Shotgun houses have a colorful history and a promising future. Many homebuyers are opting for a smaller home due to the rise of minimalism. Not only the top-rated sightseeing places in South Africa are worth knowing but of course also the shotgun houses in South America, North Orleans. The shotgun house is an iconic building type associated with the American South, especially Shotguns in New Orleans. These homes, which were typically built in African American communities during the 19th and early 20th centuries, have been overlooked as a part of America’s architectural history, but they are now valued for their simplicity, efficient use of space, and style. A single-story frame house with a narrow gabled front porch and three to five rooms laid out in a straight line are known as a shotgun house. Because each room opens directly into the next, it was once said that you could stand at the front door and fire a shotgun straight through to the back door, hence the name. The unusual long length of a shotgun house can make for some interesting challenges in storing things like posts and pans and other home items.
A traditional shotgun house has a rectangular footprint and a narrow frontage, which can be as little as 12 feet wide. Many, but not all, have a deep, gabled front porch with plenty of shade for relaxing and socializing.
Interior rooms are usually stacked backward from the front door, one after the other, without using a hallway, due to the shotgun’s slim profile. The living room was traditionally the first room built, followed by one or two bedrooms. Last would be the kitchen, which would have a back exit to the backyard.
Most shotgun houses did not have bathrooms before indoor plumbing became common, but as time passed, kitchen plumbing and bathrooms were added to the back.
Shotgun houses were originally only one story tall, but as families grew and lifestyles changed, some homeowners added vertical space. Camelbacks are shotguns with a second story that covers only a portion of the house.
Over time, some shotgun houses also grew horizontally. A side gallery is an additional hallway on the side of the shotgun house that can be covered or enclosed. Two shotgun houses are sometimes aligned together like a duplex, with a shared front porch and middle wall. Double-barrel shotguns are the name for these homes.
The Floorplan of a Shotgun House
Shotgun houses get their name from their straightforward and predictable layout. A front porch leads to a living room, one or two bedrooms, and a kitchen, which are all lined up in a row. To get to the kitchen, you’ll have to pass through two bedrooms, which, as you can imagine, isn’t ideal for privacy. However, in a hot and humid climate before the days of air conditioning and electric fans, the layout encourages smooth airflow.
The Key Structural Elements of a Shotgun House
There are a few ways to identify a shotgun house on your historic home tour, aside from its layout. For starters, a shotgun house has a single floor with extended front porches that are ideal for entertaining. Because the house is perpendicular to the road, you can only see the front of it and not how far back it goes into the plot. Shotgun houses are attached to the houses next to them in most cases, but not all, and have only front and back windows. The majority of shotgun houses have gable roofs, which have two evenly sloping sides and peak at the top.
The Architectural Styles of a Shotgun House
Shotgun houses fell out of favor in the early twentieth century due to their cramped layout and monotonous appearance, giving way to popular ranch houses and small, stylish bungalows. The shotgun houses that remain, however, display a surprising diversity of architectural styles. Shotgun houses with the following features can be found in any historic district of their southern hometowns:
- Victorian or Eastlake gingerbread trim
- Simple, monochromatic facades
- Apron roofs
- Italianate facades
- Spanish or Greek revival elements
The Double Shotgun House
Double shotgun houses, which connected two long-living spaces with one porch, were also common in its home cities. In these instances, two doors share an outdoor hosting space on a single structure.
The Shotgun House
Galley shotgun kitchen with plenty of counter space and storage in the lower cabinets. It is also stated that a shotgun can be fired from the front door to the back door, thus the style’s name.
If you want a large cooking area but don’t need a lot of counter space, this design is ideal. Because these kitchens are often built into a house or apartment building’s wall, they are usually large enough for any size cook. The open design allows you to keep an eye on everything while cooking and makes cleanup a breeze. A refrigerator/freezer unit is usually installed against a wall outside of the cooking area, allowing more floor space for cooking.
If you like the idea of a shotgun kitchen but don’t want to build one yourself, there are many affordable custom-built options available from shotgun kitchen manufacturers. Cambria, Delta, Shaker, and Sub-Zero are some of the most popular brands.
The main benefit of a shotgun kitchen is that it can make use of space that would otherwise be wasted. Because there isn’t much counter space, this allows for more storage in the cabinets beneath and beneath the island or bar. A shotgun kitchen also offers more floor space, which is particularly beneficial if you have small children or pets.
The Changes to the Shotgun House
The style evolved, with new homeowners adding plumbing, HVAC systems, and even hallways. However, historically preserved homes usually maintained the ornate style of these colorful rows of houses.
Why Is It Called a Shotgun House?
Shotgun houses have one of the most intriguing names of all the architectural home styles. There are various theories about its origins. According to the National Park Service, it may derive from the Yoruba word togun, which means place of assembly. The idea that you can fire birdshot from the front door to the back door without hitting a wall is the other main theory about the name.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Shotgun House
Even though shotgun houses failed to impress early twentieth-century trends, many of these charming homes have survived the test of time in places like New Orleans’ Garden District. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider if you are considering purchasing one of these historic structures.
- Excellent airflow – Shotgun houses are designed to provide excellent ventilation. You’ll enjoy a cross breeze from the front to the back of the house even if you don’t have a sophisticated HVAC system.
- Compact size – With the rise of the tiny home, many homeowners are considering a small space with little maintenance.
- Flexible design – If you don’t have a designated living room, dining room, or bedroom, you can arrange the first two or three rooms however you want.
- History restrictions – When buying an old fixer-upper, keep in mind that upgrades and alterations may require the approval of a local historic board.
- Minimal privacy – Before choosing a shotgun house, make sure you’re ready to get close to your roommates. It’s nearly impossible to sneak in after a late night without waking your roommate in the first bedroom because of the layout.
- Lack of land – On their small lots, the original shotgun houses made good use of space. You’re less likely to have a driveway, front yard, or large backyard for entertaining.