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Best of both worlds

Sep 06, 2023Sep 06, 2023

It can be called a machine shed house, a shop house or even a "shouse" for short.

However it's labeled, it was the perfect fit for Darick and Jessica Vancura on their acreage in rural Jackson, MN.

"My husband was the shop house guy. I took a little more convincing but it's perfect for us and made the most sense for our needs," Jessica said.

They purchased the acreage in 2017 and moved into a modular home on the property while they planned for their eventual new build.

The concept of a machine shed house was still fairly new at that point so there weren't many examples for them to base ideas off of, but there was one simple prerequisite.

"I wanted it to look like a home and not like we were living in a barn," Jessica said. "I have to give a shout out to our contractor Andy Welp, and we went through 3D Builders for the architecture. They came up with the plan and worked with Andy to put it all together."

Materials were ordered and building began in late winter and early spring of 2020 and the Vancuras got things squared away early enough to avoid the backlog and supply issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As such they were able to move into their new home in September of the same year.

They went with an open concept in the main living space with the kitchen, dining room and living room flowing together seamlessly.

"Knowing we were going to be having kids and wanting to be able to watch them while cooking in the kitchen or doing something else, I wanted it to be very open," Jessica said.

Adding to the open feeling are the 18-foot ceilings anchored by a floor-to-ceiling fireplace and chimney, something that was on the top of Jessica's wish list for the home.

Furniture and decor has come along as their family has figured out how they use the space.

"I knew I wanted a tall fireplace and knew we were going to have 18-foot ceilings because that was what was needed for the shop," Jessica said. "Everything else kind of fell in place. I knew the open concept made the most sense for us. I love spending time in the kitchen and can still watch the kids play. We used what we had when we first moved in and just recently started buying the furniture we want and are starting to turn it into the design we want. On this main level I knew we wanted to be able to fit the most people and use functional pieces to do that."

But it's pieces that have been handed down that she holds most dear.

The crib and dresser in the nursery were her own when she was a baby. A set of China in the kitchen belonged to a grandmother and a crystal container came from another grandmother.

A writing desk in the living room has been handed down a couple generations from her grandmother to her mother and now to Jessica. Upstairs is a rocking chair from a great-great-grandmother.

And they all fit in perfectly with the rest of the home.

"Those are hands-down my favorite pieces in the house. It's a great mix of old with new and have so much meaning to me," Jessica said.

The main level also houses the master suite with an adjoining space initially designed for a potential office and converted to a nursery.

The Vancuras have a two-year-old daughter and are expecting their second child this summer.

"Having the nursery right there is great since it's just a sliding-glass door to the master bedroom," Jessica said. "It was supposed to be an office but we pivoted pretty quickly and it could potentially become a toy room in the future."

The master bedroom leads to another feature on the wish list.

"I knew I wanted a walkout to the porch and my dream was to have a wraparound porch and this is my version of that," Jessica said.

On the second level is an open loft with its own sitting and living area that looks over the main level and provides the family's favorite views of rolling fields through a pair of upper level windows.

Three bedrooms, one of which was converted to an office when the nursery went in downstairs, and a bathroom make up the remainder of the rooms upstairs.

The shop can be accessed from both levels of the home with a lofted storage area on the upper level.

Darick has access to his own bathroom and laundry, ideal after long days working the land or with the hogs.

"He loves the shop and he's a tinkerer, so he could spend all night in there," Jessica said. "He also loves using the smoker and pizza oven, grilling and cooking for people and loves having his own area with his own bathroom and shower."

The 18-foot ceilings throughout the home allowed for the ability to bring tractors, semitrucks and other large machinery into the shop whenever necessary and the home's location itself was strategically selected since the hub of the family farm operation is just a couple miles away while also being a relatively short commute for Jessica to her job in Spirit Lake.

The shop also isn't just a space for working on projects. It's versatility has been a major asset as well.

"We have a big family on both sides and I love to entertain so it's nice to have that space be flexible for all our needs," Jessica said. "If it's harvest time and we need to pull a semi in there we can and if it's February and it's time for a birthday party we can fit 50 people in there and turn on the heaters and we’re good to go. It's a great space for everything."

With such a large room attached to the home, Jessica said she's been pleasantly surprised by the consistency of the temperature throughout all spaces.

Whether the heat or air conditioning is on, the temperature stays locked in.

"I’m happy we went with the EPS brand, especially living on the farm where it's windy and could be drafty, our house stays consistently the same temps and I had expected it to be more comparable to the modular home we had before," Jessica said. "The quality of build is excellent."

All together, the build is an excellent and elegant combination of spaces for their "shouse."

Cloudy in the morning followed by isolated thunderstorms during the afternoon. Gusty winds and small hail are possible. High near 80F. Winds ESE at 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 30%..

A few clouds from time to time. Low 61F. Winds ESE at 5 to 10 mph.

Updated: June 7, 2023 @ 12:46 am