Tag Archives: barn homes

The Do’s and Don’ts of High Desert Homes

High desert regions like Joshua Tree, California, and Bend, Oregon, have experienced substantial growth over the last decade — and once you’ve visited areas like it, you can understand why. With their wide-open landscapes, expansive sky views, and vast array of plant and animal life, these high desert regions offer an alluring contrast to the hustle and bustle of city life. Not to mention these growing towns often feature the best hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, and off-roading activities of any region, making them highly desirable to outdoor enthusiasts who crave adventure within a natural setting.

That said, building a home in a high desert area can pose several challenges for homeowners, with considerations like extreme temperatures, water availability, and fire risks playing a significant role in the final design and selection of your materials. If you plan to build in a high desert region, here are some of our recommended do’s and don’ts for your upcoming residential project:

Do: Use Appropriate Wood

High-quality timbers like ours are incredibly durable and dense building materials that perform outstandingly in various climates. However, that doesn’t mean these materials are necessarily impervious to the extremes of high desert regions. While our Douglas fir lumber makes a solid and beautiful siding material, this wood type can be susceptible to damage caused by UV degradation. Because of this, we recommend applying a UV-resistant finish to your wood, especially if you plan to include this siding material as part of your exterior. Western red cedar and redwood are also great options for your siding, as these wood species are naturally suited to handle the desert’s dry and harsh weather conditions.

Our team offers an exclusive pre-staining service that helps save you time on the job site and ensure long-lasting results for your siding. Our pre-stain machine evenly coats all six sides of your framing lumber, providing complete protection and coverage for your investment. We offer Timber Pro UV natural wood stains and finishes as part of this industry-leading service. To learn more about their available stains and the benefits of using Timber Pro UV, visit their site here!

Do: Plan for Thermal Insulation

Given the extreme temperature shifts of high desert regions, you’ll want to take the proper precautions to ensure your home is well-insulated and equipped to keep you safe and comfortable in any season. By selecting high-quality insulation materials and techniques for your home, you can help drive heat and humidity out during the summer and keep your place warm on chilly winter nights. When deciding on insulation for your high desert home, you’ll want to look for options that yield a high R-value, like spray foam insulation and structural insulated panels. However, clients should always consult their contractor or a local expert to ensure their insulation choice meets the requirements of their specific location and build.

Do: Install Quality HVAC Systems

Installing an efficient and effective heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is a must for any high desert homeowner, especially if temperatures reach up to 115°F or higher in their region. According to Architectural Digest, some of the best HVAC systems you can invest in for your home are through Lennox and Carrier. Lennox partners with Energy Star to offer some of the most energy-efficient air conditioning systems on the market, including units with high seasonal energy efficiency ratios (SEER). Carrier also offers top-tier HVAC options known for their quiet operation and energy efficiency, with most systems boasting high SEER ratings.

Do: Protect Against the Sun

High desert regions are notorious for their scorching summers. To protect your wood home against high heat and constant sun exposure, consider how your design and materials can help preserve the naturally durable qualities of your structure. For instance, and as mentioned earlier, clients should consider applying a UV-resistant stain to their siding for maximum protection, especially heavily pigmented options like semi-solid and solid color stains. The color of your roof can also play an important role in repelling heat and boosting your home’s energy efficiency, with lighter colors providing a “cooler” surface that helps direct heat away from your home.

Don’t: Ignore Fire Risks

Fire safety is one of the most important considerations involved in the design of a high desert home. As wildfires continue to intensify across the globe, homeowners need to consider how they can best protect their structures and families if a wildfire starts to spread in their area. At DC Structures, we offer several fire-safe building materials for our clients, including non-combustible cladding material through James Hardie and dual- and triple-pane glass windows through Andersen and Pella. To learn more about our available fire-safe materials and commitment to protecting your structure, visit our Fire Safety page here.

Don’t: Overlook Ventilation

Good airflow is essential in any desert environment, considering there’s nothing worse than dealing with unwanted heat and humidity inside your home. When crafting your high desert abode, don’t forget to plan for plenty of ventilation options like windows and doors. Our vented and windowed cupolas are also a fantastic addition for clients planning to build in the desert, as these gable-roof structures help improve the overall ventilation and airflow inside your space.

Don’t: Neglect Water Efficiency

Water scarcity can be a big concern for homeowners in remote high desert areas, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be top of mind for those in more developed desert regions. By incorporating water-efficient appliances and fixtures in your home, you can significantly reduce your water and energy consumption while conserving the critical water supply of your town. Clients can also help minimize water use by xeriscaping their backyards, which includes slow-growing drought-tolerant plants like perennials and cacti.

Don’t: Skip Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance and upkeep are critical for any home, let alone a wood-clad structure in the desert. To ensure your home remains strong and beautiful long past installation, you should plan to re-stain your siding every year or so for the first few years after construction wraps. While maintenance requirements vary by location, the extreme weather and temperature conditions of high desert regions make consistent cleaning and upkeep necessary for peak performance and longevity.

Interested in learning more? Call us today at (888) 975-2057 to speak to one of our representatives or request a quote here if you’re ready to get started on your high-desert design.

Barndominiums 101: What They Are & What We Offer

Barndominiums, or barndos for short, are some of the most popular home designs to emerge in the 21st century; and for those who love the look of classic American barns, it’s not difficult to see why! With their wide-open interiors, high ceilings, and modern design features, barndominiums make beautiful family residences that are both highly unique and timeless in their appearance. Although there’s been some debate in recent years over what a barndominium is, the reality is a barndo can be many things depending on how you see it. If you’re interested in learning more about barndominiums, their origin, and, more importantly, what we offer in the way of these structures, keep reading below! 

