Best U.S. Cities to Invest in an Airbnb or Vacation Rental

In 2022, over 60 million Americans booked a stay in a vacation rental. As Airbnb and vacation rentals continue to grow in popularity, now may be the time to consider investing in a vacation rental property, especially if you’re looking for new ways to earn passive income on your property. Though not all cities allow short-stay rentals, here are a few top cities in the U.S. where Airbnb and short-stay rentals are not only legal but bound to be lucrative investments! 

Boulder, Colorado 

Boulder, Colorado, is a city that’s grown exponentially within the last decade, making it a prime location to invest in a vacation rental property. From its lively downtown filled with breweries and farm-to-table restaurants to the beautiful Rocky Mountains, there’s no shortage of things to do and see in this popular city that hosts about 3.3 million visitors annually.

Boulder is a true hiker’s paradise. With over 300 miles of hiking trails and 45,000 acres of open spaces to explore, your guests could spend their entire summer exploring new trails and sights. After a long day of hitting the trails, visitors can also choose from a variety of amazing restaurants where they can relax and refuel. Boulder Valley is known for its bounty of homegrown fare, gorgeous outdoor dining views, and abundance of breweries. If you’re looking for an outdoorsy, artistic, and food-centered location for your vacation rental property, Boulder is certainly a top choice.  

Boise, Idaho

If access to nature and wildlife is first on your list of must-haves, consider Boise, Idaho, for your vacation rental property. In 2021, the state of Idaho had a record year for tourism; and in 2018, as well as 2020, Boise was listed by Forbes as the fastest-growing city in the country, making it one of the most exciting and promising cities for new vacation rentals. 

In the summertime, Boise is the perfect place to hike to waterfalls or experience the best whitewater rafting in the country; and in the winter, skiers and snowboarders can take to the slopes for a day of fun and exercise. When visitors aren’t exploring the outdoors, they can always grab a brew and relax at one of over twenty Boise breweries, or end their day at the Knitting Factory for a fun night of music and dancing if they prefer something a bit more energetic. If you’re looking to invest in a vacation rental property or Airbnb in a growing city full of diversity and life, Boise will not disappoint your guests by any means! 

Austin, Texas

Otherwise known as the Live Music Capital of the World, Austin, Texas, welcomes over 30 million visitors annually, making it the number one tourist destination in the Southwest. World-famous festivals such as the SXSW tech conference and Austin City Limits Music Festival bring travelers from across the globe. As the state capitol of Texas, Austin is full of history, with this city being home to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Bullock Texas State History Museum. Considering everything this city has to offer, your visitors will never be short on activities — or delicious Tex-Mex food, for that matter. 

Santa Barbara, California

Known for its wide stretch of sandy beaches and consistently sunny weather, Santa Barbara brings thousands of tourists throughout the year. Santa Barbara boasts fine dining, manicured gardens, and world-class wineries — all within a beautiful seaside landscape that visitors will love. Whether guests enjoy relaxing on the beach, surfing, or visiting countless art galleries and museums, it won’t be hard to find something fun to do in this stunning coastal town. With a potential monthly revenue of $7,361 or more, and a steady occupancy rate of 68%, Santa Barbara is the second-best market in California to start an Airbnb business. We believe this southern California beach town will bring plenty of visitors if this is where you decide to invest! 

Sunriver, Oregon

This beautiful high desert city in Central Oregon is known for its stunning golf courses that play home to championship golf. Crosswater Club, Sunriver’s most popular golf club, was deemed a Golf Digest Top 100 course. Tourists are also attracted to Sunriver for its easy access to the Deschutes River, Mt. Bachelor, and the vibrant downtown area of Bend. In 2021, Sunriver saw a 309% increase in online visitor guide requests, as well as over 2,000 more tourists at the Sunriver Visitor Center. For all that Sunriver has to offer, it’s easy to see why someone would consider this city for their investment vacation rental property.

Reno, Nevada

Famously known for its casino and tourism industry, The Biggest Little City in the World is nestled just east of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. In 2019, Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority reported an estimated 4.5 million passenger visits to the Reno-Tahoe International Airport — its highest total in a decade. Every year, bowlers from across the country flock to Reno in hopes of becoming the national bowling champion. Reno has hosted the United States Bowling Congress’s Open Championships for the last 119 years. This year, the tournament will run for a consecutive 135 days. The way we see it, tourism in Reno doesn’t seem to be slowing anytime soon; and that’s why we feel it’s a great choice when looking for an investment Airbnb! 

Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish, Montana, is an outdoor lover’s dream destination. Biking, boating, hiking, skiing, and snowboarding are all activities that bring tourists to Whitefish, Montana, as well as being just a short day’s trip to Glacier National Park. It’s estimated that over 11 million people visit Whitefish annually. Folks tend to love Whitefish because of its quaint, Western feel and majestic mountain backdrop. Whitefish also seems to be one of the most inviting cities in the country; and with endless outdoor adventures, it’s sure to be a winning investment property locale.


From the high desert in Sunriver to the bustling metropolis of Austin, there are many great options for you to consider for your investment property. We know you have plenty of choices when investing in an Airbnb or vacation rental, but we think any of these cities would make a fine choice for an investment property location. Looking for inspiration for your build? We offer several pre-engineered cabin kits that you can easily modify to meet your needs and those of your guests.

If you’re ready to get started on your project, request a quote here or give us a call today at (888) 975-2057!

Introducing Our New Line of Farmhouse Home Kits

Farmhouse homes have long been a staple of American history, with some of the earliest-known farmhouses dating all the way back to the 1700s and 1800s. Though farmhouses first appeared as simple, single-story rural homes for farm workers and their families, this iconic home style has since evolved to encompass all the comforts we associated with a traditional countryside home while boasting modern amenities designed for today’s homeowners. 

At DC Structures, we’ve designed our farmhouse home kits to include many of the classic Americana elements that make this home style feel close to its farming roots, like covered porches, gable dormers, and board and batten siding, while offering modern finishes and clean lines that bring these homes into the 21st century. Built with concealed clear-span trusses, these farmhouse home designs feature wide-open interiors with vaulted ceilings that allow you to do anything you wish with virtually any space in your home. 

If you’re interested in building a homey yet sophisticated farmhouse home on your property, keep reading below to see why you should consider our Applegate and Juniper pre-engineered farmhouse home kits for your upcoming residential project: 

Applegate Farmhouse Home Kit

The Applegate Farmhouse Home Kit is a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home with tons of natural charm, warmth, and utility. This pre-engineered building model offers 3,123 sq. ft. of conditioned living space that includes an open-concept living, dining, and kitchen space with a walk-in pantry, two bedrooms (including a generous primary bedroom suite), two bathrooms, and a mudroom and laundry on the first floor; and two bedrooms, a shared bathroom, and a spacious storage room on the second floor.

A 257 sq. ft. covered porch outside the main entrance gives this home a distinct countryside feel, while modern features like Andersen windows and patio doors accentuate the contemporary nature of this design. Clients who choose this model can also utilize an attached 1,121 sq. ft. two-car garage for vehicle and equipment storage or as a personalized workshop space. Our sample floor plans come with open-ended layouts that you can easily tailor to suit your lifestyle needs. We also offer endless modification options that allow you to remove, add, or change any design elements to more closely resemble your vision. 

