What Is a Dogtrot House? An Indoor/Outdoor Concept That’s Withstood the Test of Time

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Imagine living in a countrified home that invites the outdoors in. One where you can enjoy the cool flush breezes gliding through your home and sip your good morning coffee overlooking your back porch. That ’ s the life style of the dogtrot house .
The name dates back to some of the earliest residences in the nation and references the heating system of the day when it ’ s so hot, the dogs seek a fishy descry for an afternoon pile. chiefly found across the Deep South from Appalachia to the Carolinas to Texas, the dogtrot design maximized air circulation in the days before air out condition .
We turned to the experts to find out what, precisely, a dogtrot house is. We take a expression at its history, its characteristics, and how architects and builders have adapted the dash to today ’ s aesthetic to bring shape and function to modern families .

What is a dogtrot house?

The accurate origins of the dogtrot house are indecipherable. Some say the design originated in the appalachian Mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky, while others say it came from the coastal areas of the Carolinas. No count where they originated, it ’ second clear this stylus was born of necessity, and it ’ s found across the South.

The dogtrot home is besides known as a dog-run, possum-trot, and breezeway home. early structures traditionally comprise two log cabins built close together with a breezeway between the buildings and covered by the lapp roof. It ’ s a functional design meant to take advantage of intersect breezes and offer a fly-by-night spot away from the noon sun .
Like all common architecture, the South ’ s aroused climate made the dogtrot manner virtual since it encourages airflow and louche areas. Some of these homes exist as museums nowadays, like the Autrey House Museum in Dubach, Louisiana .
Built by Absalom Autrey in 1849, the log house is thought to be the oldest build in Lincoln Parish and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Like many of the early dogtrot homes, the Autrey House Museum has two individual log cabins known as “ pens. ” There ’ s a passageway between the two pens and one ceiling covering the stallion structure. Autrey lived there with his wife, Elizabeth Norris, and their 14 children .

Characteristics of a dogtrot house

The primary characteristic of the dogtrot house is the overt breezeway between two separate populate areas. Connected by one roof, the living/kitchen area is much on one side, with the bedrooms on the other. however, historically, it wasn ’ t unusual for the kitchen to be in a disjoined build away from the house. That offered a measurement of safety in case of a kitchen fire .
With windows on all sides, the dogtrot house can be light and aeriform. The windows let in plenty of sunlight, enhance cross cinch, and reduce cast growth .
While most dogtrot houses are one fib, sometimes there ’ sulfur a fond second-floor attic or bedroom accessible by step or ladder .
Chimneys on either side of the house provided heat and light on cold winter evenings. These days, they give symmetry to the ceiling and offer ambiance .
The design catches breezes and maximizes public discussion in ardent climates. many dogtrot homes have the long axis run east to west to reduce solar gain, possibly good known as reducing sun exposure .
typically one report, these homes likely had tin roof and dirt floors in the recently nineteenth hundred, but these days, developers are offering an update version .
“ The dogtrot homes we do are about constantly preservations of logarithm or stone structures that have been in Texas families for 150 years or more, ” says architect Steve Chambers of Stephen B. Chambers Architects, Inc. in Dallas, Texas .

“ The troublesomeness of an alfresco passageway between two parts of the house is a small troublesomeness for the honor of being able to live in an ancestor ’ second historic home — to feel their presence and understand how they managed in more primitive conditions. ”

According to Chambers, “ The early settlers learned that when two structures were positioned near each other, the bowel movement of air between them was intensified by the Venturi impression. These partitioned homes got their name from the fact that dogs took advantage of a cover porch and cool breezes to find consolation in the farseeing days of summer. ”
The Venturi effect is a physics term that describes a ventilation proficiency that encourages air flow through and around the buildings .
many of the early dogtrot homes have verandas that span the front and back of the house, giving extra access to breezes and shade. In the days before air condition, people used their veranda for rest, visit, and some meal homework, such as shelling peas.

