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what is a 1 1/2 story house?

eru's picture

Our design review committee in a historic district is having some trouble finding a definition of a one and a half story house.  I think that it must have roughly half-height walls above the first floor.  Others think that a single story house with a finished attic is a one and a half story hose? Maybe the term is just not well defined?

(post #60322, reply #1 of 30)

The best example that comes to mind for me is a cape style, where the kneewalls are less than full height to cieling and the floorspace of the upstairs is less than that of the main floor footprint.

 

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(post #60322, reply #2 of 30)

When I was a kid in Louisville, it meant a house with a finished full-height attic. With steep roof the attic would occupy have about 1/2 the square footage of the main floor. Generally there was a dormer or two, but probably not necessary to the definition.


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(post #60322, reply #3 of 30)

"I think that it must have roughly half-height walls above the first floor."


Eru,


Your comment got me thinking....Yes, when you see a true 1 1/2 story, you know it, but on the other hand, make no other changes other than scaling it down, and it becomes a ranch with an attic.  Scale it up, and 4' knee walls would look odd, so overall foot print must have something to do with it.


Now I live in a true cape that is 32 feet deep, and the second floor ceilings (vaulted with collar ties) are 10'.  The knee walls are 3 to four feet high.  Everything seems proportionate.


Jon

(post #60322, reply #4 of 30)

Mine is a cape too, and I have about 1000' on main floor and about 580 on second floor so it would work out to about half the footage, depending on where you placed the kneewalls.

 

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(post #60322, reply #7 of 30)

ah but what about a half cape or 3/4 cape how does all that figure in? (JK).. I did some studying on capes before I built mine and I think you guys are right about roughly half finished sq. ft upstairs.

(post #60322, reply #23 of 30)

"I have about 1000' on main floor and about 580 on second floor so it would work out to about half the footage, depending on where you placed the kneewalls."


Piffin,


That's what I was getting at.  For say an 8/12 roof, kneewalls (4') work for a range of  maybe 24' to 32' depth of the house to keep it looking "normal" and be a 1 1/2.   Now tweak the roof pitch, and you might be able to get away a little more, but IMO true 1 1/2 story houses tend not to be all that big at least depth-wise to maintain that the "second floor is roughly 1/2 the first floor sq footage-wise.


Now that doesn't rule out other types of architectural styles, say a small bungalow for example as also being a 1 1/2.


Jon

(post #60322, reply #15 of 30)

If the rafters rest on the tops of the kneewalls, then the collar ties must be doing more of the work of keeping the walls spreading than in a 1-story house where wall, ceiling joist and rafter intersect at the same point of a triangle. Are there any problems with this configuration?

(Sorry if I get a collar tie controversy going again. Tell me to shut up and go away if you want.)

(post #60322, reply #16 of 30)

And then there was the New England Colonial...


They way I understand it: 


When the rafters continue to the 2nd floor joist(s), this is a 1.5 story (cape cod style home).   Typically knee walls are added to the interior.  Dormers are popular too.  They typically have very small or no attic space above.


When the rafters rest on a knee wall, this is a 1.75 story (New England Colonial).  They typically have decent size attic space above.


When the rafters rest on a full wall, this is a 2 story (Full Colonial).  They typically have a large attic.


That's my 2 cents


 


 

(post #60322, reply #18 of 30)

here's what i know about colonials and "story & a half's"


first , the walls do not go above the plate... the 2d floor is under the roof with or without dormers... the knee wall can be any ht...that is a 1 1/2 story


if the walls  (balloon framed ) go above the 2d floor level   to form a low wall... that is a 1 3/4 


if the balloon framed walls go all the way to the ceiling line of the 2d floor, that is a 2-story


if the 2d floor overhangs the first with a cantilever.. that is a garrison 


if the front wall is higher than the rear.. that is a salt box..


now.. as to 1/2 cape, 3.4 cape and full cape..


that refers to the symmetry of the long wall..


 a full cape has 2 windows a center door and 2 windows


a 3/4 has 1 window a door and  2 windows


a 1/2 cape has no window , a door and 2 windows..


usually, these were built in stages... a 1/2 cape became a full or 3/4 cape


Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #60322, reply #19 of 30)

So, I think my annoying question about collar ties refers to a 1 3/4 house, in your terminology.

(post #60322, reply #20 of 30)

Not much help in architectural and construction dictionaries for this and not much on-line either.  A couple of moderately interesting sites on architectural styles:


http://www.uwec.edu/geography/Ivogeler/w367/styles/styles.htm


http://www.uwec.edu/geography/Ivogeler/w367/styles/


http://www.mts.net/~heritag2/buildings/hwpg.html


There is one reference to 1 1/2 story (or storey if you are in Canada or England):


In the story and a half design, living space is tucked under the steep roof. This style goes back to the days when thatch was a common roofing material. Today, the roof pitch and inevitable dormers appeal to style conscious home buyers. The design also has a practical side. It makes efficient use of living space, land, materials and energy.


Most of the space under the roof serves as living area, making good use of the enclosed house volume. A small foot print reduces excavation and foundation costs. It also makes better use of small city lots.


