Dog Trot House
Photo © Paúl Rivera

Modern Dog Trot Houses

Are you looking for a type of home that is easy to cool and which unites indoor and outdoor living spaces in a harmonious way? You  might appreciate a dog trot house (sometimes “dogtrot house” or “dog run house”).

This guide will explain what dog trot houses are and what benefits they offer. We will then take a look at a modern example to inspire you.

What is a Dog Trot House?

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Let’s start by explaining exactly what a dogtrot house is. This popular American house configuration dates back as early as the 19th century. You will find that classic examples are strongly concentrated in southeastern states like Kentucky, North and South Carolina, and Tennessee.

States like these can be hot and humid during the summer. Historical builders needed a way to construct houses that would stay relatively cool and comfortable without air conditioning.

What they came up with is the classic dog trot house layout: a raised home with a big porch and a breeze way running right through the middle. Most of the rooms were packed into one side of the house. But the kitchen was on its own across the breezeway. The breezeway directed air through the home and served as a buffer for the kitchen. That way, heat from cooking would not warm up the rest of the house.

Why is it called a dog trot house? The only explanation we have seen is that households’ pets liked to spend time in the breezeway. Perhaps they also liked to trot around a lot?

Benefits of Dog Trot Houses

Here are a few reasons to consider a dog trot house:

  • Classic southern charm. If you have spent any time in the southern states where this style came into being, you probably are used to seeing dog trot houses. This architectural style instantly exudes that familiar charm.
  • Stay connected to the outdoors. With a breezeway running through your home, you will spend lots of time enjoying fresh air and beautiful views, even if you are just passing from one side of the house to another.
  • Enjoy an open layout. If you like spacious floor plans with wide open living spaces, you will appreciate the way a breezeway in a dog trot house can enhance your layout. Consider a dog trot barndominium if you want a really airy and breathtaking design.
  • Choose any style for your home. Some dog trot houses have a rustic look that captures their 19th century roots. Others have a completely modern appearance. No matter your preferences, you will find that a dog trot house can help you capture your personal style.
  • Stay cool without AC. This may not seem as important as it did back in the days when dog trot houses were invented, but actually, it may soon be more important than ever. Global warming is exposing us to extreme heat domes, and power blackouts are common. Anything you can do to keep your home cool and liveable without relying on electricity may help. Plus, the less you have to run your AC, the cheaper your electric bills will be. Another nice benefit is that by running your AC less, you also are contributing less to global warming.

Dog Trot House Plans That Use Metal

Bay House by Roger Ferris + Partners

Architects:  Roger Ferris + Partners  Photography: Paúl Rivera

The stunning Bay House by Roger Ferris + Partners can be found along the shore of Long Island in Noyack, NY. Completed in 2012, it offers 6,400 square feet of luxurious modern living space. The design won the AIA Long Island Archi Award along with a number of other honors in 2013 and 2014.

Describing the layout, the firm writes, “Two offset parallel wings aligned with the shoreline are connected via circulation areas at each level. Dramatic living spaces are oriented to the water while support spaces face inland. A semi-detached study and pool cabana punctuate the east end of the northern wing and experience both views.”

The home is just steps away from the beach, and the strong horizontal lines used in its design emphasize the line of the horizon. Much of the home’s facades facing both toward and away from the beach are dominated by windows featuring high-performance glazing. From every room, occupants can enjoy picturesque views and an abundance of natural light. The louvered aluminum screens provide privacy when desired.

While the large breezeway offers a cool, comfortable outdoor space to enjoy without the need for AC, the home features HVAC and radiant flooring for comfort in all climate conditions.

Although aluminium is one of the main building materials in the home, you will notice that there is quite a bit of wood as well. All the wood that went into construction was grown sustainably. Moreover, the lawn is xeriscaped, adding to its eco-friendly benefits.

If you want to move into a beautiful modern home with a breezeway, it might be time to buy or build your own dog trot house. Browse listings or visit our recommended builders below.