written by:
photos by:
May 4, 2009
Originally published in Small Is the New Big

Hybridization is hit or miss (i.e., the jackalope). But this Houston home combines two housing types to create a conscientious alternative.

Modern tiny house facade.
Brett Zamore calls the house he designed for David Kaplan the Shot-Trot because it fuses two regional housing types, the shotgun and the dogtrot.
Photo by 
1 / 6
Unlike the original shotguns, which featured cramped, interconnected rooms, Zamore opened up the space as much as possible. Large barn doors slide open on either side to increase ventilation.
Unlike the original shotguns, which featured cramped, interconnected rooms, Zamore opened up the space as much as possible. Large barn doors slide open on either side to increase ventilation.
Photo by 
2 / 6
Kaplan and his dog Bella were able to splurge on a sofa from Ligne Roset after the house priced out at less that $100 per square foot.
Kaplan and his dog Bella were able to splurge on a sofa from Ligne Roset after the house priced out at less that $100 per square foot.
Photo by 
3 / 6
The Shot-Trot's two bathrooms are housed in eight-by-eight cubes that cantilever off the main space while maintaining the preordained grid.
The Shot-Trot's two bathrooms are housed in eight-by-eight cubes that cantilever off the main space while maintaining the preordained grid.
Photo by 
4 / 6
One of the home's most luxurious elements, old-growth pine and red oak flooring, was salvaged from local tear-downs.
One of the home's most luxurious elements, old-growth pine and red oak flooring, was salvaged from local tear-downs.
Photo by 
5 / 6
Kaplan was the intended client from day one, but, as Zamore says, "He liked the idea of designing something that anyone could live in." Zamore is considering developing the Shot-Trot into a prefab kit.
Kaplan was the intended client from day one, but, as Zamore says, "He liked the idea of designing something that anyone could live in." Zamore is considering developing the Shot-Trot into a prefab kit.
Photo by 
6 / 6
Modern tiny house facade.
Brett Zamore calls the house he designed for David Kaplan the Shot-Trot because it fuses two regional housing types, the shotgun and the dogtrot.
Project 
Shot-Trot
Architect 

Even before the words begin to form sentences, when you talk to Brett Zamore about Houston and architecture you understand it’s going to be an intense conversation. He speaks with the kind of fervor normally reserved for topics like politics, the reason for which soon becomes clear: According to Zamore, Houston’s politics are dom-inated by huge developers operating in a new kind of sprawling, zoning-restriction-free Wild West. As the conversation continues, you cast Zamore in the role of Wyatt Earp—he’s quietly taking a stand.

“You’ll be in a neighborhood and it can change in a blink of an eye,” Zamore says somewhat excitedly. “Over the past ten years the city has been devoured.” A decade ago, Zamore was a graduate student at Rice University, where instead of playing mind games with paper architecture, he renovated a shotgun house in Houston’s Fifth Ward district, giving the house and the neighborhood a much-needed face-lift.

At the time, David Kaplan, now a business reporter for the Houston Chronicle, befriended Zamore while writing about the project for a Rice publication. A few years later, Kaplan was ready to find a place of his own. Instead of settling for one of the thousands of developer homes that have altered the Houston landscape like a non­indigenous parasite, Kaplan, still fond of the shotgun, rang up Zamore. The pair looked at possible fixer-uppers in Eastwood, an old residential and industrial neighborhood close to downtown that had yet to be clear-cut by developers. Zamore soon had a different idea: to build something from the ground up.

For the young designer, this didn’t mean dreaming in computer-molded blobs and subjecting the neighbors to a vision of Houston 2040; rather, Zamore conjured the area’s architectural past. Unlike the Wal-Mart mentality of developers (who’ll sell the same thing from Minnesota to Mississippi, regardless of practicality), Zamore based his design on a fusion of the hot and humid South’s most successful housing types: the shotgun and the dogtrot. 

