Easy, Breezy, Beautiful: A House That Keeps Its Cool

by hookedonhouses on April 20, 2012

When I saw this house featured in Southern Living magazine, it looked like the perfect place to spend a summer vacation. I feel more relaxed just looking at it! Homeowners Patricia and Geordie Cole chose a traditional “Dogtrot” floor plan for their new home, which was designed to keep things cool on hot South Carolina afternoons.

Love the big front porch. Instead of a typical front door, a series of folding glass ones across the entry fold open to let the breezes flow through:

I like the idea of opening up the house like this, but wouldn’t it get a little buggy without screens or anything? UPDATE: There is a retractable screen that pulls down from the top of the door, so no worries on that front. (Thanks, Jane!)

Jim Kemp explained the concept of a dogtrot house in his book American Vernacular: Regional Influence in Architecture:

“One of the more ingenious methods of cooling in the days before air conditioning, the Dogtrot house originated in the southern Appalachian Mountain region. It is distinguished by an open breezeway that extends through the center of the house, off of which open the rooms. With this design, cooling breezes flow through the open core and into the rooms where windows on the exterior walls create cross-ventilation.”

Patricia ordered custom blackboard panels for the refrigerator. The range is from La Cornue.

As much as I like the kitchen, the long screened porch across the back of the house is where I’d be spending most of my time during the summer:

Like it? Visit Southern Living to read the article by Mary Katherine Quinlan and see the rest of the photos by Helen Norman. You can see the floorplan on the Frederick + Frederick Architects website. (Thanks to Kim for telling me about it!)

Julia-simple teal signature

P.S. Another House I Wouldn’t Mind Spending the Summer In…

Broad Beach House with Blue Shutters Giannetti

A Beach House with Blue Shutters

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Dean April 20, 2012 at 8:56 am

Beautiful, but you’re right–where are the flies, mosquitoes and other assorted insect life bound to be flying through all those openings?! :-)

Jane Frederick April 23, 2012 at 8:38 am

Thanks, for showing te Cole’s house. The front folding doors have a retractable screen that pulls down from the top..so we don’t have to worry about the bugs!

hookedonhouses April 23, 2012 at 8:42 am

Thanks, Jane! Just updated my post.

anna see April 20, 2012 at 9:00 am

gorgeous! but muggy and buggy?

Sheryl April 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

Interesting idea but I would deffinately NEED to keep the bugs out. Give me snakes any day over bugs.

Sarah @ housecrazy April 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

eek! no way – give me bugs over snakes! I think I would die of mortification if a snake crawled into my house!

Pat Trent April 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

Love the look of it, but I could never leave doors or windows open without screens!

Megan April 20, 2012 at 8:17 pm

Exactly! Maybe I’m too much of a Northerner (where we really don’t have homes in this style), but I really don’t get how people can have such open spaces in their homes without screens.

Joan April 20, 2012 at 9:49 am

Luv it but I’m a bit confused with the screened porch on the back while the rest of the house is wide open.

Aria April 20, 2012 at 10:04 am

I was wondering the very same thing!

missy April 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

I was thinking that maybe the back faces a body of water where there are more bugs? Therefore the screen on the back would be needed?

Mrs. Pear Tree April 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

Gorgeous – AND environmentally friendly with natural air conditioning. Love it! Thanks Julia ;-)

Jane April 20, 2012 at 10:16 am

It’s lovely! I really like the choices in the kitchen but definitely would not handle the bugs – I have enough in my house even with supposed screens! (In fact, my allergies really like me to keep the doors and windows closed and the AC on in August/Sept).

Jillian@TheHumbleGourmet April 20, 2012 at 10:38 am

Great! When can I visit?

Joan April 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

The ceiling fans will keep out insects and even no see ums if turned on a fast speed. That’s why we use them on porches in the South. No see ms enter through screens unless there is a strong blow of air from ceiling fan pushing air down and out. Screened in porches require daily washing in pollen season- ceiling. screens. and floors with lots and lots of water and the pollen season lasts for weeks. I do not like ceiling fans as they cause me to have an earache. Also I do not like seeing a porch covered in pollen even if I do not want to use it- it just looks unsightly. However I have found the perfect house for me on this site with the perfect porch- the one under the title a house like The Father of the bride in North Carolina but I cannot find the plans!

chris April 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm

thanks ms. joan. always wondered about that.

Luciane at Homebunch.com April 20, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hello Julia,

How are you doing today? I hope you having a beautiful and sunny day. :-)

This house is incredible and I would love to spend every single day there, not only summers! Did you see that kitchen? The screened porch makes my heart sing! I want something like that!

Wishing you a very blessed weekend, Julia!


Luciane at HomeBunch.com

Cassandra April 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

And why have the garage so close to the house so that when you sit in the dining room with the pollen, bugs, mosquitos and snakes you are also looking right at the garage? That is the part I was wondering about………….

chris April 20, 2012 at 6:04 pm

that may be a southern thing. husband’s relatives built new home in the south. i thought it was horrid. so did all easterners. they loved it.

missy April 21, 2012 at 9:16 am

Where else would you put a garage if not near the house? Most of us southerners have either red clay mud or sand as a foundation, so unless our lot is on a hill, we don’t have basements. I would take my horrid southern cottage in a region with four lovely seasons anyday over those northern winters.

