All posts by Eris Creative

Planning for Solar Panels on Your Barn Home Kit

solar panels

Solar is the fastest growing alternative energy source in the world—a trend most would have dismissed as a fluke 48 years ago. That’s because photovoltaic systems back in 1970 were wildly expensive, costing around $70 per kilowatt an hour. Today, you pay significantly less at just 12 cents an hour per kilowatt. The overall price for kilowatt hours has dropped more than 10 percent since 1980. If these trends continue, analysts believe solar will inevitably contribute 20 percent to total energy consumption in the United States by 2030.

It’s easy to see why solar is one of the best disruptive technologies out there, and why an increasing number of homeowners are opting to make the switch. While we ourselves do not manufacture solar panels, we can definitely help you get set up with some when you go through the process of designing a barn home kit with us.

Here are some things you should consider before retrofitting your barn house building kit.


Sixty percent of households don’t have sufficient roofing infrastructure to support solar panels.

One standard 60-cell residential solar panel can weigh between 40–50 lbs. Powering a house efficiently will require the majority of your roof’s surface area, in order to properly aggregate enough power to the inverter and into your battery bank.

A good night’s rest comes courtesy of our homegrown Pacific Northwest timber. This wooden material is handcrafted onsite and cured using a process that denotes longevity. If you don’t mind sacrificing a little open space in the vaulted ceilings, the installation of extra support beams can reinforce the weight of the panels. We also recommend tweaking the roof pitch for maximum sun exposure. Check out our Flex Design option to learn more about how to further customize your kit!

How Much Does Solar Cost?

The average gross residential cost for solar panels before factoring in tax credit reductions can hover between $16,800 and $30,000. Sleek solar products like Elon Musk’s powerwall and solar roof can cost $12,000 to $15,000 for a 2,000 sq. ft. home. The powerwall, a highly efficient and discreet battery system, will add another $3,000 to $6,000 depending on your needs. However, sticking with conventional solar panels is still the better option at this point in time.

Simplicity is a universal philosophy amongst our rustic designers. For a 3,000 sq. ft. home with a $200 monthly power bill, a conventional 8.5 kW system would only cost $26,000 to install. At this scale, Tesla’s photovoltaic cells would only be able to produce 6.25 kW at a $60,000 price point, giving you less for more.

Tax Credit Reductions

Federal tax credits for solar last year saved the average individual $5,000. A tax credit is a dollar for dollar reduction of the price you pay for installation. 30 percent is the current reduction rate. Eventually, this rate will drop to 26 percent in 2020. A trend which will continue to fall unless Congress chooses to renew the program’s reduction policy. With only one year left, applying for these reductions before installation would be the most prudent move you could make.

What is Net Metering?

Net metering protects the energy you generate onsite from being abused by utility companies. If a utility company overuses the power you contribute to the grid, then you’re entitled to reparations. Running your meter backwards will result in credit that can be used on your next electrical payment. Each state is different depending on where you are. Be sure you do some research before turning your kit into a self sufficient off-grid mecca.

Ready to take the first step toward designing your dream home today? Request a free quote to get started!

Outdoor Wedding Pavilion ‘I dos’

outdoor wedding pavilion

Weddings are notoriously expensive events for many families and would-be couples. Minus the honeymoon, the average cost for a wedding in the U.S. bounces between $19,182 and $31,970. Still, this is a formative event; a day that sets the tone for many years to come. After all, lasting wedding day impressions are easily made through atmosphere and setting alone.

Our wedding barns demand a certain respect, as they’ve become great investments for property owners and event planners alike. But like weddings, they’re expensive. Several have homes all over the country, with the largest of our portfolio hosting gorgeous weddings and events in Arrington, Tennessee. And while wedding barns make for a spectacular day of ‘I dos,’ the same caliber of ambiance can be accomplished with a thoughtful outdoor design—all at a fraction of the cost.

Outdoor weddings have climbed the ranks to become a formidable alternative to traditional church ceremonies. With more people opting for an idyllic natural setting, taking steps to enhance your scenic property can pay dividends for your business. Timber-frame pavilions are a great option for bringing your outdoor space up to par.

A good structure, like any marriage, should be measured by its dynamism, as well as its durability. Outdoor pavilion kits offer an intimate feel without breaking the bank. Designed in our signature post-and-beam style, our pavilion kits are a symbol of longevity—the significance of which transcends its practicality.

But a good structure, like any marriage, should also be measured by its utility and resilience. In other words, our pavilions make for great outdoor spaces long after vows have been exchanged. Between covered kitchens and outdoor fire pits, or special occasion gathering spaces for clients to rent, there’s no shortage of uses for these classic all-wood structures.

