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What is a Shotgun Style House? History, Types, Examples

What is a Shotgun Style House? History, Types, Examples  

The southern part of America is defined by its continuous row of narrow and charming houses. These narrow lots nestle a unique shotgun-style house that not only paints a colorful picture on the streets but also proves to be extremely functional with its efficiency.

The sleek charm of a shotgun-style house design makes it easily recognizable. Have you ever wondered about the history and design of a shotgun-style house? Look no further, because we’re going to answer each and every question you might have about these.

Shotgun Style House: A Brief History


The name shotgun style house arises many curious questions on how did the title come up for an architectural design. The history and logic behind this name are that these houses were left open to fire through the front door.

One could fire and the bullet could make an exit through to back door and not harm anything within the house.

The style took birth in Haiti where West Africans slaved and the architecture of the homeland was defined by these shotgun-style homes. Later on, the concept was brought to New Orleans as a unique building style for the locality. 

Although their designs had simplicity and practicality embedded within them, these weren’t recognized till the 19th century. However, later on, these homes gained popularity and defined a colorful streetscape in New Orleans.

What Makes a House Shotgun Style?


A shotgun-style house is a single-story home with a narrow look and linear layout plan. The home generally comprises about three to four rooms. One of the special features of shotgun-style homes is that these don’t have a hallway in their design. The spaces are organized within a sequence of different spaces. 

The style of a shotgun style house dates back to the early 19th century and is especially found in the Southern zones owing to its planning that allows airflow within the house.

A Tour into the Shotgun Style House


Each shotgun-style house has a distinct layout and styling but one thing common in these homes is their narrow planning. You can identify shotgun-style homes from afar as these are generally 12 feet wide and each shotgun-style house has about three to four rooms.

From the start of the room till its end, there is a strategic arrangement of rooms without any buffer or hallway. It starts from the main entry door in the front of the house and the linear grid extends to the back. This is one of the key features which aids in air circulation within the home.

As you step into a shotgun-style house, you’ll enter its living room. The living room further takes you to the first and second bedrooms. Behind these bedrooms nestle a kitchen at the back.

While the homes designed in the 1800s didn’t have bathrooms in the layout, the current designs have added them for enhanced functionality. 

The facade of these shotgun-style homes has a gabled roof on the top and a tiny porch in its front as well. These homes were mainly built by keeping the principles of affordability and efficiency in mind.

The main goal was to fit as many homes within smaller pieces of land. As you walk inside a shotgun-style house, you need to walk through each and every room in order to reach the end of the house.

The lining up of these spaces enables a flow of fresh air which makes it an apt design for hot climates. Spacious porches in front of the shotgun-style homes allow socialization and compose a friendly neighborhood. 

The inventive planning of the shotgun-style homes allows several functional zones of the house to fit in within a much-minimized area. The exterior look of a shotgun-style house is generally composed of sides covered with wood and the use of bricks or stone on the facade.

The houses present in New Orleans are generally raised from the ground. The design follows a simple styling with a pitched roof.

Summing Up the Traits of Shotgun-Style Homes


Shotgun Style House
Exterior Features Interior Features 
A Narrow appeal 3-4 rooms deep
Close to street Absence of hallways
Bright and colorful Zero side windows
A front porch The kitchen at the back
Gabled roof Additional space for a bathroom at the rear end of the house
Living room in the front

The Different Types of Shotgun Style House Design

The different types of shotgun-style homes are:

Humpback Shotgun House


These types of shotgun-style homes are also known as camelback houses as these have a second floor nestled at the rear end of the house. This hump usually accommodates about one to four rooms. This shotgun-style house design enables additional spaces.

Double Barrel Shotgun House

Source: double-barrel shotgun-style house is a duplex. These have two houses with a common central wall. Although the design seems to be split in two, it’s perceived as one single unit. These layouts were majorly adopted by the landowners where one portion was for their personal use and the other half was given to the renters.

5 Excellent Examples of Shotgun-Style Homes

Let’s look into a few examples of shotgun-style homes for a better understanding of their design and layout

Tiny Cottage, New Orleans


The tiny cottage is designed with the common characteristics of shotgun-style homes. The design is extremely cozy and it has a classic look to it. The home features a Beautiful bedroom, dining space, and kitchen.

Double Door Shotgun Style House, New Orleans


This shotgun-style house dates back to 1887 and is built with a Victorian charm in its design features. The home accommodates a bay window and a double door which imparts a grand appeal to it and makes it feel more welcoming.

Blue and Yellow Modern Shotgun Style House, New Orleans


The mood board of this shotgun-style house makes it look quite peppy and retro. The house is a recent construction with modern amenities added in each of the spaces. The living room inside the house opens up to a kitchen with sleek appliances. 

Blue Fixer-Upper, Waco


The Blue fixer-upper is a historic shotgun-style house that recently went through a modern renovation. While the home looks compact from its exteriors, the interiors are spacious with an open plan.

A loft on the upper floor looks down to the lower level rooms and makes it one of the most comforting nooks of the house.

Eclectic Shotgun Style House, New Orleans


This eclectic home is based on a fun theme with vivid hues splashed from the inside out. There’s a play of patterns and textures happening in the room and natural light makes the design even more enticing. 

Also Read: Bat Trang House By VTN Architects in Pottery Village, Vietnam!











Small Homes Big on Function


Shotgun-style house is one of the most inventive architectural languages that allow a lot to happen within a tiny piece of land. Each house has a different layout and is comprised of the most functional spaces and zoning.

These are one of the most impressive styles and catering to several comforting conditions has kept them in residence trends even today.

For more information about the latest architectural development, keep coming to Architecturesstyle. Also, do follow us on our Instagram page, Architecturesstyleideas, to get daily updates.


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