View Single Post
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 4:26 PM
eschaton eschaton is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 2,947
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
I'm sure you have a lot more knowledge re. rowhouses, especially in Philly, compared to me. But in my experience, historic, non-gut renovated rowhouses, wherever they're located, are dark and have cramped, odd layouts by modern standards. Obviously both these issues can be fixed, but will cost serious money, and will destroy the historical integrity (which for a lot of folks, is a huge primary appeal).

Especially with a wife from a warm, sunny country, we want lots of big windows with natural light and, like most households these days, we prefer open floorplans. Neither preference is easily accommodated in a rowhouse format.

But, again, I love rowhouse neighborhoods, because they're fantastic from an urbanist/pedestrian perspective.
My experience has been that rowhouses only have a few basic layouts - discounting really small types like a trinity:

Two up, two down: The smallest regular layout. Two rooms on the first floor, two on the second. Usually the smallest of these have a steep staircase which runs left-to-right, party wall to party wall. Every room has natural light from one external-facing wall.

Two deep with third story: The same basic layout as above, but with a second flight of stairs leading to an attic or a third floor, which may be furnished.

Two deep with rear ell: Same basic layout, but on the first, and usually the second story there's a rear extension. This is usually where the kitchen, and (due to convenience when it comes to the sewage stacks) the second-floor bathroom are located. The negative of this style is it means the "internal room" on the first and second floor typically only have a single window due to the shape of the rear ell. Also, in its more narrow incarnations this means the second floor is set up "railroad apartment" style, meaning one bedroom has essentially no privacy.

Grand rowhouses: The big difference here is a grand rowhouse tends to be significantly wider, which allows for both a grand stairwell which goes front-to-back on the house, along with allowing for a hallway on at least the first and second floor. Often the third floor is large enough for multiple rooms. Occasionally you see a rear ell large enough for two sets of rooms on the first/second floors, but you invariably end up with the "railroad apartment" issue, because the ell will be too narrow for a true hallway in all but the widest rowhouses.
Reply With Quote