All posts by Eris Creative

Video: West Linn Covered Riding Arena Testimonial

covered riding arena

DC Structures helps clients realize their dreams all over the U.S.—but don’t just take our word for it. Our clients’ testimonials paint a clear picture of the DC team’s enthusiastic and dedicated work ethic.

“Straight from the horse’s mouth” is an idiom that refers to information that comes from the highest authority—and it feels particularly appropriate here. DC Structures is an authority on barns and barn-style homes, but we know our clients are the highest authority when it comes to the quality of our products and services.

This client testimonial comes from Brian Sonnenberg of West Linn, Oregon. DC worked with the Sonnenbergs to design a horse barn with upstairs game loft for their Last Chance Ranch in 2010.

Not long after the barn was completed, the Sonnenbergs wanted to up the ante by commissioning DC to design an all-seasons riding arena. Starting with our standard Prairie 80’ riding arena kit, we worked with the Sonnenbergs to modify their kit into their own custom covered arena. The result is a stunning all-weather riding area that complements the aesthetic of the adjacent barn.

Hear what the Sonnenbergs have to say about this covered riding arena in the video below.

Thinking about building your own equestrian dream structure? Request our digital catalog to start laying the foundation today.

Best of Mane Street: Horse Stall Showcase

horse stall

DC Structures specializes in top-of-the-line horse barn kits, with horse stall designs that are fit for a stallion. Whatever your equestrian needs, we’ll work with you to modify your plans and produce the best possible horse stall setup for your unique situation.

Take a look at our horse stall showcase to see how we’ve turned our clients’ dreams into happy homes for their horses. Get started on your own dream barn by requesting our digital catalog today.

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Farm composting: Don’t Waste It, Replace It

farm composting

Weighing the pros and cons of farm composting?

If you’ve spent time on a farm or out in the wild, you’ve likely taken note of the interconnected nature of bio habitats. Composting is a man-made process that exemplifies the natural cycle of decomposition and fertilization.

First, plants are grown in nutrient-dense soils. Then, nutrients from that plant are returned to the earth, whether through natural decomposition or manure. Finally, this re-introduction of nutrients replenishes soil health, which in turn supports the growth of the following season’s crops.

When an apple rots and falls to the ground, for example, it will eventually decompose and fertilize the soil. Replenishing dirt with these nutrients is what allows the apple tree and other surrounding plants to continue bearing fruit.

There are a number of ways to compost—and when it comes to choosing the process that’s right for you, there’s really no wrong answer. Compost methods range from aerated pile churning to sophisticated vermiculture setups. The only thing holding you back is the kind of system your space will allow.

Apartment composters for instance are likely stuck with small indoor bins that hold little food waste. On the other hand, homes with small yards can usually support larger, outdoor bins. When it comes to farm composting, though, the sky’s the limit!

Whatever the scale of your composting needs, DC Structures can set you up with a reliable system that will reduce your property’s environmental footprint in a way that is clean, simple and efficient.

O2Compost: Get the most out of your compost

DC Structures partners with O2Compost—a Pacific Northwest environmental consulting firm—to help our clients design the best possible composting setups for their properties.

O2Compost creates cost-effective systems that utilize the aerated static pile composting method. The farm composting setups that O2Compost designs can process all organic materials. This includes food scraps, landscaping debris and livestock manure.

For example: Our clients at Last Chance Ranch in West Linn, Oregon commissioned DC for both a horse barn and a covered riding arena. With equestrian pursuits playing such a prominent role on their property, these customers were looking for a solution to their horses’ manure piles and the flies they attract.

O2Compost designed an aerated composting system that matches the aesthetic of the ranch’s barn and arena. More importantly, it has completely solved our client’s problems with manure stench and flies. What’s even better is that they are now creating their own nutrient-rich fertilizer essentially free of cost. 

