Working from home isn’t just for desk jockeys. If your daily duties require you to roll up your sleeves in a workshop environment, you can bring home and work together with a shop house (or shouse).
That’s a post-frame, or pole barn, building that combines a shop and a house. Below, find out how the Heckman family benefitted from this unique type of building.
What the owners wanted:
Literally bringing work home (in the best way possible)
Tim Heckman wanted to bring together the best of both worlds: the comfort and convenience of home with a professional workshop where he could conduct lab work for his business, Midwest Genetics.
So he reached out to Ryan Hartman of RC Hartman Construction of Granville, IL, for a solution. What would allow Tim the space he needed for his business while also giving him the ability to essentially “work from home?”
Hartman thought a shouse would be a perfect solution.
What was special about the project:
Flexibility was key
A post-frame structure is an ideal building option for a shop house. 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 a space flexible enough for storage, a workshop, and even a full-blown living space (in other words, a house!).
The Heckmans, for example, were sold on features like these:
- 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.
Hartman notes that the Heckmans love their work area being so close to the family. “They live in the shop part more than they do in their house,” he says.
What was tricky:
Balancing the project vision with building code realities
The Heckman shouse exemplifies how post-frame construction creates unique options for flexibility in design and adaptability to a range of needs.
But there is a caveat: Just because a post-frame building lets owners configure their space in a variety of ways doesn’t mean it’s easy to construct.
RC Hartman Construction has been building them for years, but they still rely on the Wick team of designers and engineers to help with the customized requirements each shouse requires.
More specifically, building codes for these types of structures can be tricky to navigate, and Wick Buildings helped Hartman and his crew in this area, enabling them to focus on building a high-quality structure—done by the building code book.
Who helped build it:
A trusted partner who knows a smart trend when he sees one
Ryan Hartman has been helping construct 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.
Over this time, he’s seen a lot of trends in the post-frame building industry, and right now shop houses are one of the hottest. He points out a few reasons why:
More interior options. Without having to deal with load-bearing walls, people have unlimited configuration options.
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 can be constructed without a basement. That can create significant savings compared to having a continuous foundation built. And 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 possibilities—like shouses.
Why Wick Buildings was the right choice:
Post-frame’s clear advantages combined with a commitment to quality
If you’re going to have a shop house, you want to have it designed and built right. For the Hickmans, a Wick post-frame building had a number of distinct advantages over other options.
Wick Buildings and our trusted construction partners use smart building techniques to help ensure owners can enjoy their structures for years to come.
More than that, we use materials of exceptional quality and give people options to create a shouse that meets both their functional and aesthetic needs. Here’s what we mean:
Reliable, high-quality lumber. We only use machine-graded or machine-evaluated lumber for all structural components. The process creates consistency in using great-performing, high-quality lumber.
Durable steel and paint. Wick shop houses include full-hard exterior steel, with 80,000 PSI hardness or better. This results in less dents. Our steel is also G-90 galvanized for better corrosion protection, and our paint is warrantied not to chip or crack for 40 years. (See more on paint options below.)
A spectrum of color choices. Expanding your color selections gives you a better chance to find just the right color for you. To our long list of popular colors, Wick recently added Copper, Modern Red, Gray Wood, and Matte Textured Black.
Weather Shield windows and doors. You can choose Weather Shield windows and doors. These products include a cutting-edge glass coating system for energy efficiency and come in vinyl and aluminum clad frame options. They’re also covered by a 20-year warranty and are made in the USA.
BLOCK-IT® House Wrap technology. Better weatherization for your shouse means less chance for moisture, rot, mold, and structural failure. Wick uses Kimberly-Clark BLOCK-IT® House Wrap, patented construction technology that creates a breathable barrier as it prevents water penetration. You get premium protection that’s also affordable.
With the right team, a shop house really can make a dream home come true.
Interested in a project like this? Find a builder in your area!