Shouse Showcase: Bringing Work Home — Literally

September 23, 2019

Shouse Showcase: Bringing Work Home — Literally

Tim Heckman wanted to combine his shop, where he conducts lab work for his business Midwest Genetics, with his family home.  

He reached out to Ryan Hartman, who owns RC Hartman Construction of Granville, for a solution.  What would allow Tim the room he needed for Midwest Genetics, while also allowing him to be right next door to home and family?

To Hartman, the answer was simple.  He recommended a “shouse:” Part shed, part house. 

Post-frame Structures Ideal for Shouses

Shouses have been gaining popularity in recent years. They’ve long been a favorite of pilots, who like to add living quarters onto their airplane hanger and turn it into an “aviator’s cabin.”  

Post-frame buildings are an ideal building option for a shouse.  It uses clear-span trusses that provide wide open space and high ceilings. The trusses are supported by posts around the exterior of the building, eliminating the need for beams in the interior. 

The result is an ideal space for storage, workshops, and now — living space. 

Open floor plans allow you to configure rooms any way you like.

The Heckmans were swayed by the shouse’s flexibility.  It allowed them to include:

  • An open floor plan that allowed them to configure rooms any way they wanted. 
  • A great walk-out porch with views of the Illinois River Valley. 
  • Heated floors.

Working out their home, Hartman says the Heckmans love their office area being so close to the family. “They live in the shop part more than they do in their house,” he said.  

An appeal of a shouse is the office being close to the family.

What’s Fueling the Trend Toward Shouses?

Ryan Hartman has been building Wick Buildings since 1997, when he started as a builder on a crew. In 2004, he started his own business as a subcontractor, and eventually started selling and building Wick Buildings on his own in 2015. 

He’s seen a lot of trends during that time in the post-frame building industry, and shouses are today’s one of the hottest.  He explains a number of reasons why:

More interior options:  Without having to deal with a load-bearing wall, you have unlimited configuration options.  There are few limits when it comes to your floor plan. 

Improved insulation techniques:  The development of spray foam has allowed for improved insulation, helping fill gaps that frequently occur with conventional insulation. This helps not only with temperature control but also can reduce exterior noise, such as rain on a metal rooftop.

“My customers rave about the insulation,” Hartman notes. “Some had to only fill their LP tanks once during the past winter.”

Lower costs without the need for a foundation:  Post-frame buildings are constructed without a basement, which leads to hefty savings normally spent on a foundation.  Storm shelters can be constructed within the home as an alternative in areas susceptible to severe storms and tornadoes.

Social media:  Pinterest and other social media sites have exposed people to different styles of homes and architecture, such as Shouses.  

Expertise in Post-frame Quality and Conforming to Building Codes a Must

The flexibility and adaptability of post-frame construction makes the shouse option attractive.

The flexibility and adaptability of post-frame construction made the shouse option attractive to the Heckmans.  But just because a post-frame building allows for easy configuration options doesn’t mean it’s an easy build. 

Hartman has been at the game for over 20 years, and he relies heavily on the Wick Buildings teams of designers and engineers to help with the customized requirements each shouse requires. 

Building codes for these types of structures can be a bit difficult to navigate for the novice, but Wick Building has helped Hartman in this area as well, giving him the time he needs to focus on the building projects and his customers. 

The result is high-quality construction that’s done by the building code book.  And it’s why more and more people are choosing the shouse option: It’s a dream home come true.

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