Composting is a simple and cost-effective way to promote responsible environmental stewardship. Once in place, this process will save you time and resources that would otherwise be spent on waste disposal and fertilizer.

To learn more about O2Compost’s aerated static pile composting method, visit their website. Thinking about adding a new barn or barn-style home to your property? Request our digital catalog to get a start on your dreams.

Structural Snow Loads You Can Count On

snow loads

In regions of the country where annual snowfall is high, buildings must be adequately engineered to withstand heavy snow loads.

Snow loads refer to the weight of snow that a building’s rooftop is designed to hold up against. It takes extensive calculations to determine the proper engineering for each building’s specific needs.

Structural engineers rely on international building codes to determine appropriate snow load designs. In winter-heavy areas, these requirements are usually elaborated upon by state and local governments.

If snow is a concern, it’s important to work with engineers who are familiar with regional-specific building codes. Insufficient design has the potential to be costly in every sense of the word.

The Many Faces of Snow

Just like the individuality of each snowflake that comes together to form a winter scene, every snow event has its own unique nature. This makes it especially tricky to intuit how differing snow conditions will affect each individual building.

The term ‘snow event’ can refer to one large winter storm or a series of storms that bring multiple bouts of precipitation.

These winter storm systems present a number of dangerous challenges. On the one hand, making an effort to remove snow from a rooftop is more of a risk than it’s worth. On the other, heavy snowfall over extended periods of time increases the chance of structural deficiency or perhaps even collapse.

snow loads
This DC Structures party barn in Damascus, Oregon is engineered to withstand the Willamette Valley’s dense and heavy snow loads—when it does snow, of course.

Planning for Snow Loads

Design for proper snow loads must be weighed against several important considerations. For example, places where snow is generally light and dry are going to be a lot less troubling than regions with wet and heavy snow.

In other words, 1 foot of snow in Wisconsin is not equal to 1 foot of snow in Oregon. This inconsistency in snow density is the result of regional variations such as humidity and elevation. Freezing rain and snow that melts and then freezes can also complicate matters.

Additional factors that affect structural snow loads include the amount of wind the building is exposed to, as well as the thermal conditions of the structure.

Roofing materials and slope, identification of potential ice dam formations, snow drifting and sliding, uneven distribution of the weight of snow on a rooftopall of these variables must be thoughtfully addressed throughout the structural engineering process.

DC Structures has accommodated increased snow load requirements for clients in harsh-winter regions across the country. Our kits are always engineered to the highest safety standards.

Take a look at our catalog and start planning your dream building today.

Mono Slab Foundations: One and Done

monolithic slab foundations

Mono slab foundations are a fast, strong and reliable alternative to traditional foundation building methods. This foundation type is ideal for structures built from pre-engineered materials packages.

Mono slab foundations are formed with a single pour of concrete. These single-pour slabs are less prone to inconsistencies, and benefit from a relatively low time investment. Easily reinforced, concrete slab foundations provide excellent durability for the buildings they support.

Structures that utilize mono slab foundations score LEED-certification points due to their efficient use of building materials and better insulation. That they require minimal excavation and no expensive rock drilling or blasting makes them particularly attractive to clients in regions with rocky, hard soils.

DC Structures relies on monolithic slab foundations for all its kits. This reinforces our core message of efficient and quality service, as our entire process is designed to save you time, money and stress-related headaches.

Mono Slab Foundations: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Traditional foundation styles will eat up a lot of your time and resources—and that’s before you’ve even begun your build! This is doubly true in rocky-soil regions.

One of the biggest problems with other foundations is that they call for concrete to be poured in different stages. Pouring concrete in stages means you must wait for each section to set and harden entirely before moving onto the next. This might not seem like a huge hassle, but labor costs over time add up fast.

Mono slab foundations support DC Structures’ signature style of construction—post and beam buildings with dramatically open interiors. Post-and-beam construction makes use of untreated heavy timbers.