Ready to take your wedding and event property to the next level? Request a free quote to get started today!

Buying Land for Your Barn Kit: Tips & Considerations

buying landThis is a fascinating time in rural America. There are more young people looking to embrace farming and more sustainable lifestyles; living closer to nature and growing food for consumption or sale is becoming more attractive to this segment of the population. Those who want to make a change in their lifestyle can find it difficult to get the land they require for their purposes. Land access has been known to pose significant challenges for farmers getting started, according to a survey conducted by the National Young Farmer’s Coalition. Finding the right piece of land and making sure it suits a buyer’s objectives takes considerable time and effort in many instances.

In addition to talking with local farmers and asking questions, the following tips can help those buyers interested in buying land for a barn kit or similar structure.

Working with the Right Real Estate Agent

Not every agent specializes in the type of details applicable to farming, such as water rights and soil types. Finding a suitable agent makes it easier to become more informed on issues like easements and zoning. Buying land in rural areas can become hard to navigate, making it worthwhile to find an agent experienced in the buying and selling of land to be used for barn kits or other similar structures. While many people aim to hold onto land for a long time, it is good to have the peace of mind that it can be sold quickly and effectively years from your original purchase.

Buying Land with Existing Infrastructure

Existing structures, such as outbuildings, fencing or equipment, may change a potential buyer’s investment. An owner may find that a piece of property has additional assets, such as irrigation pumps or fenced pastures, which can serve to reduce costs and make it more affordable to farm the space. It is important to perform due diligence when considering any potential property suitable for a barn kit.

Performing a Site Evaluation

Visit the site a few times during escrow to evaluate the site and determine its suitability to meet specific needs. Some aspects to consider include:

  • Slopes which may impact management options;
  • Sunlight exposure for specific crops;
  • Flood zones; or
  • Microclimates as a result of being located in a valley.

Looking at the various features of a site and how they might impact the building of structures and the productivity of the land is necessary prior to having a successful farming venture. This all goes into assessing the land and any resources provided on it and can help buyers plan out their first year after purchasing a property. How the land will be used and the types of animals and crops that could do well on the space are necessary to know before selecting and buying land for a barn kit or to use for farming.

Reading the Fine Print

Are there any encumbrances or easements on the land? Prior to making any purchase, carefully read all attachments and the complete title report. Discuss any incongruities with a title officer. Easements, such as power, road and irrigation easements, may require the attention of a lawyer. Understand who may come onto a property. Taking steps to learn more about easements can reduce the potential for undesirable surprises later.

Knowing Local Zoning Laws

What a buyer plans to do with a purchased property might make them eligible for special programs which may reduce the accompanying property tax. In some cases, purchased land used for exclusive farm use may be eligible for unique tax assessment programs. Changing from active farming to not farming the land can allow a property to fall out of such programs. Speak with a county tax assessor to learn more about the options and any limitations for use or development as it applies to a property’s zoning status.

Making the Dream a Reality

More people than ever before are interested in living a lifestyle surrounded by nature. The call for some is strong and the addition of useful and practical structures can help property owners make the most out of their new space. High-quality structures at DC Structures can be integrated with existing structures on a property and potentially boost property value.

Ryan Tollefsen is a realtor and team leader at Unity Home Group, Keller Williams Realty Alaska. To read more from this guest author, visit the Alaska Real Estate Blog.

Level Up With A Timber Frame Pavilion Kit

If there’s one thing most people can agree on, it’s that time spent in a beautiful outdoor setting is never time wasted. The average adult’s morning consists of the kind of chaos that seems to be an unavoidable precursor to the daily dance of shuffling kids to school and racing to work so they can stare at a screen for eight or more hours. If you’re exhausted just reading that run-on sentence, then chances are high you are more than familiar with this scenario.

While time unplugged in the great outdoors is always good for the soul, there are always steps you can take to enhance the outside space in your own backyard. A timber frame pavilion creates a tantalizing outdoor atmosphere that is wonderful for hosting friends and family. Whether it’s utilized as coverage for your patio, a shelter for your hot tub, an outdoor kitchen or a fire pit, all-wood pavilions are beautiful structures that add value to your property.

DC Structures designs and assembles stunning timber frame pavilion kits for customers all over the U.S. While people have their reservations about the quality of a pre-engineered building package, our pavilion kits are anything but blasé. Our collaborative pavilion kit design process entails making sure that the pavilion we design will mesh seamlessly with existing structures on the property. Further, they are designed using the Pacific Northwest’s finest heavy timbers.

