Tuesday, December 2, 2008

9. Don't Block Your View!

This is the second posting of 10 things you should know before you build a house in the South.

Many of our renovation projects are on plan book houses that were built with no regard to the view. The project above did have glass doors on the view but the low ceiling and uninviting exterior space killed the view. We raised the roof by adding a gable and widened the stairs to open the view... WOW what a difference!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

10. All About Porches

Every Southern house needs at least one porch to sit and enjoy the view or visit with friends. The pictured house has a screened porch for dining and a high porch for enjoying the long view. The rules for porches include:

Never put a porch on the North elevation.

The best location for the porch is the south facade. This protects the interior from the hot summer sun and provides a cozy spot for winter days.

Screened porches are a must in many areas of the south, especially coastal areas where no-seeums are prevalent. Screened porches should have a minimum of two open sides to maximize the breeze. A ceiling fan is a welcomed addition to the screened porch. Consider the size of the local bugs when you choose your screen. You will also want to screen under the porch floor framing to keep the bugs out.

Porches should be at least ten feet deep.

Porches that are 30" or less from the adjacent grade, deck, or terrace do not need a railing. This is ideal because the view remains open.

An exterior fireplace on your porch will allow you to enjoy your porch year round.

10 Things you should know before you build a house in the South

This is the first post of the series 10 + things you should know before you build a house in the South. I am a native southerner, my maternal family is from Mississippi and Alabama, and my paternal side is from Alabama. I was reared in Tennessee, received my Bachelor of Architecture at Auburn in Alabama, and have lived and practiced architecture in South Carolina for twenty years.

I will dedicate a post to each topic .....so stay tuned!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dogtrot 2

This is another modern dog trot. The center hall of this dog trot is enclosed with folding walls, so the house can be opened to capture the breezes when
the weather is nice. There are folding walls between the center hall and the "two pens" so the center can be opened independently of the rest of
the house. The rear is one large screened porch.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dog Trot

The dog trot is a traditional southern venacular form also known as "two pens and a passage". One room was typically used for sleeping and the other for cooking. The open center passage was the main sitting room that was cooled naturally by the Bernoulli effect. The center passage was often used as the dog kennel and thus the name dog trot.

Dog trots are found in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas. The dog trot above is from the Historic American Building Survey located in the Library of Congress, it is Thornhill Plantation , Greene County, Alabama The drawing is by Kent McWilliams, 1935 and the photo is by Alex Bush, 1935

Recently we have been experimenting with the dog trot form for contemporary houses. Our mild winters are ideal for outdoor living. The Crobsy residence is a true dog trot with the master bedroom in one "pen" and the great room and kitchen in the other "pen". The center passage serves as a large sitting room. The house is currently under construciton and whenever we are at the job site at lunch time, every working is sitting in the center passage enjoying the breeze.