A modern interpretation of a shotgun house is finishing up construction on Hull Street in Phoenix Hill. The project was designed and built by Shed Design+Build and will soon be home to one of the partners in the business. Graham Clark and John Bajandas recently completed the now fully occupied Franklin Flats in Butchertown with a similar modern interpretation of traditional massing. The modern shotgun house could eventually serve as a prototype for infilling vacant parcels in many of Louisville’s neighborhoods.
Graham Clark came to the realization that he wasn’t fully living in his 2,000 square foot condo in Crescent Hill. Realistically, he says he was only utilizing about 900 square feet on a regular basis. This led him to ask himself, “How do I live all over my house?” The result is a modern shotgun house where every bit of space has a use. The house sits on a 21-foot-by-111-foot lot and has 1,438 square feet. Extra space in the basement and outdoor living spaces bring the total up to about 2,200 square feet. There’s still room on site for a carriage house and backyard as well.
The house is narrow at only 14′-5″ clear distance between exterior walls, but it has been designed to open up the interior spaces and create a flow to connect all parts of the house. Walking inside, high ceilings and tall windows help to push the walls out and make the house feel larger. Graham intentionally left the ground floor as a single open space with no interrupting walls to help heighten this effect. A half bathroom in the center of the house doesn’t quite reach the ceiling and provides a degree of visual separation between the living and dining areas of the house.
The half bath will be clad in the same hickory planks that cover the floor and a frosted glass clerestory will connect it to the ceiling. Built-in bookcases and storage units will help make the most of the small urban dwelling while keeping a clean, modern interior. In this way, even the bathroom becomes a piece of modern furniture placed inside the house rather than an afterthought tucked in a corner.
Privacy has also been unobtrusively designed into the house. Horizontally-oriented windows placed on the upper half of the side walls provide natural light while ensuring privacy on a narrow lot and recessed lighting keeps the space well lit without cluttering the ceiling. Since this is his own home, Graham was able to take risks he might not otherwise as a builder.
Perhaps the best spot in the entire house, though, is on the second floor. The dramatic butterfly roof set back from the front facade is revealed in the interior space and allows light to flood the two upstairs bedrooms. Salvaged 150 year old doors will be used to partition spaces. The master bedroom features a large terrace overlooking Downtown Louisville.
The modern shotgun house is situated high atop Phoenix Hill which rapidly falls away across Hull Street providing panoramic views of the entire city. Graham described the scene as an intensely urban one. City life unfolds in an action packed drama as city lights twinkle at night and various modes of transportation weave through the city just down the hill. Thunder Over Louisville this weekend is expected to put on an especially nice show from the terrace.
Graham Clark hopes to take his experiences with this house and apply them to a prototype modern shotgun house that can be built affordably as infill. He said the key aspects of the house are its open design, modern materials, traditional proportions, and urban scale. The house makes the most of its narrow lot while offering amenities common in modern design. The open floor plan and ample outdoor living spaces make this house extremely livable. Perhaps one day similar modern shotgun houses will fill missing teeth across urban Louisville.
- Franklin Flats To Be Fully Occupied By End Of Year (2008) (Broken Sidewalk)
- Franklin House Brings Modern Architecture To Butchertown (Broken Sidewalk)