If you’re ready to transform your outdoor scenery into a cozy place for unwinding and entertaining, download our digital catalog and start planning for your space. Or, if you’re ready to get started sooner, request a free quote!

What’s the Deal With Barn Kits?

barn kits

The word ‘barn’ comes with a lot of connotation, and so does the word ‘kit.’ When taken together these two words can make for a negative view of barn kits, and a fundamental misunderstanding of the value they can provide. Further, there’s a tendency to pigeon hole barn kits into a specific category, which makes the broad applications of these versatile structures relatively unexplored.

Building kits can be simply defined as pre-engineered materials packages, consisting of wet-stamped blueprints and the necessary construction materials for a project. These packages are builder-friendly and construction-ready, making it easy for your chosen contractor to turn the kit into the finished product.

Other benefits of barn kits include cost efficiency and sustainability. The process for designing a pre-engineered package helps to minimize unnecessary costs associated with construction projects. Additionally, engineers’ meticulous calculations about which building materials will be needed for the kit make them inherently sustainable due to their lack of wasted or excessive construction materials.

Barn kits range in style, size, price, use and quality, depending on which company you choose to be your barn kit design and assembly partner. The important thing to remember is that not all barn kits are created equal, and some barn kit companies are better suited for the job than others. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal goals for the construction project.

DC Structures specializes in the design and assembly of high-quality barn kits that are easily modified to meet a variety of lifestyle needs. Contrary to what their name suggests, barn kits are not just for livestock. While our flexible selection of barn kit designs are well geared toward horse barns and facilities for other animals, that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all the barn kit’s possible uses.

Over the years, we’ve helped clients transform our standard kit models into elegant barn homes, practical apartment barns, RV garages, workshops and more. Don’t let the word ‘barn’ throw you off, because our use of the word in this context refers to the stylistic elements of our package designs that pay homage to the classic barn aesthetic. More so, it’s a nod to the post-and-beam construction method that forms the backbone of our signature style.

Post-and-beam barn kits are designed to last for several generations if given proper attention and upkeep over time. In addition to longevity, the use of timber-frame construction methods makes for highly customizable layouts and detailed craftsmanship. This makes DC Structures’ barn kits and objectively better investment than many of the kits being offered by our competitors.

If you’re going to put your money toward something as monumental as a new home, garage, workshop or barn, shouldn’t you feel confident in the return on your investment? If you’re ready to take the first step toward enhancing your lifestyle with a new barn kit design, download our digital catalog for inspiration. Ready to get started today? Request a free quote to get the ball rolling!

Rustic Inspiration: Barn Home Ideas

The barn home is a classic house design with a timeless aesthetic. With their throwback features and exposed wood finishes, barn homes can be otherwise thought of as houses designed in the style of barns or barns converted into living spaces. While barns may call to mind farm-related images such as livestock and dirty boots, the reality is that these types of homes are well suited for elegant personalized touches. When designed with a commitment to long-term durability and fine craftsmanship, barn homes make for great investments. Here’s a look at some of our favorite barn home interiors to give you a better idea of how barn living translates to a luxurious house that you can call home.

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If you’re ready to get started on your own barn home project, request a free quote today!

Room With A View: Planning For A Window Wall

window wall

Nothing brightens a room like natural light shining through a big window, but what if you could amplify that effect? The addition of a window wall means you can make the most of your outside view, whether that’s a stunning outdoor landscape or a bustling urban scene. Further, window walls add a breath of fresh luxury to any interior space, be it a residential home or a commercial property.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, a window wall is a large expanse of glass that replaces one of a building’s exterior barriers. Window walls make for stunning views, increased natural lighting and an easy way to add to the elegance of your space. Highly customizable, these building features can span anywhere from a section of the wall to the entire exterior side. Additional personalization can be achieved by way of the client’s desired shapes and finishes.

DC Structures designs and assembles pre-engineered materials packages in the reliable style of post-and-beam construction. This building method, which is often referred to as timber framing, makes for sweeping open-concept interiors and increased structural longevity. Further, this construction style lends itself to highly customizable layouts due to a decreased need for load-bearing walls as additional structural support. From a design perspective, this makes it very easy to plan for a window wall. Of course, there are still some very important considerations to evaluate during the planning phase of your window wall project.

The most important thing to consider before adding a window wall to your building plans is the exterior barrier that you would like to replace. Positioning plays an important role when it comes to security, privacy, practicality and energy efficiency. It’s imperative that you get it right the first time, as a poorly placed window wall can easily go from classic elegance to sheer annoyance—particularly if it is subject to intense sunlight from sunup to sundown. Ask yourself if a window wall in your desired location will result in unwanted glare or natural light overload.

