy for 78 years. At one point, the companies were two of the largest pine sawmills in the world, operating around the clock with more than 2,000 workers producing 500 million board feet of lumber a year. 

Bend’s population leaped from 536 in 1910 to 5,414 in 1920. By 1930 the city’s population was 8,821. Twenty years of heavy logging created massive deficits in the surrounding forests. Up to 200,000 acres were cut down indiscriminately. The Bend Chamber of Commerce addressed this issue with the mills, but these warnings fell on deaf ears, eventually leading to official closures in 1983.

Balanced harvesting practices have drastically altered timber framing. Deforestation nearly destroyed the concept. Old growth in Northwestern coniferous forests are iconic natural attractions. Enjoying the great outdoors is something every builder, designer and sales associate values here at DC Builders. You don’t need to be from the Northwest to understand this. That’s why we provide kits that emulate these ideals, along with sustainable practices.  

The Deschutes cabin was named for the very river which the Old Mill District sits on. It emblematically represents the balance between progress and sustainability because respect is an inherent virtue above all else. The 776 sq. ft. floor plan gives you an opportunity to haul more manageable pre-engineered components anywhere a 4×4 can go.

 

Stillwater: The Perfect Small Barn Home Kit

The Stillwater is a small barn home kit that’s based on a custom structure we designed for satisfied clients in Oklahoma. DC’s designers created a typical modern-style small barn home kit configuration with a lofted bedroom hovering gracefully above a spacious open living area. A straightforward floor plan like this, requires very little thought as you move through its design and building phase.

A sturdy post and beam sub-floor complements a parallel chord roof truss, creating a dynamic open living space. The window wall in this small barn home kit brings generous amounts of light, where every square inch is basked liberally. Double-pane windows provided by Andersen cancel unwanted noise, without compromising insulation.

The vaulted ceiling stands at an impressive 25 ft. high, commanding a triumphant presence on any property, no matter how small the structure. This modern small barn house kit’s lofted bedroom occupies the space above in perfect volume. You won’t find a cozier night away from the hustle and bustle.

This kit also features two dozen high-quality doors. The combination of cedar and Douglas fir is a prime coalescence between excellent hand craftsmanship and intuitive design. You won’t find a more approachable barn home kit like the Stillwater. However, we won’t be bashful to say you should give it a try!

In fact, this makes transporting the pre-engineered materials package a breeze, thanks to the Stillwater’s minimalist floor plan. No other barn home kit in the DC arsenal offers a more seamless blend between convenience and durability.

Looking have a kit built ASAP? Check out these simplified living plans that offer an array of big ideas for small living.

Post-and-Beam Kits Made Easy

The 2008 financial crash necessitated unsettling change amongst many businesses across the country. When we came up with DC Structures, we wanted to accentuate an approachable and comprehensive process inherently featured in post-and-beam kits, without sacrificing aesthetics and high quality.  

The process most kit companies put people through can be a nightmare. Most will simply drop off your pre-engineered components without so much as a follow-up email. Every step in the DC process has been carefully and methodically thought out to avoid any inconsistencies.

One key tool provided by our team are 3D isometric design instructions. These are unique in that many companies don’t provide them to their clients because it’s viewed as an unnecessary feature.

Too often builders assume clients cannot grasp the construction process behind their own structure. We think this is disingenuous. Everyone should have the material needed to build their own structure—even if it’s just a gesture.

What’s novel about these instructions are their accessibility, made specifically to be interpreted by anyone. Each page incorporates detailed illustrations surrounded by precise measurements, access points for joinery and scheduling for parts.

Everything from the knife plates down to nail placement, are accentuated in effortless detail, and organized chronologically like any other technical manual. Offering 3D isometric instructions provides even the most amateur of builders a pathway to success.

 

The Legacy: A Premier Wedding Barn Kit

Wedding barn kits

Legacies are built from the traditions left behind by those who are led by a desire for something better. This is what our designers wanted to capture in our largest wedding barn kit. The Legacy fuses some of the best wedding barn projects we’ve been involved with. Every feature has been carefully chosen to create an ideal place not just for weddings, but for any event.

A 12’ x 40’ shed roof detailed using western red cedar fascia adds sophistication and class, resting among a string of custom chandeliers. Guests and families are taken in by a covered entryway, supported by a beautiful, handcrafted heavy timber truss. Two cupolas sit atop a traditional American monitor barn, basking natural lighting into the main event space.

The Legacy’s backbone is a post-and-beam monitor barn, reinforced by Douglas fir heavy timber posts. This floor plan includes both bride’s and groom’s quarters, a catering kitchen, an office, and a grand hall—everything you need to launch your wedding and business events. 

