360° Barn Home Tour: Garage With Living Quarters

garage with living quarters

DC Structures’ post and beam building kits are designed to bring you closer to your passions—literally! Guided by the idea that where you live and what you love should be one in the same, we offer flexible and functional packages that can be modified to suit your unique lifestyle.

This garage with upstairs living quarters in Bend, Oregon is a shining example of the ways in which home can effortlessly combine with hobby—all without sacrificing on luxury. Adapted from an Oakridge 60’ barn home kit, this stunning barn-style house features a large garage and storage space on the ground floor and sweeping open-concept living quarters upstairs.

Tour the inside of these stunning upstairs living quarters!

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Ready to turn your hobbies into a lifestyle? Request our digital catalog to get started on your dream building today!

Where the Party at? Backyard Party Barn Ideas

party barn ideas

Remember the good ol’ days when you could avoid the humdrum of homework and chores by escaping to your backyard tree house? Or, if your own childhood was devoid of tree house adventures, then perhaps you secretly long for the return to innocence that was those easier times. Either way, a backyard party barn could be just the thing that’s missing from your property.

Party barns are what you make of them, and can serve a range of purposes from work space and man cave to backyard bar and gaming room. Just think of it as a place you’d like to unwind after a long day of grinding away at your regular 9-5, or the place you’d like to practice your craft after hours.

DC Structures’ flexible line of post and beam barn kits are easily reimagined for a number of party barn ideas. Our designs can be modified to include anything you think would add to the personalization of your backyard getaway.

This backyard party barn in Damascus, Oregon is the perfect mix of your favorite pastimes and some much needed relaxation. Starting with a Columbia 24’ barn kit, these floor plans were modified to include a workshop, man cave and upstairs loft. A custom bar and handcrafted timber frame stairs add to the rustic aesthetic, while upgrades to the sweeping deck make this structure the perfect all-seasons hangout.

Tour the inside of this party barn in the interactive photo below!

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Are the wheels of inspiration turning for your own party barn ideas? Request our digital catalog for more!

Video: Cornelius Apartment Barn Testimonial

apartment barn

For the team at DC Structures, building relationships is just as important as helping customers build their dream barn or barn-style home. We take pride in the quality of our product and service offerings, making client connections a priority both during and after completion of their projects.

One of the many benefits of maintaining an open and honest line of communication with our customers is that they are happy to share their thoughts about what it’s like to work with DC Structures. We can sing our own praises for days, but we know the most valuable insights will always come from clients themselves.

Sustainable Living at its Finest: Apartment Barn Testimonial

The apartment barn is an efficient structure that makes good use of space with its hybrid design. Combining home with hobby, our apartment barn kits offer the benefit of bringing you closer to the things you love the most. Not to mention a reduced carbon footprint!

This sustainable apartment barn in Cornelius, Oregon boasts two horse stalls and two dog kennels on the ground floor, and a cozy living space upstairs. Modified from an Oakridge 36’ apartment barn kit, this functional and attractive structure boasts an array of energy-efficient upgrades. Skylights optimize natural lighting for the upstairs living quarters while a solar panel and electric car charging station reduce energy consumption.

Hear what the owners of this sustainable apartment barn have to say about working with DC Structures in the apartment barn testimonial below!

Thinking about an apartment barn for your own property? Request our digital catalog and get started on your dreams today!

Barn Conversion Cons: Why Remodeling Might Be A Bad Idea

barn conversion

Thinking about a remodel for that old wooden barn sitting unused on your property? Here are a few things to consider when planning for a barn conversion.

The idea of restoring an old barn into a rustic barn house might sound great in theory, but most of the time it’s a lot more costly and painstaking in practice.

The biggest barrier to a barn remodel is without a doubt financial. Hidden expenses will crop up in the form of things like fumigation costs and re-engineering fees. In other words, it won’t take long for the cost of the barn conversion to exceed the cost of an entirely new barn-style home.

