Story-and-a-Half and Split Entry Photos


Classic Story and a Half Designs


Classic Story-and-a-Half, sometimes known as Cape Cod designs, have a second story but differ from two-story homes in that the roofline extends to the level of the first floor. The second story is created by increasing the roof pitch to provide adequate headroom and usually adding gable or shed dormers. These designs were originally associated with New England architecture, but by the 1940s were being built throughout the US. There were cost savings relative to a full two-story design as the second story is converted from what would otherwise be attic space. But the design popular in its own right. Photo 1 illustrates a classic story and a half design. There are both Cape Cod and Federal touches here. The clapboard gable is clearly New England, and the double chimneys on either end are more commonly employed as a motif on Georgian and Federal Colonial designs. Brick with quoins on corners is used here primarily as a decorative accent. No dormers are visible from the street, although there may be a shed dormer on the rear roof. Note how the roof line extends to the top of the first floor on both the front and the rear.



Photo 2 shows a variation on the same basic idea. Dominating the front façade here is a strongly Greek-inspired front entry cover or porch, trimmed with dentil molding along with square columns that are more nearly colonial than Greek in design. This mixture of Greek and colonial design touches is common in this type of architecture. The chimney here, to the rear of the house, makes less of an architectural statement than the two chimneys in Photo 1. The deep red brick used here is more nearly Colonial than Cape Cod.




“Tidewater” Variations


Photos 3 and 4 illustrate two variations on basic Cape Cod architecture. Both homes clearly reveal their Cape Cod origins, but vary the detail. These houses sometimes are referred to as being of the Virginia “Tidewater” design after the region of the US where they first appeared. They are like Cape Cod homes but substantially larger. They are white or cream clapboard sided, not brick. The steep roofs have several gable or “doghouse” dormers facing the front. Shed dormers likely increase upstairs living space at the rear of the house.  Cedar shakes (as in photo 4) or shingles that mimic cedar shakes are add interest to what otherwise would be lots of plain roof showing at the street. The cedar shakes are classic design touches in coastal architecture. Note the side-entry garages tucked under both houses, another classic Tidewater design feature in which the automobile is supposed to be as innocuous as possible. The clapboards siding features heavy vertical batten boards at each corner and to trim brick on the foundation. Brick on the foundation angles up to meet the clapboards—all classic tidewater/colonial design details executed with care.



A roofline related to the Cape Cod designs is the so-called French Mansard, a popular style in France that was imported into the US a couple hundred years ago. This is illustrated in Photo 5.  French Mansard designs share the key feature that the roof material extends to the top of the first floor. However the complex roofline slopes at two angles, a barely sloped hip at the top, then extending downward at a very steep, nearly vertical angle. The example in this photo has a third pitch, flaring out at the base below the top-story windows.  Windows, nearly dormers, jut out in this steeper portion of the roofline. Note the curved tops of the second story windows, a commonly used element of French Mansard design. The French Mansard design reached the zenith of its popularity in the 1970s, about when Shadeland East was being built, and proved not to have the durability of Cape Cod and Colonial designs. Several exist in Lexington that were built in the same time period, but the one illustrated here is the only one in Shadeland East.





The home illustrated in Photo 6 is a related design, sometimes referred to as a Dutch Colonial, after its origins. Technically this roof is called a gambrel. It’s the same shape as a classic “red barn” with a second story hay mow. In this example, the gambrel gable faced the street. Like the French Mansard, the roof has two slopes, a gentle slope at the peak followed by a steeper slope again extending to the top of the first floor, like other story-and a half styles, the roofline and roof material extends to the top of the first floor. Like the French Mansard, the second story windows jut out of the steeply sloped section of the roof. The idea works for the same reason the architecture of red bars made sense. There is more space in the upstairs than a classic Cap Cod, but at least theoretically lower construction costs than a full two story as the second story is created out of what would otherwise be attic space. Like the French Mansard, Dutch Colonials, by the 1980s the design was losing favor with builders and buyers.


New England Saltbox


Photo 7 illustrates what at first appears to be a normal two-story home with clapboard siding and many colonial touches. If you look toward the rear side of the house, it is clear that this is no ordinary colonial with the roofline extending to the top of the first floor along the rear of the house. This is the classic New England Saltbox.




Photo 8 shows one of only two houses in Shadeland East on a tri-level plan, where the main living area is at a level intermediate to the informal living area and the bedrooms above. It features Cedar shakes instead of clapboards as decorative trim on some of the side walls.


Every time I look at this tri-level house in Shadeland East I cannot help but think of the architect-dad on the Brady Bunch. The Brady Bunch grew up in a very contemporary Split Level not unlike this one. This house could have been designed by him. There are Spanish influences on what basically is a spare contemporary multilevel design with casement windows.

Classic Split Entry or Split Foyer


Photo 9 illustrates one of only two classic 70s Lexington split entry or split foyer homes (sometimes also called a raised ranch)  in the subdivision. Entry is at a level intermediate to the main living area a half flight of stairs above. The lower level a half flight of stairs below undoubtedly includes a den and recreation area perhaps with one or more additional bedrooms. Since the lot here is essentially flat, there can be large windows on both the front and back of the lower level. In examples with less square footage, the garage is often tucked underneath as part of the lower level.