Ready to explore your wedding and event venue options? Request a free digital catalog today!

The Oakridge Barn Kit: A Popular & Flexible Design

apartment barn kit

The Oakridge is our most popular apartment barn kit. Named after a sleepy country town located between Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley, this kit’s function is as dynamic as it is humble. The Oakridge building kit has gone through many different renditions, with the same durable post-and-beam frame, that are wonderful composites of our clients’ imaginations. What makes this kit popular beyond its five available sizes is the synergy between the main level’s utility and the loft’s open-concept livability.

Below are three excellent examples of the Oakridge that span a variety of uses and themes.

This Oakridge 60’ garage with living quarters in Bend, Oregon has a 48’ x 60’ frame nestled among the arid desert sage of Central Oregon. Above the multi-use, drive-through RV garage, is a lavish two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a huge open-concept kitchen, living, and dining area. Outside, 600 sq. ft. of partially-covered deck flows into and around the master suite and main living area. The deck and the garage doors are the two most distinguished alternative features on this rendition of the Oakridge 60.’

The 60-foot version of the Oakridge isn’t the only size option for this kit. This quiet piece of property in Cornelius, Oregon has a barn with living quarters based on the Oakridge 36’. Unlike the Bend configuration, this Oakridge’s main level boasts two horse stalls, two stalls for the dogs, and a tack room. Two shed dormers were kept intact for additional space. On the second floor sits 1,080 sq. ft. of living space, replete with guest room, full bathroom, office, living room, and kitchen. Nantucket dormers supported by handcrafted timber trusses hang over the residence as a testament to our craftsmanship.

The smallest, more scalable option, is our Oakridge 24’. These clients in Damascus, Oregon did an amazing job showing us what you can do with 1,214 sq. ft. of floor plan. We worked closely with them to create this perfect getaway, a party barn fit for both work and play. The breezeway on the main level sits between two sliding barn doors, making this an ideal spot for summer parties and events.

These variations are just a sample of how flexible we can be. More importantly, it further demonstrates why we give our clients so much autonomy when it comes to drafting their designs. The designers will be yours from the beginning, because a kit shouldn’t limit you; options and upgrades are not an issue. Have your pick of siding, dormers, stairs, stalls, whatever you desire.

Ready to get serious about your own building project? Request a free quote today.

Say Yes to Barn Home Kit Dormers

dormers

Heavy timber architecture done right can make any structure look like an old German fairy tale. There is something honest about an exposed joinery, and the smell of freshly shaved cedar or fir. But sometimes there are limits; times in which elegance must intersect with a designer’s pragmatism.

Shed dormers are used fairly indiscriminately throughout our barn home kits. They help facilitate additional space in a building’s second story. Oftentimes they get a bad reputation for being ugly afterthoughts; band-aids for last minute attempts at fixing lost space. This is definitely not the case with us.

What makes a structure inelegant doesn’t come down to specific features. Every building’s elemental variable should feel intentional. A lazily-placed shed dormer can end up as an eyesore. Done correctly, however, it can be a beautiful confluence of practicality and beauty.

Shed Dormers and Gable Dormers

Shed dormers or “dustpan dormers” are characterized by their single-sloping roofs. A proper dormer should provide an average amount of headroom and space for windows. Keeping the dormer proportional in relation to the rest of the roof is the key to maintaining a more elegant look.

There are many different types of dormers included in our barn and barn home kits, although these usually incorporate one of two styles. The first, and most common, are gable dormers. These are smaller, more compartmentalized extrusions that reallocate water away from second-story windows. Usually they’re placed in rows of three, four, or even five, rather than as one solid mass.

The main type of shed dormer you see included in our kits is what’s called a Nantucket dormer. Multiple gables in one solid subscructure conjures much more space than gable dormers. Hybridizing these two elements looks and functions better than the typical fully-supported shed dormer.

Of course, there’s no denying the level of space offered by a shed dormer. We use them repeatedly in some of our more popular kits. Check out our new Pineridge, a slightly different variation of our Oakridge kit. Like the Oakridge, each size option includes two shed dormers. These play important roles in establishing and maintaining enough space in the upstairs living quarters among each variation—especially the Pineridge 24’, a no-nonsense two-story post and beam building design aimed at maximizing efficiency.

Ready to take the first step toward building your dream barn home? Request a free quote to get started today.