Sitting on two long and narrow lots, the Shot-Trot, as it is now known, borrows its 16-by-80-foot footprint from  the shotgun. At the building’s center two large barn doors slide open on rails, creating a central breezeway—like a dogtrot. This was a pertinent exercise in historical reenactment. “Old homes were designed to have air flow through them and cool themselves off as best as possible,” Zamore states. “It’s like a self-mechanized air-conditioning unit.”

Like its neighbors, the Shot-Trot sits 30 inches off the ground on a framework of beams and drilled piers, which, according to Zamore, is both “critical for the success of air movement in the house” and better protects the home from floods and their aftereffect, mold (both of which plagued the city after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001). The Hardiplank exterior clad-ding was accordingly chosen for its resistance to humidity and termites. As a further measure, the walls of the house are designed to allow airflow from the base to the eaves by maintaining a gap between insulation materials.

By envisioning the Shot-Trot as a kit of parts, Zamore was able to scale back on construction costs and minimize waste of time and materials. He based the house on an eight-foot grid that accommodates standard-sized wood members, such as the four-by-eight sheets of plywood used in the decking throughout. Installation for these and much of the framing required little more than a nail gun, eliminating cumbersome onsite cutting. Materials were further consolidated, and precious time saved, by using prefabricated elements from local sources. Wooden trusses for the roof were constructed offsite by All Pan Inc., and installed in less than a day. The Galvalume roof, chosen over asphalt tiles for its longevity and ability to deflect heat, was ordered to size, and set in place shortly thereafter. One of the home’s most luxurious elements, old-growth pine and red oak flooring, was salvaged from local tear-downs. (While demolished homes are common in Houston, according to Zamore, salvaging, unfortunately, is not.) In the end, the Shot-Trot modestly priced out to slightly less than $100 per square foot.

While Zamore is further developing the kit of parts into a full-fledged prefabricated Shot-Trot, Kaplan and his dog Bella are happily moved in, and are enjoying a home that befits the neighborhood and has the lowest utility bills on the block, if not the city.

 

