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  #61  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2019, 10:48 PM
Fresh Fresh is offline
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Lived here in Sydney - not quite a row house but a 'terrace' - the one storey version such as this are very small but makes for a great urban form and neighbourhood density

https://www.google.com/maps/@-33.896...thumbfov%3D100
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  #62  
Old Posted Oct 3, 2019, 11:30 PM
mrnyc mrnyc is offline
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^ interesting — looks very sea statey — and very tropical!
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  #63  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 2:45 AM
Cory Cory is offline
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I lived in an attached flat in SF. Downstairs and upstairs unit of a house. Like a lot of houses in SF, the gaps in between houses are not real; they're still attached.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/72...!4d-122.445444
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  #64  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 3:26 AM
3rd&Brown 3rd&Brown is offline
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I've lived in nothing but rowhomes my whole entire adult life and I quite love them.

When you own one, it's super economical. They're very energy efficient, because you share masonry walls with your neighbors, and when and if you remodel them, you can go all out in terms of materials because very often you don't need that much of whatever it is you're buying. Ditto for doors, windows, etc. A typical Philly 2 story rowhome will have only 3 front windows. So instead of replacing them with sh*tty vinyl Home Depot windows, on a tight budget, you can replace them with beautiful wood or clad windows that you'd find in much more expensive homes/neighborhoods.

Every rowhome I've lived in had a maximum utility bill of $100 a month. Typically, it was $20 gas / $80 electric in the hotter months and the reverse in the cold months when you run the heat.

As Londonee says, I'm not sure why the hate for Philly rowhomes. Virtually everything, at least in and around Center City Philadelphia is a rowhome. A rowhouse can be a 10,000 square foot mansion with elevators or a 600 square foot trinity with a basement kitchen. The beautiful thing about Philadelphia in particular is that very often they sit side by side and most passer-bys wouldn't even know it.

Some streets I've lived on:

https://goo.gl/maps/wxXgKa9YmRFt1pyX6

https://goo.gl/maps/XZLf8zuQRV1tSW6w6

https://goo.gl/maps/8acZ8am6Q64JcWef6

Currently renovating a house on this block with much wider rowhomes:

https://goo.gl/maps/8acZ8am6Q64JcWef6

I currently split my time between NYC and Philly. In NYC, I live on a super block of big pre-war apartment buildings. Most old NYC apartments are chopped up into a million rooms whereas most rowhomes have been opened up at this point.

Both have their merits. I'd say the worst thing about living in a rowhome is the stairs...3 of the 4 I've lived in were 3 floors. I do very much enjoy living on one floor, as is the case in my NYC apartment. It makes keeping up with putting things away a bit easier, as you're not always traversing floors.
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  #65  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 4:00 AM
UrbanRevival UrbanRevival is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd&Brown View Post
I've lived in nothing but rowhomes my whole entire adult life and I quite love them.

When you own one, it's super economical. They're very energy efficient, because you share masonry walls with your neighbors, and when and if you remodel them, you can go all out in terms of materials because very often you don't need that much of whatever it is you're buying. Ditto for doors, windows, etc. A typical Philly 2 story rowhome will have only 3 front windows. So instead of replacing them with sh*tty vinyl Home Depot windows, on a tight budget, you can replace them with beautiful wood or clad windows that you'd find in much more expensive homes/neighborhoods.

Every rowhome I've lived in had a maximum utility bill of $100 a month. Typically, it was $20 gas / $80 electric in the hotter months and the reverse in the cold months when you run the heat.

As Londonee says, I'm not sure why the hate for Philly rowhomes. Virtually everything, at least in and around Center City Philadelphia is a rowhome. A rowhouse can be a 10,000 square foot mansion with elevators or a 600 square foot trinity with a basement kitchen. The beautiful thing about Philadelphia in particular is that very often they sit side by side and most passer-bys wouldn't even know it.

Some streets I've lived on:

https://goo.gl/maps/wxXgKa9YmRFt1pyX6

https://goo.gl/maps/XZLf8zuQRV1tSW6w6

https://goo.gl/maps/8acZ8am6Q64JcWef6

Currently renovating a house on this block with much wider rowhomes:

https://goo.gl/maps/8acZ8am6Q64JcWef6
Great points, and definitely some very interesting living situations in those street views.