Untreated lumber is preferable to chemically-treated wood due to its elegant appearance and lack of toxic chemicals. Treated posts must be covered for this reason, and have a short shelf life of 40 years before they begin to rot.

Of course, mono slab foundations aren’t always the best solution. If you live in a place where freezing is a serious concern, you might need a thicker slab or an alternative foundation solution.

Request our digital catalog to get a better sense for how our kits could be modified into your dream structure. We design packages that are built to last, impress and save you time and energy.

The Pre-Engineered Package Advantage

pre-engineered package

If you’re thinking about adding a barn or barn-style home to your property, then you’re probably weighing the pros and cons of a pre-engineered package.

Don’t let the words kit or package fool you into thinking pre-engineered structures are of lesser quality than their custom-built counterparts. Kits take all the guesswork out of designing and building a structure, and save you money in the process. This is all without compromising on the quality or originality of your building.

Barn kits are efficient by design, because no materials are wasted and the structure is built relatively fast. This will save you from labor-cost overages and countless sleepless nights.

While plenty of barn kit companies sell cheaply-made, cookie-cutter kits, one has set a high standard for the industry. DC Structures’ pre-engineered packages are builder-friendly and built to last. You can count on our knowledgeable team of designers and engineers to guide you through the process.

Pre-Engineered for Success

Pre-engineered packages offer the benefit of trusting someone else to do the heavy lifting, and peace of mind knowing that all materials and engineering requirements will be accounted for. We make our kits with high-quality materials, and you can rest easy knowing the hardware is trusted and certified.

All of DC Structures’ kits have been pre-engineered to our standard loads. With years of experience spanning projects across the U.S., the DC team is well equipped to ensure all blueprints are compliant with your locally-mandated regulations. Wet-stamped plans are available if needed.

We include a detailed materials list for your chosen contractor in all our kits. Additionally, step-by-step construction details will make the structure easy to build. Unlike custom builds, kits offer the ease of knowing there will be no change orders for materials shortages.

Contrary to popular belief, structures are easily personalized. Our process starts with selecting a kit model and then making modifications to both the floor plan and finishes. Once your plans are finalized, it’ll feel like a custom build.

Take a look at our catalog for a better idea of how we can turn your dreams into actionable plans. It is just as possible to do so with a pre-engineered package.

Personalized Kits: Make It Your Own With Options & Upgrades

personalized kits

Just because it’s a barn kit, doesn’t mean it has to be standard. Personalized kits are just as original as custom builds, and they save you time and money.

When you choose DC Structures, you’ll be guided through a streamlined hands-on process to select and modify your kit. We celebrate your individuality, and we want to give you the tools you need to make your kit your own.

The DC Structures portfolio of personalized kits is as diverse aesthetically as it is structurally. As you’ll see, there’s not much we aren’t willing to accommodate for our clients.

The ability to personalize your structure starts with deciding on a kit model and size. Our experienced team of project specialists will work with you to determine the model that will best meet your needs.

We get a lot of clients who come to us with a particular kit in mind. However, once we dig a bit deeper, we often discover that another model would be much better suited for their needs. Our collective experience getting to the heart of our customers’ lifestyles helps us to steer you toward the perfect package.

The Delight is in the Details

Our selection of options and upgrades ranges from the purely aesthetic to the structurally necessary. We can accommodate different heights and widths for your structure, as well as increased wind and snow loads.

Choose from our Andersen window packages and Pacific Northwest knotty alder wood doors. All our door and window offerings are top quality, adding more value and a boon to the appearance of your structure.

Building a barn? We offer a stellar selection of Classic Equine stall fronts that are both elegant and durable. From standard stall fronts to Euro-style and Legend-style, we can help you choose the stall doors that complement your desired aesthetic.

If, for whatever reason, a client is dissatisfied with our upgrade offerings, we are happy to credit those materials so they can source what they want themselves. Take a look at our catalog for more information on how you can personalize your kit.

