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What is a Shouse? The ultimate guide to shop-house

A shouse or a shop-house is a combination of shop (workshop) & house under a single roof. The concept is pretty similar to the ‘barndominium‘ that represents a combination of a barn & condominium.

In recent years, owners have preferred to build a house aligning with their previous shop, usually using wood or steel structure.

There is no predetermined dimension of shouse that purely depends on the owners’ mindset. However, the dimensions vary depending on the land size and floor plan.

Shouse definition

Why the concept become popular?

In the middle European age, some people used to build shops or a workshop beside their house. Slowly the concept has been adopted by the Americans to build the dwelling space attached to their workshop.

The main attraction was that you do not need to start anything from scratch. If anyone has a workshop, the engineering consultants will easily make steel structured design so that the new house structure grows attached to the workshop.

In this concept, building the exterior structure is the primary objective that offers a big living space. Owners then organize and make necessary beautification of the indoor interior and furnishing.

The shouse concept is also executed using a pole barn which is actually the replication of an wooden barndominium.

Shouse Advantage

These are the core benefits of building a shouse

  • Shouse offers greater flexibility in balancing family and work life since the owner does not need to go far for work.
  • This concept allows the owner to expand, relocate, and reuse the material in the future which may not be possible in civil construction works.
  • Shouse has an open-concept layout which means there is always a chance to restructure the indoor room allocation and appearance,
  • Building a shouse is cheaper than building a traditional shop and a separate house. For instance, modern villas cost 75% higher than the steel structured shouse / barndominium.
  • Building a shouse would take shorter time than other types of buildings.
  • Its energy efficient since most of the floor plans are open floor that gives ample opportunities to optimize energy consumption.
  • Building a house with a basement offers a bigger storage facility, greater storm protection and higher resale value.

Negative sides of a shouse

Apart from a bunch of positive sides, there are some negative sides as well.

  • Shouses are less lucrative than modern houses. In a shouse concept, you focus more on interior and less on the outdoor appearance. But, in a modern house – outdoor appearance are more appealing as it gives a sense of the inner beauty.
  • Land requirement is high in shouse compared to other form of construction. Since shouse is an open floor horizontal construction, you need larger land to build it.
  • Building a shouse may not be permissible in all location as it needs to comply building codes and neighboring regulations. You may find a lot of shouses in texas and alabama compared to the cities like newyork.

Cost of a shouse

The cost of a shouse will be in a range of $30 to $65 per square foot. However, the cost would again vary depending on the following factors.

Let us now discuss what affects the cost of a shouse!

First of all, location plays a main role while accounting for a shouse cost. For example, a shouse in a rural area would be less expensive than the northwest region due to less cost of land, utility and other cost drivers.

Check these shouse plans which are cost effective and lucrative.

Shouse cost

Since the shouse is built with the [refabricated steel structure, size would be the second cost driver. Cost varies depending on size, layout and weight of steel to be used to build. Usually, the cost will be calculated at cost per foot method which often comes high if you build smaller shouses. The reason is that the metal fabricators can expand the size of a shouse after the main structure is calculated. So, there would be a breakeven point which will offer you the lowest cost for a shouse.

These are the 5 questions you should ask to your steel provider which actually help in lowering the cost by 25%.

The design or the floor plans will be another cost influencer. If you are making a two storied shouse or a shouse with a basement, then the cost per square foot would be varied depending on the civil construction costs, roofing, stair styles and insulation.

Finally, there should be fees involved to build a shouse such as design/floor plan fee, prefabricated steel suppliers’ fee, civil construction fees, permission fees and erection fees. Such costs are not same everywhere as the competition among the suppliers and stakeholders often varies.

Lastly, the indoor and exterior features such as roofing, insulation, grounding and utility features covering doors and windows will affect the ultimate cost of a shouse.

Shouse vs barndominium

We often get confused in two words, shouse and barndominium. Let us clarify the issue.

A shouse is a type of barndominium.

A barndominium is a combination of barn + condominium that represents establishing a house attached to the barn using same structure and roof.

Similarly, a shouse represents that there would be a shop (instead of a barn) attached to the house in one set of building frame and one roof.

Technically there is no differance except for wording and purpose in between the shouse and barndominium.

Here’s a detailed article on barndominium vs shouse.

Shouse vs barndominium

How a connected workshop helps

Since shouse is a concept where you will have your workshop and home under the same roof, there are some advantages of it.

At first, it gives better control and security. If you are living beside your workshops, there would be less chance of stealing and other security threats. Furthermore, it gives ultimate freedom to choose when to work and take rest.

A shouse also gives you to store your important machineries beside your home safely. Also, you can park your vehicle or store just anything on the workshop. It remains inside the house when the sliding doors are shut.

There is also structural advantage. When a workshop is built in lign with the house, there would be better strength as the load of the structure is already computer calculated and placed accordingly. Secondly, such pre-engineered buildings are more climate resilient than the traditional houses.

Furthermore, the combined structure would also allow you to make a taller roof which is merely impossible in traditional houses. For example, you cam make the roof 24 feet tall in a shouse and the indoor space can always be changed or modified since it is already an open floor architectural design.

Frequently asked questions

What is another name for a shouse?

Shouse definition

A shouse is often named as shome, shophouse, garagedominium, barndodinium or a barndo. It doesn’t matter what you call it as the basic principle is the same (combining two properties in one roof).

What does a shop house look like?

Shouse vs barndominium

A shop house or a shouse is made with wood or metal frame where the shop is accessible by the large living space attached to it. Basically, a shop house looks like a large warehouse from the outside but the indoor completely depends on the mindset of the owner.

Can a shouse have a basement?

Shouse basement

Yes, a shouse or a barndominium can have a basement in both full and partial form. You may also make a crawlspace and utilize the basement for storage purposes. However, making a basement would increase the cost of construction by around 15% but would also offer higher resale value at the same time.

Let’s wrap

A shouse or a shop house can be your ideal target if you love freedom in both work and organizing your daily work-life balancing. If you have enough land and locality which supports your business sand welling at the same, building a shouse or a barndominium would be a great option for you.

Brian Cooper
Brian Cooper

I'm Brian, an architectural engineer from the University of Texas

Writing about barndominium is my passion. I try to bring informative and technical contents on barndominium so that the entire sourcing and construction process seems easy.

As an architectural engineer, I do have expertise of designing and building using prefabricated steel structures. Moreover, I am connected with 500+ prefabricated steel structure experts that helps me to gather and prepare the relevant information for your help.

I have experience of 250+ barndominium contrustion of which 75% are built with metal structure. Moreover, I am a trained energy audit professional, and with that specialization I can help you to bring your barndo's energy consumption at minimum level.

I hope you like my write-ups which is my greatest inspiration.

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