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

Modern living room with furniture designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
These oases by the sea, many done up in white, make stunning escapes.
February 08, 2016
A Philippe Starck standing lamp and an Eames chaise longue bracket the living room; two Lawrence Weiner prints hang behind a pair of Warren Platner chairs and a table purchased from a River Oaks estate sale; at far left of the room, a partial wall of new
Texas might have a big reputation, but these homes show the variety of shapes and sizes in the Lone Star State.
February 08, 2016
Montigo gas-burning fireplace in spacious living room.
Built atop the foundation of a flood-damaged home, this 3,000-square-foot Maryland home features vibrant furniture placed in front of stunning views of a nearby estuary.
February 08, 2016
Studio addition in Seattle
An architect couple sets out to transform a run-down property.
February 08, 2016
West Elm coffee table, custom Joybird sofa, and matching Jens Risom chairs in living room of Westchester renovation by Khanna Shultz.
Every Monday, @dwell and @designmilk invite fans and experts on Twitter to weigh in on trending topics in design.
February 08, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment living room vertical oak slats
For the modernists among us, these spare spaces are a dream come true.
February 08, 2016
The square fountain at the courtyard's center is a modern rendition of a very traditional feature in many Middle Eastern homes.
From a large gathering space for family or a tranquil sanctuary, these seven designs feature some very different takes on the ancient idea of a courtyard.
February 08, 2016
stdaluminum 021
Since windows and doors are such important aspects of your home, it’s always a good idea to take the time to evaluate how they fit within the lifestyle you want. Whether you’re in the middle of constructing a new home, or you’re considering replacing your current setup, there are multiple elements to consider when it comes time to make the final decisions. Milgard® Windows & Doors understands how vital these choices are to the well-being of your home and has developed ways to turn the process into a journey that can be just as enjoyable as it is fulfilling. Not sure where to start? We gathered some helpful insights from their team of experts to help us better understand what goes into the process of bringing your vision to life.
February 08, 2016
modern fire resistant green boulder loewen windows south facade triple planed low-e glass
These houses in Broncos Country prove modern design is alive in the Rocky Mountains.
February 08, 2016
french evolution paris daniel rozensztroch living area eames la chaise butterfly chair moroccan berber rug
A tastemaker brings his distinct vision to an industrial loft with a centuries-old pedigree.
February 07, 2016
senses touch products
The haptic impact can’t be underplayed. The tactility of a material—its temperature, its texture­—can make the difference between pleasure and discontent.
February 07, 2016
senses taste products
Ambience is a key ingredient to any meal—materials, textures, and mood all impart a certain flavor.
February 07, 2016
senses smell products
The nose knows: Though fleeting and immaterial, scent is the lifeblood of Proustian memories, both evoking and imprinting visceral associations.
February 06, 2016
design icon josef frank villa beer vienna
Josef Frank: Against Design, which runs through April 2016 at Vienna’s Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art, is a comprehensive study of the prolific architect, designer, and author.
February 06, 2016
senses sound products
From an alarm to a symphony, audio frequencies hold the power to elicit an emotional call-and-response.
February 06, 2016
Italian Apline home with double-height walls on one facade.
Every week, we highlight one amazing Dwell home that went viral on Pinterest. Follow Dwell's Pinterest account for more daily design inspiration.
February 05, 2016
A built-in sofa with Design Tex upholstery marks the boundary between the two-level addition and the bungalow. Leading up to the master bedroom, a perforated metal staircase, lit from above, casts a Sigmar Polke–like shadow grid on the concrete floor.
From a minimalist Walter Gropius design to a curving sculptural stair, these six stairways run the gamut.
February 05, 2016
distant structure lakeside prefab norway facade stones green roof
Dwell has traveled all over the world, from Tasmania to Indonesia, to report on modern houses.
February 05, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment master bedroom atrium
Get ready for a weekend of rest with these sleepy, little cocoons.
February 05, 2016
lamp show 99 cent plus gallery 0
At Brooklyn's 99¢ Plus gallery, 30 artists and designers re-imagine the lamp in an illuminating light show.
February 04, 2016
Hidden storage stairwell with raw brass hardware
Having ample space to stow items is a daily struggle—peep these modern homes for some ideas on maximizing your square footage.
February 04, 2016
modern fairhaven beach house blackbutt eucalyptus living room Patricia Urquiola sofa
Whether it's along a coast in Australia or the French Alps, wood provides a natural touch in these interiors.
February 04, 2016
Glass and steel sculpture in Printemps store of Paris.
In the Paris' venerable Printemps department store, two Toronto-based firms were tasked with enlivening a new atrium and creating a unique experience for visitors. YabuPushelberg, partnering with UUfie, designed this stunning steel "sail" embedded with vibrant dichroic glass.
February 04, 2016
Monochromatic Master Bedroom in Copenhagen Townhouse
Whether it's to maximize limited light or create a soothing interior, these five projects go white in a big way.
February 04, 2016
EQ3 Assembly quilt by Kenneth LaVallee
The new Assembly collection from EQ3 celebrates up-and-coming figures in Canadian design. Discover this newly appointed class, which debuted at Toronto's Interior Design Show, here.
February 03, 2016
The Greenhouses of Half Moon Bay
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most viral design and architecture shots of the week.
February 03, 2016
Deck of Australian addition to Edwardian home.
A 1,500-square-foot home in Melbourne welcomes a modern black and white kitchen, dining, and living area.
February 03, 2016
open plan concrete home in japan
Embracing the organic, imperfect material, these raw concrete surfaces are a step up from exposed brick.
February 03, 2016
Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.
The classic designer's signature and comfortable forms continue to be popular in homes today.
February 03, 2016
Zinc-roofed cabin France.
An architect builds an energy-efficient home near one of France’s most popular pilgrimage sites.
February 03, 2016