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House on a narrow plot



This was a response to a forum thread (elsewhere) and something that has been touched on in an earlier blog.


I designed a small mock coach house, at the end of a very long  garden. (It was mock to the planners, and a possible nimby backlash, and their were no coaches) The site was less than 5.6m and agreement had been reached to build on the boundary thus leaving an internal width of 3.6m. Plainly there were no projections over the neighbour's land and the wall and gutters etc were designed to be virtually maintenance free.


One trick (such as it is) is to create the main entrance half way along, into the side, rather than front.


If necessary, the daylight can be dealt with internal courtyards...see Peter Phippen's project in Hatfield for a terrace of very narrow houses...https://www.themodernhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/THE_RYDE-TMH.pdf


Thus, anything is possible within the blessing of planners and neighbours... a gift of a bottle of good whisky works wonders (obviously not to a planner!)


So, don't discount a narrow site...all problems are an opportunity: the wise tell us! huh


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Interesting.  My house is 3.5m wide inside, that 'narrow' house in the drawing is 2.9 m wider.  Not what I would call a narrow site.

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Aye...interesting: perhaps a plan? The one shown in the link was probably built for Hertfordshire County Council (an enlightened outfit...you cannot ever imagine a private house builder even considering such a thing) and they would need to adhere to strict Parker Morris standards of the day. I guess you could narrow it be a 2-3 feet at a push. Also British Gypsum make (or did) PDP, a form of partition 57mm wide which, they say, performed acoustically as well as a 100mm timber partition.

There was a terrace of 20+ of these...One sold a few years back (The modern House...estate agents) as a listed building. The owners had put a glass roof over a courtyard too...almost an extra living room! You can follow up similar house forms in a cracking little book called 'The Modern Courtyard House' by Duncan MacIntosh...if you can find a copy. Cheapest on ABEbooks is over £50...err posted from Australia: or your local library perhaps.  Worth digging!

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Hopefully you can open this and it makes sense. You will need to change the .txt extension to .dxf (can we change it to allow some CAD formats to be uploaded please).

Basically a 8m by 4m two storey box.

A little wider and I could turn the stairs around though 90° and stop the living room being a corridor.

SteamyTea HouseDFX.txt

Edited by SteamyTea
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Did you change the file extension to .dxf, then open it up in just about any CAD package.


Here is a screen capture anyway.

No hurry, I am not charging you for this :D



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Trouble is that they are open (though easily solved), so noise transmits upstairs.

What would be better was if the stairs cut the house in two, a front and back.

Then move the kitchen to the front and have a totally separate living room at the back.

Trouble with that is that the parking is at the back, so no one uses the front doors.  So maybe living room should stay in the front.

One problem is that a normal sofa is just a bit to wide to go across the front wall, and when it is on the long wall, it makes a narrow room even narrower.

A bit of space could be made upstairs by getting rid of the airing cupboard and cylinder, making the larger back room a bit larger.

But the real problem is that the living room is a corridor.  Fine when I am on my own (I never use it anyway) but then other are in the house it it a bit intrusive walking past friend, lodgers or family.

Edited by SteamyTea
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Aye...I live in the kitchen...lean-to conservatory at West end, Front door East end facing garden and visitor parking...all I need is a bed deck above a shower room. Never use the living room and don't watch TV. A good guide to a 'What do you really want' brief making kit. I do have a painting studio in a formerly disused basement however. I could happily live in an old railway carriage...but enough about me. Thanks for update and explanation.

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Right, I have had a little play about, and this could do with a lot of improvement (I am not a builder, plumber or house designer).

I have kept the floor area the same but think that I have created more space.  There is also unused space under and over the stairs that could easily house a heating system and a bit of storage.  And that is without using the loft.

Also managed to get in two wash rooms.

And made the path between all the downstairs doors inline.  If you are going to have a corridor, make it straight one, is my thinking.

They are a mirror image of my house, but that is just because I work from right to left.  Would make no difference if it was mirrored.

The upstairs bedroom doors could be flipped 180° for a bit more 'emergency privacy', though I hate doors that open into a room (probably because I am claustrophobic).


This house designing is easy, all it needs is a bit more knowledge about products and the legislation. ;)


Oh, you can now get a 2.2m long sofa in the living room, which I struggle to do at the moment without walking into it every time I go upstairs.

SteamyTea New House 1.jpg

SteamyTea New House 2.jpg

Edited by SteamyTea
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I think one issue here with your new plan is that the central entrance to the en-suite turns your bedrooms into corridors now. Not clear on the utility of making it now have 2 single bedrooms.


Wit( the existing circ. space is all in the middle not the edges.

Edited by Ferdinand
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2 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

I think one issue

It is always a problem in small houses, but even worse when the place is longer and thinner.

My house is 3.5m wide, almost a metre is taken up by staircase, leaving 2.5m.  Pop a sofa in, and now down to 1.25m (ish).

Put a TV in and you are about a metre from it.  I don't have a TV.

The point I was making, was that for the same area, layout can be a lot better than what I currently have.  I only have one bathroom, and very little storage.

Edited by SteamyTea
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