Dog trot (or dog-run) houses were quite common in Texas and the South between 1800-1900. According to the Texas State Historical Society, when the Germans begin settling the Hill Country during this time period, they adopted typically southern Anglo-American plans, such as the dog-run house. These houses were elongated boxes consisting of two sides connected by an open breezeway. The central breezeway would channel air between the two sides of the house and provide a cooling effect.
Our generation is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to combine the best of vernacular architectural design of the past with the technologic advancements of today such as spray-foam insulation, multi-split HVAC systems with SEER ratings of 25, and thermally-broken aluminum casement windows.
Is it possible to not run an air-conditioning system 24/7 in August in Texas? If there is a breeze to be caught, we think it will be. See the family space of our house (its central breezeway) after the installation of the spray foam insulation pictured below. All the interior walls have R-11 batts for sound-proofing purposes.
Below, looking north in the east bedroom.
The other thing the early Hill Country settlers did was use things in their immediate environment to build their houses, such and wood and limestone. The intent of the stone coursings on our house is to mimic the sedimentary layers of the limestone road cuts seen along the highways and byways of the Texas Hill Country.
The limestone blend we are using is aptly named “Texas Mix”.
From the above vantage point, it’s hard to tell where the house ends and the hill begins. Stone installation will continue throughout next week, and installation of the interior plywood walls is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.