What is a Barndominium?

As the name suggests, barndominiums are essentially part barn and part condominium in the sense that they offer the aesthetic of a traditional barn and the function of a condo or home. Though primarily designed for living, barndominiums can also include hobby workshops, garages, horse stalls, or anything else you envision, making them the perfect fit for those seeking a multi-purpose structure. In many ways, barndominiums are synonymous with our barns with living quarters and barn home designs, considering all three offer similar features and floor plans. However, the primary difference between our offering and most barndominiums on the market lies in the construction method used to create these structures, as we typically use heavy timber construction or hybrid clear-span construction as opposed to steel framing or post-frame building methods. 

Where Did the Term Barndominium Originate? 

Despite being a relatively new concept, it may surprise you to learn that the term barndominium has existed for over three decades. Initially coined by Connecticut real estate developer Karl Nilsen in 1989 to describe residential properties that include boarding facilities, barndominiums now encompass everything from renovated barns to metal-built barn kits and pre-engineered wood buildings. Although Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper are to thank for breathing new life into the term, a big reason barndominiums are so popular today is their affordability and ease of construction. While barndominiums converted from old horse barns and agricultural barns can be expensive and time-consuming to renovate, the average barndominium is a prefabricated, steel-framed or wood-framed building that is generally cheap and easy to build. 

What We Offer

At DC Structures, we offer numerous ways to build your dream barndominium, with the most cost-effective being to invest in our Meridian Barndominium Kit. Designed with pre-manufactured vaulted wood trusses, the Meridian boasts wide-open interiors free of load-bearing walls or obstructing posts. This hybrid clear-span structure gives you the ability to customize your space however you see fit and add exterior components that enhance your investment like decks, awnings, covered patios, and more. 

Another way that clients can create a beautiful barndominium for their property is by adapting one of our post and beam or timber frame building kits to their lifestyle and taste. Our apartment barn and barn home designs make excellent starting points for clients interested in a heavy timber barndominium. However, if you have a preference for another kit of ours, we can always modify that specific model to match your vision and taste.

Heavy Timber or Clear Span: Which is Better for Your Barndominium? 

Over the years, our offering has grown exponentially to include a wide range of structures beyond our traditional post and beam barns and barn homes. Of the many innovative practices and designs added to our line, hybrid clear-span construction is one of the more prominent implements to gain popularity amongst our client base, considering the countless benefits it brings to one’s space.

With a hybrid clear-span structure (like the Meridian, which utilizes a combination of stick-framing methods and pre-manufactured vaulted wood trusses), you can look forward to an expansive interior space that inspires total creative freedom. With all framing materials concealed behind drywall, and no interior posts or load-bearing walls necessary for structural support, this type of building makes the perfect blank canvas for your future home, workshop with living quarters, or anything else you envision.

Because our hybrid clear-span method requires fewer materials to construct, this structure is generally less costly and faster to build than our pre-engineered post and beam and timber frame structures, which already take 30% – 50% fewer framing hours than conventionally-framed buildings. All of this makes hybrid clear-span construction a great option for clients seeking a budget-friendly, flexible, and durable solution for their barndominium project, as it guarantees speedy construction, significant cost savings, and quality throughout. 

That said, there are some reasons why clients may choose post and beam or timber frame “barndominium” designs over our Meridian Barndominium Kit offering. One of those reasons is that post and beam or timber frame structures offer greater built-in insulation and durability for your build, considering these buildings utilize premium heavy timbers to form their structural frame as opposed to standard lumber.

The strength of these timbers alone makes our post and beam and timber frame structures naturally suited to virtually any climate, with these buildings displaying unmatched strength in extreme weather conditions like snowstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. In comparison, our hybrid clear-span structures may need additional reinforcements and engineering upgrades to increase their load capacity and strength in regions subject to inclement weather, though this largely depends on location and climate specifics.

Another bonus to post and beam and timber frame barndominiums is their structural flexibility. While our Meridian Barndominium Kit can be modified to include awnings, decks, and other, less complicated exterior add-ons, it doesn’t offer nearly as many configuration abilities as our post and beam and timber frame structures. For example, clients have the option of adding an upstairs loft or living quarters to their Meridian Kit. However, if you wanted to expand the original size beyond extending its length and width, or add more hefty structural components like cupolas and dormers to your design, it may make more sense to invest in a post and beam or timber frame structure instead, as these additions will surely raise the cost of the kit and potentially not even be feasible for the design.

Last but certainly not least, post and beam and timber frame “barndominiums” offer exposed timbers throughout that you simply won’t find in one of our hybrid clear-span structures. This added touch makes a considerable difference inside your space, as these exposed timbers give your barndo unparalleled warmth and beauty from top to bottom. 

The final decision between a heavy timber or hybrid clear-span structure comes down to your preference and goals. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that offers flexibility, durability, and simplicity, our Meridian Barndominium Kit could be the ideal fit for you! Otherwise, if you love the look of traditional heavy timber buildings and couldn’t see yourself with anything other than a post and beam or timber frame structure, you have your answer there. 

Ready to get started on your barndominium project? Request a free quote today or give us a call at (888) 975-2057! 

 

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.

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!