Want to learn more about the Applegate? Click here to view the Applegate kit page for more pricing, materials, and sizing details. 

Juniper Farmhouse Home Kit

Our Juniper Farmhouse Home Kit offers a more traditional appearance for your new home, with gable dormers, pitched gable roofs, and covered porches contributing to its timeless appeal. Inside, you’ll find an open-concept living, dining, and kitchen area with a walk-in pantry on the first floor. To the left of the kitchen and dining room are two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a mudroom and laundry area. On the opposite wing, a primary bedroom suite and a spacious 210 sq. ft. study offer the ideal set-up for parents, business owners, and creative professionals. 

Upstairs, a loft area with a full bathroom overlooks the great room below. This space can function as an office, gym area, music studio, or anything else you can envision. Unlike the Applegate, our Juniper Farmhouse Kit doesn’t include an attached garage space as part of the standard design and materials package. However, clients can work with our designers to add a garage to their model or create even a separate garage or workshop space on their property. 

Want to learn more about the Juniper? Click here to view the Juniper kit page for more pricing, materials, and sizing details. 


Interested in owning a farmhouse home like the Applegate or Juniper? Call today at (888) 975-2057 or request a quote here to speak with one of our representatives about your unique vision. 

Why the DC Approach Benefits Builders


Most of us are familiar with the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” but what about “It takes a village to raise a structure?” When you consider all the moving parts that go into designing and building a structure from the ground up, it’s hard to imagine a construction project moving forward with even one key player missing from the picture.

At DC Structures, we understand the value of teamwork better than anyone, especially when it comes to collaborating with our clients’ contractors and those within our Builder Network. Having been builders ourselves at one point, we know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the design and prefabrication process and have taken great care to ensure our approach and products center the needs of builders at every stage – even past the point of kit delivery.

From our custom design capabilities to our industry-leading Simple Build System and world-class builder support, our company offers several ways for builders to engage with our team, utilize our expertise, and streamline their processes to achieve the best results for their builds. If you’re a contractor interested in working with DC, here are a few reasons to consider partnering with us for all your design, off-site manufacturing, engineering, and material procurement needs.

One-Stop Design Shop

Whether you’re seeking custom design plans, structural design assistance, or a complete interior design solution, our team is here to help you with any design-related needs for your projects. Using state-of-the-art 3D design software, our experienced designers can take your ideas for a one-of-a-kind structure and transform them into a dynamic 3D model that you can explore and modify in real time. Within this same program, our team can also develop a structural model of your building and identify all connection points, placements, dimensions, and quantities for your framing components to ensure total accuracy and efficiency for construction.

For a complete look at our design capabilities, visit our Builder Network Offering page to learn more about our architectural design, structural design, interior design, and plan library services!

Premium Materials Supply

Headquartered in the Pacific Northwest, our team offers exclusive access to some of the most valuable timber exports in the world, including select-grade Douglas fir, Western red cedar, and coastal redwood. Our close mill-direct relationships allow us to source the finest heavy timbers in the region at competitive pricing, which we can then pass on to you and your clients. Because our team buys lumber in bulk, we also benefit from additional discounts on various wood products ranging from standard 4” x 4”s to cross-laminated timbers and beyond. With DC sourcing your lumber for you, you can create incredibly beautiful and durable buildings that your clients will love and that work within your budget.

Nationwide Engineering

Our engineering partner – licensed in all 50 states – is available to review your design plans anytime you need them for a project. Whether you designed your structure through us or need engineering help with existing design plans, our engineering partner can step in to ensure your plans comply by local and regional building codes.

Simple Build System

Our Simple Build System is designed to make your installation process faster, better, and more accurate than ever before! Using our CNC precision woodcutting machine, our team will turn your design plans into precisely pre-cut, pre-drilled, and individually labeled pieces of framing lumber, which we will then bundle together in wall sections and ship directly to your job site. By prefabricating your framing components prior to construction, we can guarantee a smooth, time-saving construction process that results in:

  • 30% to 50% fewer framing hours than conventionally built structures
  • Considerable time and money savings for you and your clients
  • A far less labor-intensive framing process
  • And reduced noise, dust, and pollution on the job site

Learn more about the benefits of our Simple Build System by watching our Best Practices: Simple Build System video here!

On-Call Builder Support

Just as we would never want to leave clients in the dark on their project details, we would never want to leave builders with unanswered questions or concerns during construction. That’s why we offer on-call builder support that allows you to speak with an experienced team member whenever you need guidance in the field. We also offer a library of instructional videos for visual assistance and a helpful 3D CAD viewer that you can use to view, zoom in, and explore your 3D structural model while on-site. From the time your pre-engineered building kit is delivered to move-in day, you can count on our team to be there for you every step of the way.

Referrals, Referrals, Referrals

Finally, working with a reputable company like DC Structures also means having the opportunity to work with dozens of amazing clients across the country. We get hundreds of calls each month from prospective clients all over the nation, from California to Texas to New York, and would love the chance to pair them with an experienced builder, like you, in their area.

Want to learn more about how our approach benefits builders? Give us a call today at (888) 975-2057 or email us at [email protected] to speak with our builder network representative.

Introducing Our New Line of A-Frame Cabin Kits

There’s something undeniably special about the look and feel of A-frame cabins. With their dramatically sloped roofs, minimalistic designs, and incredible warmth, these triangular structures offer a unique yet simplistic setting designed to suit just about any purpose. Despite their growing popularity as Airbnb vacation rentals, A-frame cabins can also serve as ideal backyard artist studios, mother-in-law suites, man or lady caves, and single-family residences. With an A-frame cabin design, you can enjoy a nostalgic yet modern structure that offers dozens of possibilities for your interior. 

At DC Structures, we’re always looking for ways to innovate our line of pre-engineered building kits, and our brand-new A-frame cabin kits are one of many ways we’re doing so. This alphabetical architectural style doesn’t just provide for a stunning living space with exposed rafters and tongue and groove ceilings; it also makes the perfect building solution for clients in areas that experience heavy snow loads.

We offer two attractive and versatile A-frame cabin kits — the Wallowa and Mazama. Our Wallowa comes in two standard sizes, with the Wallowa 40′ offering a one-bedroom floor plan and the Wallowa 50′ offering a three-bedroom floor plan with a bonus lounge area. Find out more about these unique A-frame cabin designs by reading below! 

Wallowa 40′

Our Wallowa 40′ is a beautiful A-frame cabin kit with 1,048 square feet of conditioned living space plus 338 square feet of outdoor deck space. This hybrid cabin design utilizes heavy timber rafters, structural insulated panels, and wall studs to form the structural frame, creating a warm and energy-efficient setting that keeps you safe and cozy in any season. The main level opens to an open-concept living, dining, and kitchen area that accesses a spacious downstairs deck. There’s also a half bathroom, laundry area, and mechanical room.

Upstairs, clients can take advantage of a 314 sq. ft. one-bedroom loft area with a full bathroom, closet, and private deck. With its sloped ceilings, exposed heavy timbers, and tongue and groove ceilings, this unique loft space provides an abundance of rustic charm for your personal retreat. 