How Urban Growth Boundaries Can Affect Your Property

urban growth boundaries

Now more than ever, more people are moving from both rural and urban areas—a trend that is slowly redefining urban growth boundaries everywhere. The allure of city living has dwindled over the past five years in exchange for a life in the suburbs. Similarly, those in rural areas who are financially able are moving closer in, as well. For example, economic analyst Jared Kolko discovered a 30 percent increase of college educated populations in nonmetropolitan counties, all around the Pacific Northwest and Idaho. These two opposing trends will inevitably cause a time for flux in urban growth boundaries.

Living outside an urban growth boundary comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. An urban growth boundary is usually decided by a city or metropolitan area. Depending on where these municipalities draw the line can cause serious comparative disparities in land value. Farmland can be valued at 10 times less than similar land merely feet away. It’s important to know where these boundaries are, and what policy trends are occurring.  

You can either save or lose money depending on your intentions. The addition of new infrastructure on your property will increase its value no matter what. It’s a much better route than renovating an old pre-existing structure. Click here for more information about the pros and cons of new construction versus renovation.

Check an updated version of your closest city’s urban growth plan, and find out where your prospective land is in relation to it. Studying policy trends in the past to see how you could be affected later, can help gauge how future decisions on increasing the boundary will be made. Being conscious of these factors can make or break a property’s market value.

Seclusion has been a key attraction for rural living, the price one might pay if land falls too close to an urban growth boundary. Cities can retroactively justify expanding infrastructure near or around your property if it was set aside into a rural reserve. This annexed land around your home can be used for any kind of development. So be sure you are staying privy to the projects being proposed in these areas before buying property as well.

Not many cities in the U.S. adopt urban growth boundary policies. Those that do are typically places where the lines between urban and rural blur. Examples of these places can be found in Portland, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Seattle, Washington. DC Structures knows firsthand the headaches of city planning, and the amount of government regulation that accompanies it. Staying on top of recent trends in rural-urban migration and city planning can make a huge difference when assessing land for your structure.

Ready to take the first step toward building your dream structure on your dream property? Request a free quote to get started today.

Finding a Barn Kit Contractor

general contractor

Barn raising was the go-to construction method during the 16th and 18th century in the United States. Community members from all around would converge on a farmer’s property to aid in post assembly. Specialists in joinery were outsourced and paid while community members worked unconditionally. This typically wasn’t an issue considering these were resource driven economies. Back then, a good relationship with a farmer was all one needed.

Although we don’t work for free, we do believe in establishing and nurturing good relationships. Some barn kit companies will simply pre-fabricate your dream and drop it off without any consideration for what is required afterwards. You obviously can’t rely on your neighbor anymore. That’s why we take the time to extend into our networks, and find you the perfect contractor in your area.

Building a lego style tool shed or a desk from Ikea is one thing. Constructing a 18,359 sq. ft. riding arena is another. Many companies will boast about on-site handcrafted joinery, cooper mortises and custom cedar railings, and then ship it out on trucks where they unload these materials and expect you to do the rest. Not us. A project is never complete unless we know every detail is taken care of from start to finish.

It isn’t simply a matter of rudeness, it’s also about safety. Finding your own contractor is a process in itself. Lacking proper networks can result in a never ending hunt for quotes. Even after your final selection, there’s still no assurance you picked the right people without knowing their official track record. Many contractors hire employees with limited to no experience in construction. Post and beam or heavy timber frames require a specialized touch you simply can’t find in many places. Worrying about structural integrity shouldn’t be an issue one wastes energy on whatsoever with our structures.

Luckily we have been in this business for a long time. Our history in construction is riddled with positive testimonials stretching back a decade. Looking at reputation is the best way you can avoid flippant subcontractors and inexperienced builders. Our time spent in this industry has also cultivated a strong relationship with many, top notch independent contractors.

If we can’t find an independent body, our parent company DC Builders will always be there to help. They operate much like an in-house resource. Having such a resource so close eliminates any deviations from consistency during the building process. It shows just how committed we are to making you know that you’re part of a broader community. Because even after your project is built, you can expect our follow-up team will be giving you a call.

Questions You Should Ask A Contractor

Are they doing it themselves or hiring a subcontractor?

A subcontractor isn’t an actual employee of the contractor you hire. Often times they can be people with little to no experience. Contractors enlist out of convenience making the trust between contractor and subcontractor very thin. Anyone we work with very rarely deploys subcontractors onto your property.

Are they bonded?

This is different than a license. Being bonded means the contractor has ownership of anything that might go wrong with your property if the structure is compromised in any way. Think of it as  another insurance policy on your building.

Do they have proper licensing?

You can see if your contractor is properly licensed here.