In their earliest incarnation as log cabins, the dogtrot would have been on the ground. But over the years, as people were able to rebuild or upgrade their homes, they besides raised them off the footing to enhance air circulation and reduce the risk of flooding during coastal sphere storms .

Construction of dogtrot houses

in the first place dogtrot houses were two log cabins side-by-side and joined together under one roof. sometimes called “ pens, ” one was used as a know room and the other as a bedroom. There would besides be a fireplace at each end offered heating — and if the kitchen was under the lapp room — cooking options .
Some built the kitchen individually and connected them by a cover walk. A separate kitchen cut down on the heating system in the home and reduced the risk of kitchen fires that could endanger the rest of the home .
By the late nineteenth century, factory-produced lumber and nails provided accessible materials for frame and wood siding. The homes ’ location dictated the types of materials used as local build materials tend to be more suitable to the climate and most accessible .
For exercise, in the Southern lowlands, such as near the rice fields of Charleston, South Carolina, cypress was often used for exterior side and wood shingle roof. Cypress trees are native to swamplands, so they ’ ra mold/rot repellent. You ’ ll experience floors made of longleaf pine and bricks of local clay. knowledgeable builders can use the clay ’ s color to identify its origin. nowadays, the wood is treated for water and termite resistance .

Dogtrot houses in today’s world

The indoor/outdoor purpose is appealing for contemporary animation. “ There are some modern variations on the dogtrot subject, where sections of the home are divided by sliding methamphetamine doors or screen door porches. Whatever the option, people do enjoy the breezes that fill these open areas, ” Chambers says .
The modern dogtrot much expands on the historic shock design. Rather than two rooms ( or four smaller rooms ) with a breezeway in the in-between, architects opt for more ( and larger ) rooms, and the breezeway doesn ’ triiodothyronine have to be center. It can even be enclosed .
In this case from Stephen B. Chambers, Inc., two 1860 pens serve as sleeping areas with animation space in between. “ This is a new home which my firm designed that has dogtrot features, ” Chambers says. “ It works capital for the web site and what the client wanted in terms of a home with features evocative of Texas structures a hundred years ago or more. ”
This bumpkinly aesthetic is typical of the newer dogtrot-inspired homes and many modern versions have high ceilings and roomy rooms with big windows that offer a opinion. When entertaining, guests can easily move between rooms, and the candid breezeway can serve as an inhalation for an outdoor harbor area .
many of today ’ south homes have wide doors on either end of the breezeway that open to let the air in. such doors give the homeowner options. For exercise, they can choose to fold back the doors on either side of the breezeway in dainty weather and enjoy the natural cinch. Or, they can close it off and use the central heat and atmosphere conditioning as they wish .
Interior Designer Lauren Schroeder of Live Oak Design and Development based in Bluffton, South Carolina, says, “ Recent design trends are moving to a focus on the indoor/outdoor support concept. ” She says people are seeing the value of walking through the front door and seeing right into the roomy back porch or patio .
“ While entertaining, you can stand in your kitchen and enjoy your company or kin outside on the porch and never miss a outwit, ” she notes .
She says there are many bang-up new products on the grocery store to support this indoor/outdoor life style. “ From large pass-through windows to wall-to-wall glass doors where the panels fold back on each other and feel like they wholly disappear, and now the great room is part of the outdoor distance. It has become the way of life in a distribute of areas and is highly sought after. ”

She mentions another benefit of the indoor/outdoor concept, which is the spirit of capaciousness even in a smaller space. “ The indoor/outdoor concept allows one to build a smaller square footage home plate while giving the spirit of a larger straight footage home, and with rising construction costs, that is very desirable. ”
If there are any drawbacks to the dogtrot home style, it truly boils down to personal preference and the condition the home is in. If you ’ re considering buying an older dogtrot home, the lapp considerations apply to all older homes. Is the foundation stable ? What updates may be needed either structurally or aesthetically ? A reputable agent can help guide you through the march of choosing the right home for you .
Header Image Source ( re-sized ) : ( Billy Hathorn / Wikimedia Commons via Creative Commons Legal Code )

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