Wallowa 50′

The Wallowa 50′ is a larger A-frame cabin design that offers 1,607 square feet of conditioned living space and 415 square feet of outdoor deck space. Like the Wallowa 40′, we frame this A-frame cabin design using a combination of heavy timber rafters, structural insulated panels, and wall studs. This hybrid method allows us to create a warm and comfortable living space that will likely save you hundreds on heating bills each year. It also helps us showcase the stunning Douglas fir timbers inside your home while keeping construction costs down. 


The Wallowa 50′ boasts three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, a bonus lounge area, and an open-concept living space. The downstairs features a spacious living, dining, and kitchen area that accesses a 285 sq. ft. deck. Through the kitchen, you’ll also find two bedrooms with closets. There’s also a full bathroom outside the living room. One floor up, a snug one-bedroom loft with a full bathroom, closet, and lounge area offers a romantic and incredibly charming primary bedroom space. Clients can also utilize a 178 sq. ft. deck outside the master bedroom.


If you’re seeking a minimal vacation home, studio, guest suite, or tiny home, consider our Mazama A-Frame Cabin Kit for your project. This A-frame cabin design features a simple equilateral triangle shape that makes it both universally appealing and highly functional. With this studio-sized cabin kit, you can enjoy a 495 sq. ft. floor plan that boasts an open-concept living/sleeping, dining, and kitchen area, a full bathroom, and a utility room. Outside, clients can relax on a 285 sq. ft. deck while taking in gorgeous views of their property. 

If you’re interested in investing in a timeless yet highly unique cabin design with indoor and outdoor living areas, exposed heavy timbers, and tons of flexibility and charm, give us a call today at (888) 975-2057 or request a quote here


Where are People Moving in 2023?

Since the onset of the pandemic, it’s safe to say we’ve all experienced our fair share of unprecedented events, from lumber surges to a booming housing market to record-high inflation and, more recently, Elon Musk’s Twitter fiasco. Though some of the notable events of the last few years were trying, to say the least, several other developments signaled a change in everyday life for the better — one of which was the mass moving frenzy that happened in 2020 and 2021.

Driven by historically low mortgage rates and new remote work opportunities, we saw an influx of Americans pack up and move their families from notoriously expensive cities to more affordable suburbs and rural areas across the country. With the requirement to work in-office suddenly gone, many working professionals discovered a newfound sense of freedom in where they could live and what they could afford, marking a much-needed shift in the status quo here in the U.S.

Although we’ve seen the housing market cool in many cities, mortgage rates rise, and some companies double back on their work-from-home stance since that time, there’s still as strong a desire as ever to prioritize happiness, family life, and finances by moving. And while we anticipate fewer cross-country moves in 2023 than those in 2020 and 2021, we predict these up-and-coming cities will see a significant population boom in the new year.

Here’s where we believe people are moving in 2023 and some reasons why you may want to consider following in their footsteps:

1.) Austin, Texas

Austin is one of those cities you hear about constantly, either in the news or from other people. It regularly tops “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” lists and is considered one of the country’s foremost tech hubs, with top companies like Amazon, Google, Oracle, and Tesla calling the subtropical region home. Although Austin can be a relatively expensive area to live in due to its popularity, attractive tech opportunities and rate of development, several affordable cities in and around the metropolis continue to draw mass amounts of people from all over the country. In fact, Rocket Mortgage recently published an article outlining some of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., with not one but three Austin exurbs ranking in the top five destinations.

Another significant draw to living in Austin (and Texas in general) is that the state of Texas is one of few known to offer no individual or corporate income tax. That added bit of money in your pocket, combined with plentiful job opportunities and a high quality of life, makes Austin an incredibly desirable city and somewhere we expect to see consistent growth in 2023.

2.) Raleigh-Cary, North Carolina

There’s been talk in the last few years that Raleigh is becoming the premier city for working professionals with kids, and we can absolutely see why. The capital of North Carolina, Raleigh, is a mid-sized Southern city that’s seen exponential growth in the past decade due in part to its bustling tech culture, low cost of living, and family-friendly environment., which ranked Raleigh as the fourth-best place to live for 2022, found that home sale prices and overall cost of living were below the average and median of some 1,300 metropolises they reviewed for their list. When you consider its tremendous affordability, as well as the city’s lush green space, diversity, and high median income, it’s no wonder why so many families are flocking to this Southern region to make it their home.

3.) Boise, Idaho

There’s a lot of charm to Boise, Idaho, which long-time residents know to be both a blessing and a curse. Between 2010 and 2018, Boise saw a population increase of 18.2% and was, at one point, considered the fastest-growing city in America. Though Boise still enjoys a high rate of tourism and new home sales today, growth has slowed considerably compared to the previous decade. Even so, we’re keeping Boise at the top of our cities to watch list for several reasons — many of which have to do with its breathtaking surroundings, vibrant nightlife, and abundance of exciting outdoor activities.

Something else that indicates Boise will see a resurgence of growth in the future is that it’s projected to be among the fastest-growing U.S. cities by 2060, according to The Center Square, with the projected population ranking 16th highest of 384 metropolitan areas studied. This report tracks with others, including the one we mentioned earlier through Rocket Mortgage that puts three neighboring Boise suburbs in a list of 15 fastest-growing U.S. cities. While some locals may be less than thrilled with the recent population boom, many residents can look forward to several positives with Boise’s incoming growth, including an anticipated 89.2% increase in employment and a considerable increase in personal income per capita by 2060.

4.) Spokane, Washington

Unless you’ve lived on the West Coast or know someone who attended Gonzaga University, you’ve probably never heard of Spokane, Washington. This unassuming city in eastern Washington state is about a 30-minute drive from the Idaho border and boasts a small but thriving downtown along its famed riverfront. Despite being the second-largest city in Washington state, Spokane offers a small-town atmosphere in an otherwise burgeoning metropolitan area. This uniquely calm yet vibrant setting provides the perfect set-up for families, creatives, and individuals, making it a must-see destination for those thinking of moving in 2023.

5.) Reno, Nevada

Otherwise known as “The Biggest Little City in the World,” Reno has long been associated with casinos, bright neon lights, and booming tourism, but there’s more than meets the eye with this colorful city. Located near the California border, Reno backs up to the Sierra Nevada range, providing a host of scenic hikes and biking opportunities for residents. Not only that, but Reno is only about an hour’s drive from Lake Tahoe, making it an attractive prospect for outdoorsy individuals and families. Despite its reputation as a gambling destination, it’s much easier for Reno residents to avoid the casino scene than in its southern counterpart Las Vegas, and there’s plenty more to do outside of being downtown.

A few other bonuses that make Reno a city to watch for 2023 is that Nevada, like Texas, has no individual or corporate income tax. U.S. News also ranked it #9 for “Best Places to Live for Quality of Life” and #23 in fastest-growing places from a list of 150 metro areas in the U.S. Additionally, Reno boasts several reputable K-12 schools and plays host to the University of Reno-Nevada. With these factors in mind, as well as its prime location and relatively affordable cost of living, it makes perfect sense why Reno is shaping up to be one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S.