Smart placement for your window wall should also entail a consideration of privacy that many know and appreciate as an inherent comfort of home. For example, a window wall in the front of your home could pose both a decrease in privacy and an increase in security risk. With valuables on display in clear view, burglars could find it easier to case your home for theft. What’s even more alarming is that it could provide an unwanted assessment of your habits and vulnerabilities—which is especially concerning if you live alone. Intelligent window wall placement will keep your living space from turning into an unintentional zoo.

Last but not least, it is of high importance that the materials used in your window wall be designed with energy efficiency in mind. Windows are harder to insulate than standard exterior barriers, so the thermal performance of the windows will make a big difference in terms of energy costs and home comfort. DC Structures is proud to partner with quality window suppliers to ensure our customers’ window walls will maximize natural lighting while deflecting unwanted heat or chill. If you’re ready to get started on your one-of-a-kind home with an elegant window wall feature, request a free quote today!

When Horse Barn Kits Come to Life

horse barn kits

DC Structures has designed and assembled countless horse barn kits. From small wood barns with one to two horse stalls all the way up to large-scale equestrian facilities for boarding businesses, there’s no horse barn project outside the DC wheelhouse.

Earlier this year, we shared some construction progress photos of this luxury horse barn in Tryon, North Carolina. Starting with a Columbia 72’ barn kit, these clients transformed this floor plan into an eight-stall horse barn with a double-sized tackroom. Upstairs, a raised center-aisle loft makes way for hay storage and a viewing platform.

With construction finishing in the middle of this year, these clients and their equine friends have had a chance to settle in and make themselves at home. Check out the end result in the collage below!

Thinking about horse barn plans for your own property? Request a free quote today!

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Under Construction: Garage Apartment in Sandy, Oregon

garage apartment

At any given time, the DC Structures team is hard at work designing pre-engineered materials packages for clients across the U.S. This stunning garage with living quarters is currently under construction in beautiful Sandy, Oregon. Adapted from our flexible Oakridge 48’ kit design, this luxurious garage apartment is expected to finish construction within the next few months.

Designed with a number of practical features that add convenience to the homeowners’ lifestyle, this large, multi-use residence includes a first-floor workshop and drive-through RV garage. Upstairs sits an elegant three-bedroom home, replete with custom river a rock fireplace and a large partially-covered deck for year-round enjoyment. A rooftop cedar cupola increases natural light while heavy timber trusses and select-grade Douglas fir posts add a touch of rustic charm.

Created in the durable style of post-and-beam construction, this garage with living quarters was built to last. Our post-and-beam building kits are assembled with top-quality lumber from the Pacific Northwest. This use of untreated heavy timbers has many benefits, including structural integrity, sweeping open-concept interiors, and an elegant aesthetic. Further, it allows for highly customizable floor plans due to the fact that post-and-beam buildings do not require load-bearing walls.

The Oakridge barn design is DC Structures’ most popular-selling kit, likely due to its highly versatile layout. Wonderfully suited to serve as a multi-purpose building, we’ve seen this flexible floor plan adapted for a number of practical uses. From barns with apartments to workshops with loft offices to RV garages with upstairs living quarters, the Oakridge is more often than not the right kit for the job.

If you’re thinking about a garage with living quarters for your own property, request a free quote today. Our experience spans the contiguous U.S., and our portfolio of projects is a testament to the quality craftsmanship of our work. Whatever it is you hope to accomplish with your garage apartment design, DC Structures can make it happen.

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Flexibility for Your Vision: DC Flex Design

flex design

DC Structures made its name by designing an innovative line of prefabricated post and beam building kits. With a variety of kits ranging in size, price and scope, DC Structures prides itself in the versatility of its offerings. That said, we understand some people won’t always find exactly what they’re looking for in our selection of standard kit models. That’s why we’ve decided to introduce a little bit of flexibility to the process.

If you’ve ever looked through our selection of kits and thought it would be much better suited for your needs with a few adjustments here and there, then DC Structures’ Flex Design process is for you. Flex Design enables you to make structural changes to one of our existing pre-engineered materials packages, including changes to building height and width, as well as custom add-ons and removal of interior posts. This is in addition to the standard options and upgrades, which means even more personalization for your kit.

