What is a Shouse?

What is a Shouse?

Exploring the rich European History of dual purpose Residence

The term "shouse", which signifies a combination of a garage or shop coupled with a house is throught to be a new concept in the Midwest in that past 20 years. It really isn't a new, but rather an old concept dating back to the Middle Ages in Europe where it was incorporated by my ancestors for many of the same reasons we use it today:

  • Economics
  • Saves Real Estate
  • Convenience during bad weather
  • Architectural creativity

There are 2 major changes that have occured since our ancestors from the Swiss/French region built and used the types of structures.

1. We are no longer a predominate agriculture society, so rather than house/barn combinations, we use house/shop combinations or house/garage combinations.

2. Animals are no longer our primary method of transportation, which explains the evolution of this old idea into a new one, now called the "shouse" concept.

The old structures that are still spread throughout Europe usually are Half Timber contruction with many having thatched strawn or slate roofs. The common floor plan combines the family's living quarters with the living quarters of the animals with the family quarters being partitioned on one end with the rest of the structure used for agricultural purposes.

What makes a shouse so special?

Building a shouse instead of a traditional home might be the right move for you. In addition to being a low-maintenance, cost-effective housing option, a shouse is great for those who want to:

  • Avoid dealing with a homeowners association
  • Create an open floor plan
  • Add custom features like a wrap-around porch
  • Build a dedicated workspace in their home

Call 660-654-3989 today to speak with a general contractor about your new shouse. When you set up a consultation with us, we'll work with our in-house designers and architects to design your shouse on the spot.

German Houses and Barns--Exteriors


Types of houses and the construction materials depended on country or town location and on regional variation.

Half timber construction was very popular in both the countryside and city in Germany in the middle ages and later. The frame of the building was made of timber, usually oak. The timbers were morticed and pegged together. Triangular bracing was used to give additional support. The spaces between the timbers were filled with waddle and daub, brick, stones, or plaster. The timber remained visible both inside and outside the building.

Buildings were also constructed of brick and stone. Some out buildings were constructed of wood.

Roofs were thatched with straw or reed, tiled or slated.

A common floor plan combined the family's living quarters and the living quarters of the animals. The families rooms were at the one end of the building and usually included: one or more sleeping rooms (kammer) and one or more sitting rooms (stube) depending on the size of the dwelling. An open kitchen dining area (fleet) was in front of the living room and ran the width of the building. A hearth was at the center of the "fleet". Smoke escaped through the roof without benefit of a chimney. The smoke dried the hay which was stored in the loft above.

At the front of the buulding were the animals stalls and the "deele". It was formed by the space between animal stalls on either side. This was the largest area in the building and was entered from the outside by large doors.

The deele was used for threshing grain, breaking flax, gathering the harvest, other labors.

  • Dutch Heritage Homes

    Jamesport, MO 64648


    Call Us
    Phone: (660) 654-3989

    Mon: 9:00AM-5:00PM
    Tue: 9:00AM-5:00PM
    Wed: 9:00AM-5:00PM
    Thu: 9:00AM-5:00PM
    Fri: 9:00AM-5:00PM
    Sat: Closed
    Sun: Closed