6.) Bozeman, Montana

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a massive spike in people moving to or visiting Montana — namely celebrities and California residents. While Montana is a far cry from the Golden State, it’s easy to see why big names would flock to this stunningly beautiful northern state. With its abundance of natural beauty, world-class outdoor activities, and considerably low property taxes, Montana offers the ideal homestead for those seeking wide open spaces and gorgeous green surroundings teeming with wildlife. And although Bozeman is one of the largest cities in Montana, this southwestern city strikes a unique balance between being both a thriving cultural hub and a laidback town with something for everyone.


7.) Denver, Colorado

Like Austin, Denver has experienced a significant population boom in the last decade due in part to its growing reputation as a premier tech hub. Nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is home to more than 3 million people, with experts predicting this number will increase to 3.6 million by 2030. Over the last ten years, the capital city has become one of the best-performing real estate markets in the country, both in the commercial and residential sectors. Because of its astonishing popularity, one pitfall of the city is that the cost of living here is far more expensive than in most metro areas in the U.S., with Denver regularly ranking in the top ten lists of most expensive cities. Even so, there are plenty of understandable reasons for this, including Denver’s arid climate (locals enjoy more than 300 days of sunshine every year), thriving economy, beyond-beautiful surroundings, and incredible arts and culture scene.

8.) Missoula, Montana

Otherwise known as the “Garden City,” Missoula is one of those Western outdoorsy towns that actually lives up to its name. Located in the heart of the northern Rockies, Missoula offers the lush, sprawling green space most of us dream of in our own cities. In addition to its incredible beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, something that sets this town apart from others in the West is its strong sense of community and shared love of nature. The residents deeply care about their surroundings and preserving the region’s beauty together.

Compared to Bozeman, Missoula also offers a far more affordable cost of living, with the median home price being a little over $430,000. Although this Western town boasts a small population of about 75,000 people, there’s no shortage of things to do and see here, including world-class fishing, kayaking, hiking, and plenty more.

9.) Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is widely regarded as one of the top tourist destinations in the nation, and it’s not hard to see why once you’ve been there. With its magnificent 30-mile lake, sandy beaches, and widespread forest greenery, Coeur d’Alene offers almost everything you could ask for in a dream vacation getaway. Though it’s best known for its booming tourism industry, this northern Idaho city is also on track to become one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation. According to The Center Square, Coeur d’Alene saw a 16.5% population growth in the last five years, making it the fourteenth fastest-growing city among some 381 U.S. metro areas studied and another place we expect to see a population boom in 2023.

10.) Provo, Utah

Last but not least on our list is Provo, Utah — an otherwise quiet but charming college town outside Salt Lake City that plays home to Brigham Young University. Like many other metro areas in Utah, Provo is known for its gorgeous natural surroundings, family-friendly environment, and exciting outdoor activities. Although there’s talk of Salt Lake City becoming one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., we anticipate that Provo will also see a wave of newcomers in the future, especially with more families seeking an affordable yet safe place to raise their kids. Additionally, Provo boasts a high employment rate, with tons of manufacturing, communication, technology, and research jobs regularly available, making it a hot spot for working professionals looking for a change of pace.

Final Thoughts

Wherever you plan to move, whether it’s a city on our list or somewhere entirely different, consider what must-haves you’re looking for in your next home. If a peaceful, nature-based setting is top of your list, a city like Missoula or Provo may be the right fit for you and your family. However, if you’re looking for new tech opportunities and a fast-paced environment, you could find that places like Austin and Denver match your energy and personality a bit more.

Regardless, our team is always here to help you get started whenever you feel ready to move into your dream home. If you’re interested in finding out more about our process and what we can do for you, call us today at (888) 975-2057 or request a quote online.

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! 


Do You Need an Architect for Your Project?

If you’re new to the process of building a custom home or structure, you may be asking yourself if you need to hire an architect for your project. While our commercial buildings will always require the involvement of a Design Professional of Record or licensed architect, the chances of needing a licensed architect for your residential project are usually slim. In any case, it always helps to know when an architect’s involvement is required and when it’s not necessarily needed. If you’re wondering whether to partner with an architect for your DCS project, read below to learn more about why someone may hire a licensed architect, why it’s not always required and what we can do if you need one for your custom build.

When You Will Need an Architect

For Commercial Projects

As mentioned above, all commercial buildings will require a Design Professional of Record or licensed architect to be involved in the design and development of the project. The main reason behind this is that a licensed architect has specialized knowledge of building codes and safety regulations associated with the well-being of the public. With guidance from a licensed architect, our architectural designers can verify the proper egress widths, exit distances, fire extinguisher cabinet locations, and other “Life Safety” related features of your structure to ensure code compliance, with “Life Safety” referring to the design and operational features in buildings that help protect occupants in an emergency or fire. We can also facilitate a smooth submittal process with state and local jurisdictions by involving a licensed architect or design professional early on.

In some instances, your jurisdiction will say that you do not need an architect involved in your commercial project. While that may be so, our designers will still comply at the state level to confirm your structure meets code minimums. Where MEP (mechanical, electrical, and plumbing) or civil construction drawings are not required, you will also need a liability waiver from your jurisdiction. In most cases, however, clients will need MEP, civil, architectural, and structural drawings to move forward with their projects, and sometimes even additional stamped plans like those for Title 24 from outside consultants and engineers.

For Residential Projects

Although most residential projects do not require the involvement of an architect, there are a few instances where you will need one. For example, if you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, the association may say that your custom home needs to be designed by a licensed architect to maintain a cohesive look with the other houses. Likewise, it may be the case that your jurisdiction requires that you work with a licensed architect for your new home or addition. However, this all depends on where you live and how strict your association or jurisdiction’s building requirements are.

Because building requirements can vary drastically by county, city, and HOA, we try to stress the importance of doing your research early on to verify whether a licensed architect or design professional needs to be involved. If an architect is required, they must be integrated at the very beginning of our process to avoid any unnecessary setbacks. It’s also beneficial for clients to involve an architect early in the process, considering this will save them money and ensure their architect does not have to re-design the structure or re-create construction documents for building department approval.

When You Won’t Need an Architect 

For all other residential projects not located in a strict HOA neighborhood or jurisdiction, a client typically does not need a licensed architect or design professional involved so much as they need an architectural designer for their home or addition. Like an architect, an architectural designer is responsible for collaborating with clients to establish their project goals, budgets, and visions before creating schematic design plans and construction documents based on these discussions. At DC Structures, we work with a team of experienced architectural designers to create custom structures for our clients, from horse barns and riding arenas to timber frame homes and cabins. We also regularly work with a contracted licensed architect on projects that require one and have a structural engineering partner that reviews and stamps our design plans and construction documents to ensure code compliance.

What We Offer 

Regardless of whether you do or don’t need an architect for your project, there are several ways our team can help you design and coordinate your dream structure. Below are a few services we provide as part of our dynamic offering:

A Full-Scope Design Service

DC Structures offers a nearly all-inclusive design service for clients with residential and commercial projects in the U.S. and Canada. Our in-house design team will create your architectural and structural sheets, which will then be reviewed and stamped by our structural engineering partner and our contracted architect in instances where his expertise is required. Though we do not offer geotechnical services and civil drawings as part of our design services, we can help you determine any additional documents or plans you may need as part of your building permit application to ensure a successful submittal.