Lorraine April 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

But you have to admit – that’s an above average garage.

Cindy April 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

Love the vibe! But, yeah, I’d have to do something to keep the critters out. :-)

Shannon Fox April 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

Definitely not a cookie cutter home. It’s got so much style and character. Love the open feeling. It’s amazing what truly good design can accomplish!

Laura April 20, 2012 at 11:52 am

I’ve noticed in the warmer weather climates that you don’t see screens. I love that indoor/outdoor feeling, at least on vacation.

Thanks for sharing,

Karen April 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Beautiful home. I love the screened in porch. Love the warm touches of wood with the white in the kitchen. I have no idea what it would be like to live here though, but I imagine it buggy and humid given the comments of others here. I don’t mind ceiling fans as I like air movement instead of still air. I use them in the months when it hasn’t become so hot that I need to run the swamp cooler.

Aryn April 20, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Absolutely love it. Makes me want to go home and pull out all my Dorothea Benton Frank books!

Sue April 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Agree about the bugs and the garage placement! The garage messes up the view inside and outside! The plan on the architect’s website shows a bocce court — I wonder if they couldn’t have put the garage there. I’d be interested in seeing the rest of the property, since it backs up to a river — I’m sure it’s very beautiful!

LOVE the porch!! Really like that they added skylights. They other thing that I really like is the way they blended natural and painted woodwork, inside and out. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing decision.

Jill Kipnis April 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Julia, thanks for sharing. That back porch is beautiful. I’d be there all summer too!

–Jill Kipnis, Community Builder, Realtor.com

Jodi from New Jersey April 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Wow, that is gorgeous! I love the kitchen cabinet color –looks like a Martha color .

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints April 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm

What’s not to love? That indoor outdoor give would be incredible. The curb appeal is perfection.

Kim April 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

You’re Welcome! I love this house and I think they did a wonderful job designing it. Although, I do I have to agree about the bugs. I can’t stand mosquitoes or flies and having them in my house would drive me nuts. Maybe there’s a swamp or water near by. Bugs like to hangout there.

The screened porch is nice, but I would prefer sunroom windows instead.

laney April 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm

…it is beautiful…but oh my…they don’t leave those doors or windows open during pine pollen season…and i don’t think any ceiling fans…no matter how fast…can deal with our southern breed of mosquitos and gnats…but the porches are wonderful…and the house is lovely…

Sherry April 20, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Although you are definitely right about the bugs, the first thing I thought was, how safely can you lock up a house with front doors like that. Judging from the house itself, I would imagine these people have plenty money for an alarm system – I guess it was just the NY girl in me thinking about getting robbed. Ha!

Lorraine April 21, 2012 at 9:03 am

That’s the first thing that came to my mind too – even before the I thought about the bug invasion. P.S. I’m originally from NYC. LOL

Rick April 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm

I love the look of the house. I just have this cold mid-west winter mentality that makes me think it would be cold in the winter. Looks like a Southern house.

The idea of the wall of doors in front open would be better if they had the front porch discreetly screened behind the porch posts. Small frame, wide screen panels, almost invisable. Bugs out, no problem. I don’t want to think of where bugs can get into all day. Think of all the people you could have over and enjoy those porches, even if it is raining on that metal roof :) .
I think the garage near the house makes a small court yard and is a pretty building on it’s own. It also is not a hike every time you bring home groceries.

Natasha April 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I’ve never been to the Carolinas so I don’t know what their bug situation is. I’ve lived in California and Frankfurt, Germany and in both places it is normal to leave windows and doors open without screens. In California the only bugs we saw inside were red ants, and they didn’t come in through the windows. In Germany we get fruit flies and bees the minute something sweet is left out. Other than that, no issues. I would love a house like this. :)

Kelly at Talk of the House April 20, 2012 at 5:32 pm

The bugs are exactly what I wondered about when I posted their entryway the other day at my blog, and Natasha, yes they do have lots of bugs in SC – especially in the Low Country area. I live in Georgia, and there aren’t enough ceiling fans to keep out all the insects around here! I didn’t even think about the security like Sherry mentioned above. But all practicality aside, it IS a gorgeous home. Love that kitchen.

Steph B April 20, 2012 at 7:03 pm

I love the windows from the kitchen into the center hall!

jana April 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm

What’s the point of having porches if you are just going to have a wide open house?! It’s like everyday being a weekend, then weekends aren’t special or exciting. I love my house and I love my porches and I like to keep them separate!