Aside from contributing to a solid street wall for the "urban feel," some other great facet about rowhomes is their immense contribution to egalitarianism and finely-grained urbanism (and which is particularly true about Philly, with such a wealth of smaller rowhomes):

1) They are really the "secret sauce" to affordability because they very preserve small, individually-owned parcels of land that are so hard for truly working- and middle-class folks to attain in almost every other bona fide urban city. The desire to make homeownership common amongst the masses was precisely why Philadelphia was developed as it was; and

2) The inherent narrowness of each rowhome lot means that you can very easily integrate some fascinating architectural diversity in a very confined setting. Granted, there are still plenty of blocks with uniformity and monotony, but as these homes are modified or redeveloped with individual flair like different facade styles, materials, or other flourishes (thoughtfully, of course), the diversity is visually stimulating and contributes greatly to the dynamic feel of a neighborhood.
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  #66  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 4:40 AM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd&Brown View Post

As Londonee says, I'm not sure why the hate for Philly rowhomes. Virtually everything, at least in and around Center City Philadelphia is a rowhome. A rowhouse can be a 10,000 square foot mansion with elevators or a 600 square foot trinity with a basement kitchen. The beautiful thing about Philadelphia in particular is that very often they sit side by side and most passer-bys wouldn't even know it.
Philly rowhouses are great, urbanistically. Fantastic from the street. Basically as good as it gets in the U.S. from the pedestrian perspective.

But, excepting a few fancy neighborhoods, they're far from ideal for how people live today. Most of these rowhouses are extremely narrow, spartan, tiny and dark, with extremely modest proportions and ceiling heights. They were built for very working class families.

Even the generally much grander Brooklyn brownstones are usually too dark and have too many stairs. I love them from the street, but would not live in one unless gut renovated with back blown out with glass walls (which is getting extremely common - unrenovated they're always too damn dark). And probably an elevator. But all that is serious $$.
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  #67  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 6:28 AM
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photoLith photoLith is offline
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Yup, lived in three different late 1800s row houses in Pittsburgh. It mostly sucked and they were all cold and or really hot and loud. I now live in a 1915 arts and crafts detached house. I'm sure rowhouses with non slum lords are fine but all the ones I lived in were really cheap and owned by slumlords who never fixed anything.
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  #68  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 12:36 PM
ChiMIchael ChiMIchael is offline
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I lived in a small townhouse located in the Jeffery Manor in the far southeast part of Chicago for most of my life. They weren't really well designed. It gets claustrophobic even with a small family. Rooms are too small to accommodate much. No basement, but there was good backyard space. A garage could be added.
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  #69  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 2:09 PM
3rd&Brown 3rd&Brown is offline
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Even the generally much grander Brooklyn brownstones are usually too dark and have too many stairs. I love them from the street, but would not live in one unless gut renovated with back blown out with glass walls (which is getting extremely common - unrenovated they're always too damn dark). And probably an elevator. But all that is serious $$.
This is an odd assertion.

Philly is a grid with EW and NS streets. Literally 25% of the lots sit on the north side of EW streets with direct southern exposures.

Of course, if you're one of those prudes who feels uncomfortable having any hint of your house exposed to the outside, then it's going to be dark inside. But I'm not. A lot of rowhomes are elevated 3 or 4 steps up so in theory, you don't even need blinds on the first level because pedestrians are below you at street view.

Anyways, different strokes for different folks. A lot of people I know live in suburbs and have 38 vinyl windows on their vinyl house and every window is covered as if the taliban is going to discover young girls going to school inside.

People need to just relax.
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  #70  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 2:49 PM
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EastSideHBG EastSideHBG is offline
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Yep I have. It was built in the late 1800s and the owner completely redid the inside and it was very nice. Solid old construction and wasn't too noisy and the location was awesome. HOWEVER, seeing one catch on fire and quickly spreading down the block does make me think twice about doing it again. Unfortunately I have lived through two fires due to the carelessness of others and it's an awful experience.
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  #71  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 2:54 PM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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Originally Posted by 3rd&Brown View Post
As Londonee says, I'm not sure why the hate for Philly rowhomes. Virtually everything, at least in and around Center City Philadelphia is a rowhome. A rowhouse can be a 10,000 square foot mansion with elevators or a 600 square foot trinity with a basement kitchen. The beautiful thing about Philadelphia in particular is that very often they sit side by side and most passer-bys wouldn't even know it.
I have to say that the one thing I don't like about Philly rowhouses is the ubiquity of flat roofs. Here in Pittsburgh flat-roofed rowhouses are comparably rare (save for the later ones built in the 20th century) with most two-story rowhouses either having a forward-facing slanted roof with a front/rear dormer. Our old rowhouse had one, which was a lifesaver, because we converted the attic into a "master bedroom" (kinda, with no bathroom though), which turned our "two up, two down" into a three bedroom house. But really the main thing is two-story rowhouses don't generate enough of an urban feel unless a street is very, very narrow. I have read about the idea of an "outdoor room" in urban planning - basically there's a golden ratio in terms of minimum building height to width from building to building. Two-story rowhouses (lacking attics) on a two-way street starts to feel a bit open and sparse, though not quite suburban-feeling.