We Work with a Licensed Architect 

If you need an architect for your project but don’t want to go through the hassle of finding an outside firm, we have a contracted licensed architect that we regularly work with and can utilize for your project. Our architect is a SIPA-registered Master Builder & Design Professional with over 21 years of experience in the design and construction industry who assists us with multiple projects every year. We also have several architectural designers on staff who are on the path to becoming licensed architects and will soon be available for projects requiring their expertise.

We Can Also Coordinate with Your Architect

Occasionally, clients will come to us with an architect in mind or one already contracted for their projects. In these instances, we have no problem working directly with your architect to create a design that fully embodies your vision. One thing to note is that clients need to involve your architect early in our process so we can easily coordinate with them. If they come in after we’ve created the design plans and construction documents, they will likely have to do an analysis and recreation to establish responsible design control before building department submittal.

Structural Engineering Comes Standard 

Prospective clients often ask us if we include structural engineering as part of their design and materials package or custom designs, and the answer is yes! We partner with a structural engineering team — licensed in all 50 states — to review and stamp our design plans and documents and ensure our structures are code-compliant.

Available for Local Site Visits

Certain jurisdictions may require site visits from architects, engineers, or representatives. While some job sites may not be feasible for us to visit, our architectural designers have traveled to and conducted site visits for various projects in Oregon. If you have a locally based project that requires a site visit from an in-house designer or architect, we will coordinate with you to send the right person out to your site.

We hope this blog post answers any questions you may have about hiring an architect for your project! If you feel like you need more information or are ready to get started on your design, give us a call today at (888) 975-2057 or request a quote!

15 Ways to Use Our Barn Kits

Something we pride ourselves on here at DC is the incredible versatility of our barn kits — not just in the sense of what you can do with your design, but what purpose they can ultimately serve on your property. From backyard party barns to wineries and even “bat caves,” we’ve converted our building models into all types of structures for our clients and continue to surprise customers with the many unique configurations we can achieve.

Though it may be hard to visualize the possibilities for your barn kit at first, there are plenty of ways our team can help you create a one-of-a-kind structure that fully encompasses your needs and style. If you’re eager to get started but feeling unsure of what you want to do with your building model, here’s a glimpse at the numerous options available for your custom barn design. 

Barn Home

Let’s say you love the look of our Oakridge Apartment Barn Kit but want it to function as a barn-style home for you and your family. With the help of our talented in-house designers, you can easily create a beautiful, long-lasting residence based on our Oakridge or any other barn design you see fit! We offer hundreds of customization options for your structure to ensure your barn home matches your personality and taste. We can also combine multiple building kits to create an all-encompassing residence that meets your every need. 


Barndominiums are all the rage with millennials, and it’s not hard to see why. With their classic barn-style appearance and multi-use layouts, barndominiums make attractive and efficient structures that can serve several unique purposes on your property. It’s important to note that many barndominiums on the market are metal-built structures, whereas we frame ours with select grade FOHC Douglas fir heavy timbers. Before investing in a barndominium, consider what type of barndominium you’re looking for in terms of material use, style, and function. 

Event Venue 

Whether you’re planning to build an all-inclusive wedding and event venue or a simple gathering space for small parties and celebrations, we offer dozens of pre-engineered barn kits designed to suit your needs. While most of our wedding and event venue projects started as event barn kits, we’ve transformed several of our other barn designs into breathtaking event venues that our clients and their customers love. 

Hobby Workshop 

Any hobbyist knows how important it is to have your own personalized workspace. With a prefabricated barn kit from DC Structures, you can turn your design into a fully built-out workshop tailored to your needs and passions. We offer a complete line of garage and workshop kits designed for the modern tinkerer or creative professional. However, we can take any barn kit in our collection and transform it into your ideal workspace. 

Vehicle & Outdoor Equipment Storage  

While many homeowners store their vehicles and outdoor equipment in their garages, others may find that their existing garage doesn’t provide adequate room for all their storage needs. In these instances, having a detached storage barn or garage makes a practical solution that will increase the value of your home and keep your prized possessions safe and secure. 


Have a vision for a winery or brewery in your state? We want to hear it! At DC Structures, we’ve designed a handful of wineries for clients in Oregon and Washington and would love the opportunity to expand our portfolio of DC-designed wineries and breweries. Our team has also transformed our barn kits into stunning distilleries for clients nationwide and could help you create a production space and tasting room that aligns with your business plans. No matter the complexities of your build, we’re here to help you get your ideas off the ground in any way we can. 


Worship centers come in all different shapes, sizes, and styles, from massive gothic cathedrals to quaint gable-roofed chapels. While we’ve designed a few religious centers in our signature post and beam style, we can transform any of our barn kits into an original worship space that more closely matches your vision. 

Man or Lady Cave 

Who doesn’t love having a personal space to retreat to from time to time? With a detached man or lady cave on your property, you can enjoy some much-needed self-care in a relaxing atmosphere that’s all your own. Whether you envision a sports-themed den or something like our client’s infamous “Bat Cave,” our team can help you create the right look and vibe for your private oasis. 

Business/Office Space

Our barn kits aren’t exclusive to residential uses — you can also transform your kit into a commercial building centered around your business needs. We’ve crafted numerous commercial office spaces for clients in various industries and will collaborate with you to find the right floor plan, features, and size for your individualized workspace.  

Horse Barn 

If you’re seeking a beautiful home for your horses, look no further than our line of pre-engineered barn kits! We offer dozens of open-ended barn designs that you can modify and personalize according to your equestrian needs. With hundreds of premium options and upgrades to choose from for your horse barn, you can create a high-end equestrian facility that perfectly suits your lifestyle and those of your horses. Explore our gallery of horse barn projects to see what you can do with your barn kit! 

Indoor Sports Court

Whether you do or don’t consider yourself a sports fanatic, you have to admit that owning a private basketball court sounds pretty cool. With a custom recreational space in your backyard, you can work out, practice your skills, or play 2-on-2 with friends any time or day of the week. 

Artist Studio 

This option applies to all creatives, from painters and musicians to photographers and ceramicists. Our barn kits offer the ideal setting for those looking for a secluded space where they can be as loud, messy, or downright genius as they need to be.  

Mother-in-Law Suite 

Sharing space with anyone outside your immediate household can be challenging, especially if you’re not used to having a packed house for the holidays. With a mother-in-law suite or backyard ADU, you can offer your friends and family the privacy of a separate guest bedroom while freely enjoying your house after a night (or multiple nights) of entertaining. 

Collector’s Gallery

You have an impressive collection that deserves its own showroom, and we have a line of barn kits that will make your memorabilia shine. With the help of our talented designers, you can create a barn-style structure that brings your collection together in one magnificent space.  

A Harry Potter-Themed Bar 

This last suggestion is partially a joke, but mostly Sirius. We would love to help you design a Harry Potter-themed bar — or any movie-themed bar, for that matter — on your property. While a barn might not be the most authentic portrayal of Harry Potter architecture, we can work with just about any vision you have for the space and help you transform your kit into a magical space that any muggle would adore. 

