Half storey, as in "one-and-a-half-storey house"?

What is a half storey (or half story, if you prefer)? Is it where the top floor of a house is within the peaked area and therefore covers less than the full footprint of the building?


Most people call those type of houses two story houses when they are really one and a half. A true two story house is where the top floor takes up as much room as the bottom floor. Either way you call it that’s a lot of house and makes for an expensive utility bill.

Well you could have other configurations. One such is that the ground floor on one side is 1/2 the size of the top floor, usually built on the side of a hill.

Another one is where the house is split. One one side you have a lower floor and a upper floor, on the other you have a floor placed 1/2 between the 2. The stairs goes from the lower floor, up 1/2 a flight of stairs to the ‘middle/split level’ floor, then up again from the middle level to the top.

Around here those types of houses are simply called “split level.” What we call a 1 1/2 story is a house with usually a single room (or a bedroom and bath) upstairs. If the house is such that the roof comes down into room level (with an arched ceiling instead of one continuous height) the room is called a “dormer.”

According to the local Property Assessor’s Office, for a half story, the roof line goes half way down. If the roof goes all the way down, you have a finshed attic. According to the actual files. . . well pretty much anything goes. :: sigh ::

Heh. I’m the local zoning administrator, and I’ve had a hell of a time getting a good answer from anybody. Since it almost never comes up, I’ve never really had to figure it out, but it was on my mind, so I figured I’d cyberslack in a productive fashion.

Here is a good example of a one-and-a-half storey house.

That house looks plain weird.

There is another usage that’s like the one in Fear Itself’s link, except much smaller on the half-floor. We stayed overnight in one in Salisbury, Maryland while visiting my wife’s relatives. The house was very old, and the roofline really intruded on the living space. They said this style was common when it was built. There was a narrow place down the middle of the room where a grown man could stand up straight; everywhere else, I was crouching under the roof. The head of the bed was up against the short wall, and every time I got out of bed, I banged my head on the roof.

After one night, we moved out to a motel. Sheesh.