DC Builders makes the construction experience easy for its clients.
By Alan Dorich
DC Builders has established itself as an expert in custom wood buildings. “Our experience, systems and processes allow us to be very efficient in building these types of structures,” Partner Dustin Gruetter declares.
Based in Portland, Ore., DC Builders specializes in barn homes, apartment barns, horse barns, timber-frame homes and commercial buildings. Gruetter started the company in 2003 with a group of childhood friends, including Crew Leader Cole Hansen.
Both had a love for wood, which set the company’s direction. “It was just a passion for that look, that style and that architecture,” Gruetter recalls, noting that DC Builders’ first project was a home on his grandmother’s land.
Afterward, “We started getting referrals around the Portland Metro area,” he continues, noting that the company moved into work that included painting and decks. “It developed into the all-wood structures that we do now.”
DC Builders grew its reach nationwide and has completed projects in several states, including North Carolina, Tennessee and Colorado. “For the right project, we’ll go where we need to,” he says.
Gruetter recently formed DC Structures, a sister company that specializes in pre-engineered kits for barns, cabins, apartment barns, garages and riding arenas. “That has the same architectural appeal of the products we design,” he says.
But clients can use a local general contractor of their choice or one of DC Builders’ preferred partners. “It’s allowed us to work with more clients across the country,” Gruetter says.
DC Builders’ recent projects include the Sparrow Event Venue in Stillwater, Okla. Gruetter explains that the company provided design and construction services for a 12,000-square-foot venue that will hold up to 300 people.
“They have several wedding spots on this beautiful piece of property,” he says, noting that the Venue’s main pavilion will be used for ceremonies.
DC Builders used faux-reclaimed wood siding at the venue, which is made to look like the real thing. “We also were able to use a 60-foot ClearSpan truss across the entire building,” Gruetter states. “It was a very fun project to be a part of.”
The company also provided the design and materials kit for Sycamore Farms in Arrington, Tenn. “We worked with the local general contractors that handled all of the construction from start to finish,” he recalls, noting that guests also can to rent the location for their weddings.
DC Builders is now at work on a 37,000-square-foot equine structure in Oregon City, Ore. “There’s 31,000 square feet of riding arena [space] and stalls,” he says.
“It’s a pretty special project,” he says, noting that the residence will feature 6,000 square feet of mixed-use space for offices, a bunkhouse and storage space. “It’s definitely going to be one of our best projects that we’ve done.”
The company also is building an 8,000-square-foot custom home in Eugene, Ore. “We’re going to take it to completion,” Gruetter says, adding that the home will feature timber frame accents on the exterior and interior.
He also highlights the Barrel House, a 3,600-square-foot event space and tasting room built in Portland. “It has a lot of cool features in it, including a polished concrete floor, exposed timbers and elements for the siding,” Gruetter describes.
Tumwater Vineyard LLC owns the property, which has grapes planted on its land. “The plan is to use the grapes for the wine they serve at the Barrel House,” he says.
DC Builders’ methods allow it to accelerate project schedules. “We have a lot of similar kind of design features that we’ve done over and over,” Gruetter says, explaining that this allows the company to prefabricate elements in its shop.
“The same goes for our design process,” he says, adding that its designers also communicate closely with its project managers and clients about project costs. “[They] know what it costs at all times.”
DC Builders also designs all of its projects using Revit 3-D modeling software, enabling its customers to catch anything they may want to change before it is built. “It makes the design process more complete,” Gruetter says. “It gives them a look and feel before they actually build it.”
Nice and Easy
DC Builders is a good position in the industry. “We have a lot of really good clients and projects here in Portland and around the country,” Gruetter says.
The company will hold onto that status as it continues focusing on quality. “We’re not trying to aggressively grow our business like we have in the past,” he says. Instead, DC Builders prefers to concentrate on developing its staff, enhancing the customer experience and adopting the latest technology.
DC Builders will “make the process for our clients as simple and as easy as possible,” he says. “That’s why they hire us.”
The company will bring that approach to Hidden Pines, a 20,000-square-foot indoor riding facility in Franktown, Colo. “We should be breaking ground in mid-July,” he predicts, noting that the project will feature a 6,000-square-foot barn with 12 horse stalls.