Ready to get started on your barn project? Call us at (888) 975-2057 or request a catalog today


Sizing Your Event Venue

Determining the right size for your wedding and event venue may seem like a simple task but it’s a bit more complex than most people realize. While it certainly helps to use other venues as a frame of reference for your design, it’s not always the most effective or accurate method for calculating your total square footage. In this blog post, we’ll break down the many factors that influence your venue size, including the location of your project and what services you plan to offer, as well as what you’ll want to consider in the space planning phase of your design. If you’re ready to start designing your dream wedding and event venue, here’s what you’ll need to know to estimate the right size for your commercial project.

The items listed here are designed to provide a general overview of how you can calculate your venue size and are by no means considered a comprehensive guide to space planning. The averages below are based on past venue projects featured in the DC Structures gallery.

Average Square Footage Calculations

Main Hall | Average: 4,790 sq. ft.
Prep Kitchen | Average: 416 sq. ft.
Restrooms | Average: 430 sq. ft.
Storage | Average: 392 sq. ft.
Mechanical Room | Average: 209 sq. ft.
Bar | Average: 199 sq. ft.
Dance Floor | Average: 400 sq. ft.
Bridal Suite | Average: 463 sq. ft.
Groom’s Suite | Average: 406 sq. ft.
Balcony | Average: 337 sq. ft.

The Basics

Main Hall

According to the International Building Code, 15 sq. ft. is calculated for an occupancy space with tables and chairs that are not bolted to the ground. This means that for an event space with a maximum guest capacity of 350 people, you’re looking at a minimum 5,250 sq. ft. ceremony and reception area by code. Something worth mentioning is that this gives the “code” occupancy and not the true occupancy of your wedding venue. Most venues will include six-person or eight-person round tables, or even 12-person tables, as part of their seating plan. Because of this, the size of an event space will oftentimes be much larger than the minimum provided by code, especially when you factor in walk-ins and the optional dance floor. To help you visualize your seating options and how they might affect your venue size, our design team can create sample seating layouts based on your desired occupancy.

Prep Kitchen

As mentioned earlier, the services you plan to provide will play a significant role in calculating the ideal size for your event venue design; and the choice between a prep kitchen or commercial kitchen serves as a prime example of this. The difference between a prep kitchen and a commercial kitchen is that a prep kitchen is designed to be a space where caterers can come in and warm their food whereas a commercial kitchen allows you to prepare your food on-site. Because no actual food production is happening inside a prep kitchen, the kitchen space will only need to include a warming oven or a stove range, along with a residential grade refrigerator and other necessities (not including a pantry or commercial freezer). In most venues, a prep kitchen is likely to be anywhere from 400 sq. ft. to 600 sq. ft., but this can fluctuate based on your needs.

Commercial Kitchen

With a commercial kitchen, clients are looking at an 800 sq. ft. to 1,200 sq. ft. space on average. This would generally include dry storage, a commercial freezer, a dishwashing area, a prep area, and all necessary commercial ranges and production equipment for on-site food preparation.

Prep Kitchen vs. Commercial Kitchen

Code-wise, the decision between a prep kitchen and a commercial kitchen makes a huge difference because it influences the assembly type of your building. Our commercial buildings typically fall under two assembly group classifications – A-2 or A-3. An A-2 building is a commercial structure intended for food/drink consumption (think restaurants, nightclubs, and casinos) whereas the focus of an A-3 building is less so on food consumption as it is on worship, recreation, or amusement (think gyms, art galleries, and churches).

While a prep kitchen can be found in either building type, a commercial kitchen will only ever be found in an A-2 building since this building type is specifically intended for on-site food production. In terms of sizing your venue, this makes a difference because clients are required to provide more toilets in an A-2 building than they otherwise would in an A-3 building. The idea behind this requirement is that people will be consuming food or drink for an extended period in an A-2 space, and therefore more toilets will be needed to accommodate their needs.


The restrooms included in your event venue will always be sized proportionately to building occupants. However, the required number of toilets based on total occupancy can vary drastically by jurisdiction so it’s important to understand the specific plumbing codes for your area before making your calculations. To give you an idea of the average ADA restroom size, the minimum size for men’s and women’s restrooms in an event venue is 400 sq. ft. altogether. For example, a small venue with a maximum occupancy of 150 people might meet this minimum. However, if you’re designing a catered event space with a maximum occupancy of 350 people, this number could substantially increase.


Every wedding and event venue needs a sizable storage area for tables, chairs, and miscellaneous items. While most of our clients choose to store chairs and tables inside the main building, some prefer having a separate structure dedicated to storage. Operationally speaking, it’s generally easier to store tables and chairs inside your event space so you don’t have to do as much heavy lifting. However, if you plan to offer both indoor and outdoor event spaces, it might help to have a detached storage space where you can store your outdoor chair and table sets. Though the proportions for your storage space will depend on your needs for the room, the average size of a storage room in our venue designs is about 400 sq. ft. (not including the mechanical room). Our clients will also need to factor in a janitor’s closet as part of their calculations, but these spaces typically average somewhere between 15 sq. ft. and 20 sq. ft. and are sometimes added to a prep or commercial kitchen space.

Mechanical Room

A mechanical room is an area inside your commercial building that houses your mechanical equipment. This space may include your fire riser and other necessary equipment to keep your building protected and functioning properly. The average size of our mechanical rooms is typically anywhere between 80 sq. ft. and 100 sq. ft. if it’s not also serving as a storage space. This room will typically be positioned on the exterior wall so fire departments can easily access your mechanical equipment in the case of an emergency.

Corridors & Hallways

Circulation is a major consideration in any structure, but it’s especially important in a commercial event space. If you’re starting with a custom design for your venue, you’ll want to multiply your total square footage by 1.05% to calculate the appropriate circulation factor for your project. For instance, if you’re designing a venue that’s roughly 4,500 sq. ft. in total conditioned space, your hallways and circulation paths would add about 225 sq. ft. to your overall square footage.

Optional Add-ons


Most of our venue designs include a bar area in the main hall, but the size and layout generally vary by venue. In terms of size, the bars we design for clients typically fall between 120 sq. ft. and 150 sq. ft. However, in an event space like The Weinberg at Wixon in Bryan, Texas, the bar area is about 340 sq. ft. to accommodate the sheer volume of people inside the main hall. If you plan on designing a larger venue, we recommend adding a bar area that can accommodate two bartenders for maximum functionality. This type of bar will typically have about 10’ length in one direction and about 4’ of workable room behind the bar top.

Dance Floor

Dancing is a significant part of any wedding celebration. Whether you plan to host intimate gatherings or larger parties, consider adding an optional dance floor to your venue design. Our dance floors are usually about 400 sq. ft. in size. However, this number will vary by venue.

Bridal Suite

Another optional add-on for clients is the inclusion of a bridal suite as part of your venue design. Our bridal suites tend to be pretty spacious, ranging from 400 sq. ft. to 600 sq. ft. on average. We typically add a bridal suite to an upper level or mezzanine, with many including a private bathroom, vanity area, and balcony. A few clients have also created detached bridal suites for their wedding venues, with some featuring kitchenettes and private patio spaces. That said, you can design your bridal suite with or without these added features.

Groom’s Suite

Like our bridal suites, our groom’s suites are fairly large to accommodate the needs of the groom and his groomsmen. However, these suites tend to be smaller than the bridal quarters, with most running from 350 sq. ft to 550 sq. ft. on average. These suites can also include a private bathroom, balcony, kitchenette, or entertainment area inside the space.