If you’ve got an endless cash flow and a zen-like capacity for headache-inducing regulatory hiccups, then maybe a barn conversion is for you. If you’re like most people, however, you’ll probably prefer the path of least resistance.

Barn Conversion Woes: The Rotten, the Infested and the Costly

Before you begin to plan a barn remodel, it’s important to identify whether your barn is even worth converting. If your structure is a pole barn, don’t even bother.

Pole barns have short life spans because they rely on treated wood posts in concrete in lieu of a proper foundation. This means that, regardless of what chemicals are used to protect the lumber from the concrete’s moisture, the posts will inevitably rot.

As such, appraisers, banks and lenders do not always recognize pole barns as permanent structures. This complicates financing requests for your already spendy barn conversion. Further, many pole barns are not properly engineered to meet the structural requirements necessary for a residence. And good luck getting permits for that kind of project!

To add insult to injury, you’ll likely need to hire an architect or structural engineer who can create blueprints of the existing barn. If you don’t have the old plans, you can’t get permits or accurate bids for the new plans.

Even if the barn you’d like to remodel has a proper foundation, existing blueprints and adequate structural integrity, there is yet another roadblock to make you wary. Six-legged pests such as powder post beetles will wreak havoc on the timbers that support your barn.

Fumigation is expensive enough, but costs will be astronomical if you delay the process until after your old barn has been remodeled. Would the financial burden and logistical nightmare of vacating your residence be worth that rustic barn conversion?

The Post and Beam Barn House Alternative

DC Structures offers a diverse and highly modifiable line of post-and-beam building kits that will stay standing for two-to-three times longer than their pole barn counterparts. Whether you’re looking for a barn-style home, hybrid apartment barn, or a workshop or garage with living quarters, DC Structures has a kit to suit your lifestyle needs.

Our pre-engineered barn home kits are both efficient and cost-effective. We offer our clients the benefit of a rustic barn aesthetic that is built to last—all without the headache.

Request our digital catalog for a better sense of how we can make your barn house dreams come true.

Project Preview: North Carolina Horse Barn

north carolina horse barn

Oregon-based DC Structures partners with clients across the U.S., turning unique visions into pre-engineered materials packages. From apartment barns and barn-style homes to wineries and wedding and event venues, DC has several projects under construction at any given time.

Relationship building is the backbone of our operation, which is why DC Structures provides builder support to your chosen contractor throughout the duration of your build. We keep in contact with our customers long after the plans and materials package have been shipped—and even after construction is complete just to make sure you absolutely love your finished structure.

Learn more about our process here!

North Carolina Horse Barn in the Making

This past fall, construction finished for our client’s Tryon, North Carolina horse barn. Modified from a Columbia 72’ horse barn kit, this barn with caretaker’s quarters and upstairs viewing loft is an equestrian enthusiast’s dream.

The ground floor boasts eight horse stalls, a double-size tack room, a wash bay, and a full bathroom with shower and laundry. Upstairs, a 72’ center-aisle loft with heavy timber framing and fir tongue-and-groove decking offers a wonderful vantage point to check up on the horses.

The horse stalls are complemented by Classic Equine Legend Series stall fronts, and include such necessary amenities as stall dividers, rubber stall mats and chew protection. Black powder-coated steel-framed Dutch doors enhance the aesthetic, while also meeting DC Structures’ high standards for barn animal safety.

Additional upgrades to this Columbia horse barn kit include custom 12’ timber trusses, powder-coated breezeway doors with windows, and a steel-framed hayloft door. Natural lighting is optimized by the windows of two Nantucket shed dormers, as well as those of the iconic cupola.

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Stay tuned for photos of the finished project this spring!

Thinking about a horse barn for your own property? Request our digital catalog to learn more about our top-quality post-and-beam barn kits.

Oakridge Apartment Barns: One Kit, Limitless Potential

apartment barns

DC Structures designs apartment barns for the dedicated hobbyists; the people who put as much energy into their passions as they do their livelihoods. Much like our clientele, we prefer an original approach. Our innovative line of post-and-beam barn kits offers flexible utility to meet our customers’ unique lifestyle needs.