The other thing that I think doesn't work for Philly is the "industrial scale" of the rowhouse building. Here in Pittsburgh, while there's lots of attached housing, typically each house was either built as a singleton or in small stands of 2-6. An entire block of identical houses is quite rare - only a few intact forms like this survive anywhere in the city today. While a block of identical rowhouses can look quite nice if they're higher end/ornate on a street with trees, in a working-class area it just makes the street feel institutional, desolate, and - perhaps worst - boring. The essence of a good walking environment in an urban area is never knowing what you're going to find when you turn the corner, which is why some heterogeneity in form/function is for the best. Remuddling has actually in a weird way helped with this a bit.
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  #72  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 3:23 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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Originally Posted by 3rd&Brown View Post
This is an odd assertion.

Philly is a grid with EW and NS streets. Literally 25% of the lots sit on the north side of EW streets with direct southern exposures.
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.
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  #73  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 4:18 PM
jtown,man jtown,man is offline
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I was obsessed with Philly rowhomes for a few months(weird thing to say, even on here lol) and I was Zillowin' every night. I love them. When they look nice on the outside, remodeled on the inside, have three bedrooms and a basement that is also renovated, you can't beat it.

I love that people in the city can get a quality home, nice and cozy, in a decent area...for a good price.

In any case, we don't need all the space we act as we do. I figure a typical small Philly rowhome would be more than sufficient for a family of 4. Hell, if me and the gf bought one now(childless) we would feel like we live in a damn mansion.
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  #74  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 4:26 PM
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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.
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  #75  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 4:39 PM
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Steely Dan Steely Dan is offline
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^ awesome post.

being from a non-rowhouse city, i really appreciate the descriptions of the layouts. they sound quite a bit different from chicago's long and skinny flats.

as someone who best learns visually, is there a good resource for generic stereotypical rowhouse floor plans?
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  #76  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 4:40 PM
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Yeah, I think those are the most common U.S. typologies.

The light issue is fixable. Here's an article on opening up the back walls of brownstones. This really is expected now with higher-end gut renovations:
https://www.brownstoner.com/interior...steel-windows/

The floorplan issue is not as easily fixed, unless you extend the structure into the rear yard, which is obviously a massive undertaking. The city usually allows significant alterations to the back of brownstones in landmarked districts, provided they're not visible from the street. A lot of those 19th century blocks now have very modern, extended floorplans.
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  #77  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 5:13 PM
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When I was born my parents had a rowhouse in London. Since they sold it, it has increased roughly 18x in value. Oh well.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steely Dan View Post
^ awesome post.

being from a non-rowhouse city, i really appreciate the descriptions of the layouts. they sound quite a bit different from chicago's long and skinny flats.

as someone who best learns visually, is there a good resource for generic stereotypical rowhouse floor plans?
Just look at real estate agent websites. There are usually floor plans of houses for sale.

Here’s a west London rowhouse (with, frankly, an atypical layout):
https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property...-84971366.html

Here’s a smaller “worker’s cottage”:
https://www.rightmove.co.uk/property...-65490114.html
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  #78  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 5:13 PM
eschaton eschaton is online now
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Yeah, I think those are the most common U.S. typologies.

The light issue is fixable. Here's an article on opening up the back walls of brownstones. This really is expected now with higher-end gut renovations:
https://www.brownstoner.com/interior...steel-windows/

The floorplan issue is not as easily fixed, unless you extend the structure into the rear yard, which is obviously a massive undertaking. The city usually allows significant alterations to the back of brownstones in landmarked districts, provided they're not visible from the street. A lot of those 19th century blocks now have very modern, extended floorplans.
I honestly hate when you take a historic home and make the floor plan "modern" on the inside.

One of the selling points for my house (detached, built in 1906, basically "grand foursquare" in style) was how historically intact it was. Cherry floors on the first story, unpainted original woodwork everywhere on the first floor (save the kitchen) grand stairwell with bannister, pocket doors, built in sitting benches, stained glass windows, clawfoot tub on the second floor, etc. I wouldn't have bought a house that looked the same from the outside if they gutted it and put in an open floor plan, painted the woodwork white, and replaced everything with shitty drywall.
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  #79  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 5:18 PM
Crawford Crawford is offline
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I honestly hate when you take a historic home and make the floor plan "modern" on the inside.
Yeah, this is the big vintage home divide. Restore or gut? I love brownstone exteriors. Can't stand the dark, claustrophobic vintage interiors.

Something like this is, to me, the perfect rowhome:
https://thebrooklynhomecompany.com/d...arfield-place/

But traditionalists will hate it.
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  #80  
Old Posted Oct 4, 2019, 5:19 PM
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In my city, no, but in other cities, yes.
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