Many clients of ours choose to add a balcony or deck to their wedding and event venue designs. While some clients choose to add balconies outside the bride’s and groom’s suites, others elect to include them above the entrance for visual appeal and function. Your outdoor area can be as small or large as you want for your venue, with our deck and balcony designs averaging between 200 sq. ft. and 600 sq. ft. We offer several options for your structure, including our cantilevered deck and heavy timber deck upgrades.

Office & Conference Room

If you plan on running a full-time event business out of your venue, you might consider adding a workspace and conference room to your design. These can exist inside your event space or as a separate unit apart from the main building. Typically, the office areas in our commercial event spaces are about 100 sq. ft. Our conference rooms tend to be 100 sq. ft. to 150 sq. ft.

Coat Closet

Coat closets are certainly not a must-have, but they do serve a valuable purpose in our wedding and event venue designs. If you plan to include a coat closet in your event space, you’ll want to add about 50 sq. ft. to 75 sq. ft. to your total square footage. However, this number can fluctuate depending on your needs and venue size.

Final Considerations for Your Venue

While designing your venue with our team, consider what kind of environment you want to offer clients and how space planning will play a role in achieving your vision. For instance, if you plan to build an all-inclusive event space suited to larger parties, you might consider adding a commercial kitchen to your venue so you can offer both prep and commercial kitchen capabilities for prospective clients. You might also consider adding private bathrooms, balconies, and luxurious vanity areas to your bride’s and groom’s suites to accommodate a range of needs. As always, our team is here to help guide you through the process and assist with any questions or concerns you may have regarding space planning.

For more information on our venue designs, feel free to give us a call at (888) 975-2057 or request a digital catalog! 

Knife Plates 101: What Are They & Why Do We Use Them?

We talk a lot about our prefabrication method and, more specifically, the benefits of utilizing our pre-cut heavy timbers for your installation process. However, something we don’t discuss nearly as often as our pre-engineered heavy timbers are what we use to keep our posts looking beautiful over time and protected from moisture build-up and rot — aka knife plates.

Knife plates are steel connection hardware pieces welded to fit seamlessly with our pre-cut heavy timber posts. When used during construction, knife plates create a buffer between our heavy timbers and the structural footing below so any moisture in the foundational concrete can’t easily seep up into the wood. Knife plates also keep our heavy timbers rooted firmly to your foundation, creating a sturdy framework for your structural shell. Additionally, these hardware pieces help keep the connection between your structural concrete and posts hidden so you can enjoy a cleaner look for your exterior framing components. With all these benefits to consider, it’s easy to see why we implement knife plates as part of our process. That said, it’s important to understand some key differences* between our standard knife plates and those we offer as an available upgrade.

*The information listed below applies to exterior installations only. When used for interior applications, our standard knife plates create a clean, seamless appearance for your heavy timber posts. See below for reference:

Our Knife Plate Options & Their Benefits

At DC Structures, we offer two different choices for knife plates — the first being our standard knife plates. Our standard knife plates are powder-coated steel connection pieces that are installed on elevated concrete pedestals poured above your structural footing. These concrete pedestals provide a solid, weatherproof barrier between the ground and posts, making our standard offering a practical option for clients in areas that experience heavy rain and snow.

Our second option, on the other hand, is our horse-friendly knife plates. These are steel connection hardware pieces that are hot-dipped galvanized and powder-coated for maximum protection. The primary difference between this option and our standard is our horse-friendly knife plates are bolted directly into the structural footing and feature an I-shaped design that raises the bottom of our posts to a pre-determined elevation.

One of the reasons why customers like our horse-friendly knife plates is because this option creates a sleek, polished appearance for your posts once your finished surfaces are complete. Instead of resting on concrete pedestals, your posts will appear as though they’re sitting right above your finished surface, providing a seamless look for your exterior. Another advantage to our horse-friendly knife plates is that your crews can install them before adding your surface material. By situating your posts above the area where your finished surface will be, your framing crews can easily map out and complete your drainage, utility hook-ups, and mechanicals before installing your surface material.

Most importantly, our horse-friendly knife plates are a great investment for horse owners and pet owners alike because they offer optimal safety for your animals. Because of the way our horse-friendly knife plates are designed, our clients can use sand, pavers, or other types of horse-safe material for their finished surface. This gives our customers who prefer softer surfaces for their turnout, paddock, or stall areas more leeway in deciding which surface material is best for their horse barn or riding arena project. Additionally, this option means our clients don’t have to worry about their horses tripping or injuring themselves on pesky concrete pedestals surrounding their posts. With your knife plates completely hidden and chew protection added to exposed corners of your posts, you can keep your heavy timbers in great shape and your horses protected from preventable accidents.

The choice between our standard knife plates and horse-friendly knife plates ultimately comes down to your preference. For instance, if you live in an area subject to inclement weather, you may be inclined to choose our standard knife plates as a precaution. Even so, there are plenty of ways that we can make your selection work for you and achieve your desired appearance and function.

Interested in learning more about our standard and horse-friendly knife plates? Be sure to visit our Options & Upgrades page or give us a call at (888) 975-2057 to speak with one of our representatives.

ADU Kits: Six Designs for Your Backyard Build

If there’s anything we learned in 2021, it’s that demand for housing is exploding across the U.S. From major cities like Chicago and Seattle to rural communities in Colorado and Tennessee, we saw an influx of eager home buyers snap up listings left, right, and center, with many homes flying off the market within hours of being listed and often well over asking price. The red hot housing market has created somewhat of a catch-22 for home buyers, considering mortgage rates remain historically low while dwindling inventory means stiff competition and fewer options across the board. But the challenges of finding affordable and livable housing aren’t exclusive to home buyers; renters are also feeling the financial and mental strain of the booming U.S. housing market. 

According to, rent prices in the U.S. rose more than 10% in 2021 and will likely continue to climb in 2022. In cities like Dallas, where the population grew by 120,000 residents in the last year or so, renters are having an increasingly difficult time finding affordable rentals throughout the city – and they’re not alone. With thousands of empty-handed home buyers leaving the housing market and millions of Americans continuing to move states, the rental market in 2022 is on track to become even more saturated than the previous year. And while this may seem like bad news for renters, there is a solution that could help alleviate the housing crisis in cities across the U.S. and open new doors of opportunity for current and future homeowners.

The solution we’re referring to is accessory dwelling units, otherwise known as ADUs. Often added to one’s backyard space, an ADU can serve as a detached guest suite, an office, a workshop, or a personalized man or lady cave. In the context of this blog post, an ADU creates a mutually beneficial opportunity for renters and homeowners, considering long-term renters provide homeowners with a stable source of passive income in exchange for a quiet, flexible rental within their budget. Not to mention, an ADU can substantially increase the value of one’s home, making it a lucrative investment that virtually pays for itself and more.  

Whether you’re planning to build a new home or considering adding to your existing home, an ADU is a wise investment that offers numerous benefits for homeowners and renters alike. If you’re in the market for an ADU of your own, take a look below at some of the prefabricated ADU kits we offer that might just be the perfect solution for your property: 

McKenzie Cabin Kit:

With 651 square feet of conditioned living space, our McKenzie Cabin Kit can serve as a detached one-bedroom rental perfect for solos or couples. 