The Oakridge apartment barn is our best-selling kit, as it is easily our most versatile design. Making efficient use of one structure for two purposes, the Oakridge brings our clients closer to their favorite personal pursuits. Whether you’re looking for an apartment barn to call home for you and your horses or a workshop with upstairs living quarters to hone your craft at all hours, the Oakridge can work for you.

The Swiss Army Knife of Apartment Barns

Below are three different ways the Oakridge apartment barn kit has been repurposed by our creative clients. We’ve seen the Oakridge evolve into a garage with sweeping upstairs living quarters, an energy-efficient apartment barn, and a hunting cabin with equipment storage and workspace. Of course, we know that’s just the tip of the iceberg for this functional structure’s potential.


This massive garage with elegant upstairs living quarters was adapted from an Oakridge 60’. With ample storage and workspace on the ground floor, this beautiful Central Oregon barn home is as functional as it is attractive. On the top floor, a sweeping open-concept kitchen, living and dining area is complemented by a large 600 sq. ft. covered deck.

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This efficient apartment barn was modified from the Oakridge 36’ kit design. Featuring a host of sustainable upgrades, this hybrid home houses two horses and two dogs. Skylights optimize natural lighting while a solar panel lessens energy dependence. The addition of an electric car charging station minimizes the burning of fossil fuels.

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Designed from an Oakridge 60’ apartment barn kit, this workshop with cabin quarters serves as home base during hunting season. The attractive and functional structure boasts plenty of storage for heavy outdoor equipment, as well as fun additions to the living areas like a gaming space and wet bar.

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Scheming about what you would do with your own Oakridge apartment barn kit? Request our digital catalog for more inspiration!

No Horsing Around: Pro Tips for Horse Barn Safety

horse barn safety

Horse barn safety is DC Structures’ top priority when it comes to designing our top-of-the-line barn kits. Injuries pose a real threat to horses, as the road to recovery can be especially arduous for them. There are a number of preventative measures you can take to ensure the safety of your four-legged equine friends. Read on for our recommendations for best practices.

DC Structures’ top-8 horse barn safety tips

  • All barn materials should be free of chemical treatments as they present health risks to horses that chew on them. DC Structures uses top-grade untreated lumbers for its post-and-beam kit designs.
  • The areas within and around a barn should always be free of clutter. Loose items scattered about the aisles are a safety hazard.
  • Walkways should be no less than 12’ wide to allow horses to pass freely and turn around with ease. DC Structures’ barn kits all include plans that meet this requirement.
  • The aisle ways should have an even and well-tractioned surface. Textured concrete or dirt without rocks are both great options.
  • Stall fronts should have smoothed edges to avoid injury to the horse. All DC Structures horse barn packages include Classic Equine’s powder-coated, pre-galvanized steel stall fronts, designed specifically to protect your horse from scratches.
  • The only direction a stall door should swing is outward, as inward-swinging doors can create potentially dangerous situations for caretakers if the horse is anxious to get out.
  • Barn lighting should be mounted high away from a horse’s reach, or otherwise secured within strong wire casing.
  • Floor-to-ceiling height should be adequate for rearing horses. DC Structures designs its barn kits with a minimum of 9’ from the floor to the ceiling.

To learn more about DC Structures’ top-of-the-line horse barn kits, request our digital catalog.

Video: West Linn Covered Riding Arena Testimonial

covered riding arena

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best of Mane Street: Horse Stall Showcase

horse stall

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

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

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Farm composting: Don’t Waste It, Replace It

farm composting

Weighing the pros and cons of farm composting?

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

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

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

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

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

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

O2Compost: Get the most out of your compost

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

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

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

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

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

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

Structural Snow Loads You Can Count On

snow loads

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

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

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

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

The Many Faces of Snow

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

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

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

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

Planning for Snow Loads

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mono Slab Foundations: One and Done

monolithic slab foundations

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

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

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

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

Mono Slab Foundations: Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

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

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

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

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

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

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