Margot April 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Let me tell you about the bugs in the Low Country…they’re awful. In great big letters. They have these great big mutant roaches called “Palmetto Bugs”. I don’t care what you call them. They are great big mutant roaches. I spent three years teaching in the Low Country and I am from the mountains in TN. The first time I saw a Palmetto Bug I nearly had a heart attack. When I saw this house, those mutant bugs were the first thing that popped in my head. Gave me chills. I had my house sprayed inside and out every month to keep those goobers out. Yeesh. Don’t even get me started the mosquitos. I think I saw a small child carried off by a mosquito. Fans are helpful but are not the ultimate insect fighter. Furthermore, I don’t care if the walls of that house fold down, it is hotter than forty blue hells in Carolina ten months out of the year. Summer is miserable. I’ll take a pass, thank you very much. The good folks who built this house must live in a very, very cold place and need the heat to thaw out…

Margot April 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Sorry. Make that “Don’t even get me started ON the mosquitos.” Operator error.

hookedonhouses April 20, 2012 at 9:39 pm


Lorraine April 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

I don’t normally laugh at other people’s troubles but your comment is hilarious!

Lorraine April 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

P.S. I too find those palmetto bugs to be horrifying.

Jane April 21, 2012 at 11:06 am

OMG, this comment is not only true but hilarious. I’m not scared of Palmetto bugs but I don’t want them in my house.

2inz4me April 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Here are my thoughts:
-Gorgeous house! I also felt relaxed just looking at it…

-I would just have to guess they open it in the spring or fall, rather than the buggy summer….they MUST have a.c. In the summer, right? So maybe bugs isn’t as big of a problem in spring and fall???

-Do they have pets? Haha….if so, they must have electric fences on the property….my dogs would have a field day running through the house and yard….maybe that’s where the nickname came from?

- What is a “no-see”? Pardon my west coast ignorance…

Thanks for the lovely post!

Dawn April 21, 2012 at 12:56 am

Hi Tracie,
No see-ums are tiny tiny tiny biting flies…

2inz4me April 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Duh…now I see the dog in the first picture. :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com April 21, 2012 at 7:57 am

Fantastic. I would love this in the Fall and Spring.

Linda@limeinthe coconut April 21, 2012 at 8:42 am

Love that place…..and being in a home that is often “oppened up” you would be surprised how un-buggy it actually is!

Lorraine April 21, 2012 at 9:10 am

I love the idea of having a blackboard panel refrigerator door.

Frances Schultz April 21, 2012 at 10:23 am

I think it’s beautiful, but there are some very good points raised. Has anyone read the article? Surely these questions are addressed…

Jane April 21, 2012 at 10:58 am

Love the porch. How about a feature on front and back porches? Just in time for summer! I’m having a porch decorating crisis, need inspiration.

2inz4me April 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Great idea”

Carolyn April 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

I clipped this article from Southern Living because I love this house. Beautifully designed reflecting vernacular styles. I’m a Carolina girl, and, yes, the low country is definitely hot, humid, and buggy. Remember, the dogtrot hallway can be completely closed off and air conditioned. If opened, the article says, “a screen covers the expanse of one end of the room, and the other end opens to a screened porch, keeping out mosquitoes.” But in the low country there are many warm days not in the depths of summer (or some summer mornings), when it would be divine to open those doors and feel the breezes. But in the hot summers, you’ll find me in the Carolina mountains!

Carolyn April 21, 2012 at 11:50 am

P.S. About the garage – the confines of the lot may well have dictated its placement – or perhaps some wonderful old trees. From the picture of the back of the house, it looks like there is a house on that side closer than would allow for a garage. Besides, the primary view is toward the back where the river is, which you can also see from the dining area – it’s one open space. The footprint of the house makes more sense with the garage in front creating a courtyard (plus it keeps it from looking like a sprawling McMansion). The angle of that photo of the formal dining area in the hall is toward the garage. If it were centered facing straight out the front doors or angled the other way, you’d see trees.

hookedonhouses April 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm

I didn’t see that about the screens–thanks for clearing that up, Carolyn!

Jared April 21, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I absolutely love that kitchen! The whole house is just gorgeous too.

Elizabeth April 22, 2012 at 2:58 am

I love this house, especially the kitchen.

We had front doors like that in my childhood home in Indiana. My mom HATED them and always warned me and my brother not to leave them wide open as we lived in a rural, wooded area along the Ohio River. One summer day we opened them up all the way so we could run in and out of the house easily. Poor mom went into the bathroom and got the scare of her life! In the trash can was what was easily the biggest snake I have ever seen. We learned our lesson.

hookedonhouses April 22, 2012 at 8:03 am

That story makes me want to keep my doors firmly shut. Ha.

Laura April 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Love this house! But I would just put a nice screen door on the front with a regular door. You’d still get good cross ventilation. I hate air conditioning and go most of the summer without it, but South Carolina is a couple of states down from me and hot, hot, hot!!

Tom @ Stancliffe Stone April 24, 2012 at 9:23 am

Nice design, really modern looking. I like the white walls against the large brown windows. Works well.

Lissy April 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Gorgeous house!! Being a northern girl transplanted to South Carolina, I can see the attraction but if I lived in that house, it would be open Spring and Fall… definitely NOT SUMMER :)

Anyone interested in the floorplans, here’s the link: http://www.hothumidsolutions.com/

Marlene June 10, 2012 at 7:05 pm


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