Modern McKenzie Cabin Kit: 

This modern, sloped cabin design offers slightly more square footage than our classic McKenzie Cabin Kit, boasting 721 square feet of flexible living space.

Deschutes Cabin Kit: 

The Deschutes Cabin Kit is a 776 sq. ft. post and beam structure designed with one bedroom and one bathroom. With the help of our designers, you can add a second bedroom to the existing design or customize your floor plan entirely. 

Modern Deschutes Cabin Kit: 

The modern take on our Deschutes Cabin Kit, the Modern Deschutes is a simple one-bedroom cabin design with room for creativity.

Rogue Cabin Kit:

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabin kit features a cozy master suite, an open-concept living space with vaulted ceilings, and a charming covered porch. With its classic cabin appearance, the Rogue offers the warmth and comfort of a small home or cottage. 

Modern Rogue Cabin Kit: 

Coming in at 948 square feet, the Modern Rogue Cabin Kit offers ample room for two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and open-concept living. Like our classic Rogue, this cabin design includes a covered porch. 

Need inspiration for your ADU project? Check out our project gallery to see how our clients transformed their kits into the perfect ADUs for their homes! 

If you’re ready to get started on your ADU build, give us a call at (888) 975-2057 or request a quote here.

Supply Chain Issues & Your Project Timeline

In recent months, the global supply chain crisis has become a major cause for concern for those eager to build a new home or structure. With everything from windows and doors to dimensional lumber experiencing long lead times, many homebuyers are finding it difficult to jumpstart their construction with several of their key building components severely backlogged. Though analysts predict supply chain shortages will continue well into 2022, there are numerous ways that clients can expedite their project timelines while saving time and money in the process. If you’re considering investing in a pre-engineered building kit from DC Structures, here’s what you need to know about the materials shortages we’re currently experiencing and how you can move through our process quicker.

Supply Chain Shortages Impacting DC Structures

As with every building kit producer here in the U.S., we’ve had to adjust our pricing to meet the demands of the market and then some. On top of lumber prices hitting all-time highs this year, we’ve also seen lead times for several other building materials increase exponentially over time, with some being six months to a year out from the job site. Of the materials shortages we’re experiencing at DC Structures, the most prominent by far are windows, entry doors, prefinished siding, and garage doors.

While it may be disappointing or concerning to think of how this can affect your project timeline, there are a few things clients can do to maneuver around long lead times. For example, buying products locally can significantly reduce lead times, as local products are transported over shorter distances than those shipped internationally. At DC Structures, we purchase most of our building materials here in the Pacific Northwest to help minimize delays and ensure better overall quality for our building kits. However, we can also custom quote windows, doors, siding, and more from materials suppliers in your area if you prefer to buy them locally.

Ways to Expedite Your Building Process

Aside from materials shortages, there are many other factors that can significantly extend the time it takes to start building your structure, including delays in permitting, site preparation, and selections. Here’s how you can avoid unnecessary setbacks in the building process by taking a proactive approach to your construction project.

Communicate Design Changes As Soon as Possible

Design changes are an inevitable part of crafting a new home or building. From minor changes like swapping out standard windows for an available upgrade to making major structural modifications to your pre-engineered building model, our clients are bound to tweak a few or more details of their design to better suit their needs. At DC Structures, we view this as a perfectly normal aspect of the design phase and are always happy to help clients tailor their structures according to their tastes. However, where this starts to affect your project timeline is in the communication breakdown, as design changes that are communicated right away help us move you through our process that much faster than those that are submitted days or weeks later.

It is worth noting that clients may need more time to evaluate their design plans, which is okay! It is more important to us that you feel completely confident in your design, as we want to be sure you love the result of your partnership with us. If you need more time to review your model, we simply recommend that you continue to share your thoughts and ideas with our designers so they can help you form a design that aligns with your vision. By keeping us in the loop, we can guarantee the best results for your building and help facilitate an efficient, collaborative design process.

Plan for Permitting

If there is anything that can stop your project dead in its tracks, it is permitting. Obtaining a building permit is a necessary part of constructing a new residential or commercial building, considering nothing can happen on your job site without one. Knowing this, it is important to do your research on local standards for zoning, land use, and construction early in the planning stage, so you have a better understanding of what you will need to submit to your local building office. Typically, this will include schematic design with floor plans and elevations and construction documents with structural calculations. However, depending on your location, you may need additional consultants and engineers to submit stamped drawings of your building plans, which could include civil drawings and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) plans. Because these requirements can vary drastically by location, we recommend that clients contact their county building office in advance to discuss their project details and determine the next steps for acquiring a building permit.

Lock Down Your Contractor Early

Collaborating with an experienced contractor who can carefully plan and execute your construction is a must for any client, as is partnering with a designer you can trust to carry out your vision. If you plan to build a new home or structure this coming year, it is best to start your search for the right contractor as soon as possible so you have time to evaluate your options and choose the best person for the job. If you do not already have someone in mind for your project or feel you need help with the process, we offer a nationwide builder network comprised of trusted contractors across the country and can help connect you with the perfect builder for your project.

Learn more about our nationwide builder network by clicking here.

Finalize Your Selections Before Procurement

One of the most enjoyable yet difficult aspects of designing a structure from scratch is selecting the features that will go into your home or building, considering there are hundreds, if not thousands, of options to choose from for your design. While it is completely understandable that clients may need extra time to research their options, it is important to note that any selections made or changed after procurement will undoubtedly extend the time it takes to finish your structure. For this reason, we recommend that clients have their selections squared away before procurement to ensure a smooth construction process. Doing so also allows our team to get ahead of long lead times, as any selections that are severely backlogged can be addressed in advance and potentially swapped out for a similar item.

Prepare Your Site for Delivery

Site preparation is a crucial step in the building process. When done correctly, your project can move quickly and accurately through construction, as your contractor is made aware of any anomalies on your site and can maneuver around these issues more carefully. While the process of site clearing, surveying, soil testing, and site planning are all necessary prior to delivery, it is also important to ensure your site is properly staged and designed to allow for an easy delivery process. For example, our pre-engineered building packages arrive on a forty-eight-foot semi-truck. Because of this, we ask that clients make sure their properties are accessible and allow our semis to easily turn around after drop-off. It is also imperative to ensure your job site is set up in a way that keeps your materials clean and organized. For more information on how you can effectively prepare your site for delivery, watch our DC Best Practices video to learn more about DC Builders’ approach to creating a clean and efficient staging area on your job site.

Design in Winter, Build in Spring

Just as the title suggests, clients that design their structures in winter and start construction in spring are bound to experience fewer delays associated with weather on their job sites, considering snow, hail, and frequent rain can significantly impact the time it takes to get your project off the ground. If you do plan to start construction in spring or summer, we recommend contacting contractors early in the year – even as early as January if possible – to start the process of finalizing your builder. This is because seasonal demand usually increases in the summer months, making it difficult to lock down a contractor or subcontractors during this time. By planning ahead for spring or summer construction, you can determine a schedule and budget that works well for you and your contractor and anticipate a much faster construction process than one that begins in the wintertime.