Materials are used efficiently. The exterior wall area is drastically reduced which saves materials. Some of this savings is lost when the roof pitch is increased to make more head room, but overall the story and a half generally requires less material.


from:  http://oikos.com/esb/26/story_and_a_half.html 


 

(post #60322, reply #5 of 30)

when i had my home appraised for sale, the appraiser told me that a story and one half was---  the rafters sitting on the walls even with the floors. if the rafters sit on knee walls he considered that more than a story and one half.   I think you are right it appears not to be well defined.

(post #60322, reply #6 of 30)

I'm wondering why it would matter to an aprasor or assessor since they are basing value on sq ft of finished floor space..

 

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(post #60322, reply #13 of 30)

i agree--- we were just making small talk

(post #60322, reply #29 of 30)

Your message to me (Number 23 in this thread) was mysteriously deleted. Now I'm anxious to know what was in it. Uncontrollable fury at another question about collar ties?

(post #60322, reply #30 of 30)

LOL

No fury.

It was an attempt at humour that didn't look so phunny in print.

It could have been misinterpreted and in the interests of taste, I immediately pulled it back in.

Just pretend I said something funny and have a belly laugh.

 

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Welcome to the
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Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #60322, reply #8 of 30)

I don't think there is a universal definition, but my understanding matches that of the appraiser - rafters meet the attic floor joists at the exterior walls, forming a triangle, assuming that adequate ceiling height exists to create a habitable room, otherwise it's just storage space.

(post #60322, reply #9 of 30)

What would this one be called?


I just worked on this house. Nice inside.


SamT


edit: Oops! Forgot to attach. See the next post.


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Edited 3/3/2004 11:34:07 PM ET by SamT


SamT
A Pragmatic Classical Liberal, aka Libertarian.

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Except when I'm not.

(post #60322, reply #10 of 30)

Oops!


Here it is



Arguing with a Breaktimer is like mud-wrestling a pig -- Sooner or later you find out the pig loves it. Andy Engel


SamT
A Pragmatic Classical Liberal, aka Libertarian.

I'm always right!
Except when I'm not.

(post #60322, reply #11 of 30)

A salt box

 

 <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />


Welcome to the
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(post #60322, reply #24 of 30)

"A salt box"


Piffin,


Or a cape with a shed dormer........


Jon

(post #60322, reply #12 of 30)

Stick house

(post #60322, reply #17 of 30)

salt box or garrison salt box

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

Mike Smith   Rhode Island : Design / Build / Repair / Restore

(post #60322, reply #25 of 30)

"rafters meet the attic floor joists at the exterior walls, forming a triangle, assuming that adequate ceiling height exists to create a habitable room, otherwise it's just storage space."


Nannygee,


I've seen a lot of large hotels that would fit that definition, that are clearly not 1 1/2 story.   Basically large triangulated buildings with a central hallway and rooms on both sides, and maybe 8' walls, and the balance as a balcony.


Jon

(post #60322, reply #26 of 30)

I suppose your point is that there is no universal definition, which is why I made a point to say that up front.

In any case, this thread asks specifically about a "house" which would seem to indicate that "large hotels" might not be a reasonable comparison.

(post #60322, reply #27 of 30)

"I suppose your point is that there is no universal definition, which is why I made a point to say that up front"


NanneyGee,


 


Yes, there isn't it appears.


Actually, I thought your definition was probably the best in this thread, all I was trying to point out was that when a "1 1/2 structure" exceeded a certain size, the way you worded your post(and I acknowledge you did qualify your statement) it tends not to always be what we think of as a 1 1/2.


If it were up to me, for residential purposes, I'd take your definition, and perhaps add something about proportions of the second floor vs. the first, add ceiling and knee wall heights (a range), as well as acceptable roof pitches and that would more or less determine what is a 1 1/2. That's what we are trying to get at here.


Jon

(post #60322, reply #28 of 30)

Ok by me.

(post #60322, reply #14 of 30)

In my area (NW Ohio) it's a Cape with a finished 2nd floor which may include doghouse dorners. A shed dormer (usually on the rear) blurs the defintion

Around here, "1/2 cape" and "3/4 cape" are unknown terms, and "Cape" is pretty loosely used as well.

I've seen some real estate agents call a small ranch with a hipped roof a Cape!


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(post #60322, reply #21 of 30)

Anybody remember the raised ranches that dotted seemingly all of the suburban subdivisions in the 60s and the 70s?  First floor (half story) usually consists of a 4-foot knee wall on a 4-foot frost wall with an attached drive-under garage at or just below the first-floor grade.  A classic.  Cheap to build, maximum living space, but no basement for storage. 

Edited 3/4/2004 3:02:59 PM ET by kman


Edited 3/4/2004 3:03:20 PM ET by kman

(post #60322, reply #22 of 30)

Yeah, that is what I first flashed on when I saw the question about a 1 1/2 story house.  There is a picture of a "split level ranch" at http://architecture.about.com/library/bl-raisedranch.htm  which would be pretty much what you are talking about if the split level was over the garage, which it is not in this particular house.  I have had several friends living in houses with the split level over the garage and most of them (all?) had just one large room the size of the garage that was below.