One of the most common alteration requests we receive from our customers are changes that add more space. Our post and beam construction method is known for creating open spaces and high ceilings, but sometimes customers want to take it a step further. Whether you’re looking to up the ante vertically or horizontally, Flex Design gives you the option to increase the height and/or width of one of our standard kit models. The owners of this barn in Fall City, Washington did just that, and now have plenty of space for their home business.

Another change people inquire about often relates to the positioning of posts within sweeping interior spaces. Post and beam construction already lends itself to spacious, open rooms. That said, sometimes an exposed post can interfere with a customer’s vision for the space. Now, with Flex Design, we are happy to eliminate posts you’d like to give the boot, thereby creating even more drastically open spaces.

Outside of changes that modify the size or interior layout, we oftentimes receive requests for minor custom touches to be added to one of our existing kits. Whether you’re looking for a custom deck like the one on this modified Columbia kit, one-of-a-kind timber framing or anything in between, the design team at DC Structure is happy to accommodate your ideas. Our goal is to design a structure that effectively meets your lifestyle needs, whatever they may be.

If you have a vision for a barn, barn home or equestrian facility you want to add to your property, DC Structures is up to the task. We’ve designed stunning prefabricated structures for clients all over the country, and with the addition of our Flex Design option, we are now equipped to better serve our customers. Request a free quote and start customizing your kit today!

From Design to Blueprints: Easy Building Design Process

easy building design process

When we ask our customers about their experience with DC Structures after the completion of their project, we often hear a similar sentiment—”the process was just so easy!” At DC Structures we take pride in our easy building design process, making every step of our client partnerships as simple as possible. It’s what we refer to as The Process, and what it means is that we will be with you at every step of the way.

The Process begins with you, and figuring out exactly what you’re looking for. If you don’t already have a kit in mind, our project coordinators will collaborate with you one-on-one to narrow down the specific features you want included in your structure. This will allow our design team to identify which of our several pre-fabricated kits will best meet your needs. After that, they’ll walk you through our countless upgrades and options that let you make your kit uniquely your own.

Once you’ve selected your kit and upgrades, our design team will get to work producing your final design and creating the blueprints for your structure. They’ll work closely with your project coordinator to make sure everything you asked for is present in the final design. Once ready, we schedule a final review with you and your contractor to make sure everyone is on the same page before moving forward with your pre-engineered building materials package.

Next, we pre-construct your structure using the finest sourced materials available, and ship the kit to your building site by your desired deadline. But, the process doesn’t end there. As an experienced and innovative construction firm, DC Structures provides building support throughout the construction process.

At DC Structures we understand that building a new barn, home, riding arena or work space is a major investment, and we do everything in our power to make sure you are satisfied with the finished product. Our process, based on principles of communication and customer service, ensures that we are as helpful to our clients as possible, and that your structure is completed with care and craftsmanship. Request a digital catalog today to begin your very own building process with DC Structures.

Dog Kennels and Other Non-Horse Barn Designs

dog kennels

DC Structures built its reputation by designing horse barns and barn-style homes, but what about spaces for your non-equine four-legged friends?

Our repertoire of projects consists of countless structures that were created to help equestrian enthusiasts care for their horses. Oftentimes, however, horses aren’t the only animals our customers own. That’s why DC Structures also designs animal barns with features for all kinds of livestock and pets—such as donkey pens and dog kennels.

Whether you care for donkeys, goats, llamas or anything in between, DC Structures has options to fit your lifestyle. From custom stalls and wash bays to innovative approaches to design that match your animal’s needs, there are thousands of solutions and possibilities.

Our most frequent non-equine animal request is for dog kennels, which makes perfect sense considering dog is man’s best friend. Just like horse lovers care for their riding companions, dog lovers care deeply for their canines. Dog owners want the very best for their pets, and DC has the experience and ability to provide it.

For example, this Powell barn kit has plenty of space and customizable options to accommodate the kinds of animals you care for. The bottom level of the barn is designed as an open workspace, and it can be modified to become a kennel barn or to include stalls for donkeys and goats. Exterior additions can also provide your animals with a place to roam outside. With an additional raised center aisle you’ll also have plenty of personal space right near your animals.

The best part about designing a custom animal barn with DC Structures is knowing that you’re getting top-of-the-line quality for both you and your animals. Our building kits are not only comfortable and efficient, they are also assembled with the finest craftsmanship, guaranteeing its longevity.

We understand that your pets and animals are a part of your family, and deserve the same level of comfort that you expect. No matter what your barn is for—Dogs, cats, goats, donkey, llamas or any other kind of animal—DC Structures can provide exactly what you need. Request our digital catalog and start planning the perfect space for you and your animals toll share.