Selecting Fine Heavy Timbers For Your Build

DC Structures Pacific NW Doug Fir Timbers & Western Red Cedar Blog Content Graphic

All lumber and heavy timbers are not created equal—even those that are cut from the same tree species.

If you’re thinking about adding a barn to your property, your building’s lumber quality is an important consideration.The quality of the timbers you use for your building will determine the health, beauty and longevity of your timber frame.

Lumber’s grade, cut and moisture content all add to the durability and appearance of a building . For example, improperly cut and dried lumber of a low grade is prone to warp and shrink over time. This will alter the barn’s aesthetic and structural integrity.

Northwest Heavy Timbers Mill-Direct Sourcing

The Pacific Northwest’s reputation for quality heavy timbers is second to none. As an illustration, Western red cedar and builder-favorite Douglas fir are among the region’s largest exports.

Nationwide barn kit builder DC Structures is in the heart of the logging scene. Consequently, we benefit from meaningful, mill-direct relationships with our high-grade lumber suppliers.

We believe that the end result for a client’s barn kit project depends on the quality of materials sourced and services rendered. As a result, our team is very knowledgeable when it comes to the materials included in our packages. We are always happy to provide guidance throughout the process of deciding on the right timbers for a barn kit build.

All DC Structures barn kits come standard with Select Structural grade timbers, which is the highest recommendation for structural integrity. Therefore, you’ll never have to question or negotiate for a better grade of lumber.

The same is true of lumber cut. All our barn kit’s timbers are free of heart center. This means the soft pith in the middle is excluded from the trim. Free-of-heart timbers make for frames that hold their shape and appearance over time, as the soft heart center will likely shrink and twist in the process.

heavy timbers
Heavy timbers that are cut to include the soft heart center are prone to cracking over time.

Similarly, improperly dehydrated wood is prone to sap and poor structural stability. All timbers included in DC Structures’ pre-engineered barn packages have been subject to precise and efficient kiln drying techniques. This ensures that the lumber’s moisture content is well below concerning levels.

Quality You Can Count on

All DC Structures come with a promise of quality that permeates every aspect of our product and service offerings. That includes top-grade, hand-selected heavy timbers from our mill-direct connections.

The DC Structures project gallery is a testament to the excellence of our barn kits.

Request a catalog to see our quality promise in action.

How DC Differs From Other Barn Kit Companies


When you decide to add a new structure to your property, you’ve got to ask yourself one very important question. What kind of investment are you trying to make?

There are plenty of barn kit companies out there that can sell you an engineered materials package. The thing is, not all of them can deliver a product that will remain standing for generations to come.

The DC Structures team takes pride in the ways it separates itself from the competition. We always make good on our promise of value from first contact to completed build.

Our clients are our partners, and we treat them as such until the job is done. There’s no cold transaction or post-sale desertion on our end. We work with our customers side-by-side to ensure their packages are in line with their goals and visions.

The Proof is in the Posts and Beams

DC sets itself apart with its superior construction methods and top-quality materials. We offer our clients hundreds of options and upgrades to choose from, and contractor support throughout their build.

Adding to the longevity of our kits are the high-grade heavy timbers we source from our mill-direct connections in the Pacific Northwest. We include only the finest materials in our kits, which makes for a difference you can see and feel.

Compromising on quality materials and service by choosing a pole barn may seem like a small sacrifice for an affordable end. However, costs over time will be higher due to the short lifespan of treated wooden posts in concrete.

Some things are too important to be cold and calculated commodities, and we believe a building is one of them. That’s why, unlike other barn kit companies, we’ll be in contact throughout the process to ensure your build goes off without a hitch.

The DC difference is apparent at every step of the process, from the quality of materials we source to the one-on-one attention you’ll receive from our knowledgeable team of project specialists. Interested in partnering with us for your own barn or barn-style home project? Request our catalog to get a feel for the possibilities.