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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:05 PM
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Have you lived in a rowhouse in your city?

It seems a majority of us on this forum love the urban aesthetic of rowhouse neighborhoods. Having a significant chunk of its built environment populated by rowhouses gives a city a certain credibility as a "real city"... making it "more urban" and making its neighborhoods "cooler".

Though I wonder how many of us on here have actually lived in a rowhouse (???)... and I'd like to hear experiences of rowhouse lyfe. I'm not talking about living in some brownstone or townhouse or duplex or flat or some other semi-detached home. I'm talking about a rowhouse, like you would find in South Philly, for example.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9278...7i16384!8i8192

I've lived in 3 of them (first in Philly, then Pittsburgh, and finally DC) and I think living in a rowhouse mostly sucks. To me, they're cramped, dark, loud, and hot. Not sure why I chose to live in one the 2nd and 3rd times.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:08 PM
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Yep, but it still had a front lawn space though.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:09 PM
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due in large part to the great fire of 1871, chicago isn't a row house city, so the answer is no.

It's not from a lack of wanting to experience life in a row house, we just don't have many of them at all, but we do have ~8 billion flat buildings.

I have lived in 6 different flat buildings in neighborhoods all across the city over the past 2 decades, including our current home.

It's highly unlikely that the opportunity to live in a row house will ever present itself to me for the rest of my life.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:21 PM
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Why are brownstones excluded?

I lived in an apartment that was located in a row house in Brooklyn, about 10 years ago. It wasn't a brownstone, but the house was subdivided into 3 apartments. The house was terribly maintained, even though the owner occupied one of the apartments. I ended up moving out of the place early because it was such a disaster. I wouldn't mind living in a row house again, though.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:21 PM
Investing In Chicago Investing In Chicago is online now
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I lived on the below block for a year - while I lived in Manhattan most of my life, this was the only rowhouse I ever lived in:

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7348...7i16384!8i8192
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:31 PM
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You're excluding something like 95% of the US with this question?
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JManc View Post
You're excluding something like 95% of the US with this question?
For the US, yes, I imagine that I am. But I also wonder if that excluded percentage significantly decreases when only considering this forum’s users...
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 6:58 PM
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No, but I've been in some.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pj3000 View Post
It seems a majority of us on this forum love the urban aesthetic of rowhouse neighborhoods. Having a significant chunk of its built environment populated by rowhouses gives a city a certain credibility as a "real city"... making it "more urban" and making its neighborhoods "cooler".

Though I wonder how many of us on here have actually lived in a rowhouse (???)... and I'd like to hear experiences of rowhouse lyfe. I'm not talking about living in some brownstone or townhouse or duplex or flat or some other semi-detached home. I'm talking about a rowhouse, like you would find in South Philly, for example.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.9278...7i16384!8i8192

I've lived in 3 of them (first in Philly, then Pittsburgh, and finally DC) and I think living in a rowhouse mostly sucks. To me, they're cramped, dark, loud, and hot. Not sure why I chose to live in one the 2nd and 3rd times.
There are no rowhouses in my state I dont think. not in any significant number.

I lived in a very rowlike Townhome for 4 years in Scottsdale though.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:12 PM
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Technically no, but close (not my actual block but the same neighborhood):

http://Https://goo.gl/maps/kFb4vTyV3PeVMwp4A

Despite its old bones, St. Louis didn’t do many true rowhome neighborhoods like what’s depicted in your link.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JManc View Post
You're excluding something like 95% of the US with this question?
according to the 2017 ACS, only 5.8% of all housing units nationwide are 1-unit, attached.

and of those, i have to imagine the lion's share of them are of the more contemporary townhouse style of attached single family housing.

i wouldn't be surprised if classic old-school row houses like those found in south philly only make up 1 - 2% of all housing units nationwide.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:29 PM
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Yes, I lived in a row house on Capitol Hill in DC for a few years in the mid 1980s. It was just a few blocks from Eastern Market, and the area was rapidly gentrifying but still a bit run down and dicey. It was a corner house that had a small front yard behind a low fence and a deck overlooking the back and the side street (10th St SE). Across the alley behind my place was a corner store with a large flat above that was rented out by the room. During my time there, the rooming house became a kind of crack house. This was during the period when DC turned into a real wild-west show, but just before I moved out, the building behind me was sold and converted into an architect's office! The house next door to me on D St. SE was occupied for a while by a Roma family who had a used car business elsewhere in DC. They were evicted after a year or so for non payment of rent. It also turned out that they had been stealing electricity from the house on the other side of their house. It amounted to several thousand dollars in free electricity over an almost two year period before the theft was discovered. I guess I dodged a bullet. My electrical service was located on the 10th Street side of the property. Overall, I liked living in a row house, and I liked living on Capitol Hill during this period of transition. I was still young enough that the situations I described above were more a source of amusement and amazement than a source of aggravation. I loved being three blocks from the Metro and also loved being able to hop on my bike and ride on the Capitol grounds (before all the security) and down on the Mall. I guess nowadays that location at 10th and D Streets SE is an urban paradise. It wasn't so bad back then either, just as long as you didn't get shot or mugged. I often stood my ground with the crackheads and dealers and probably was in more danger than I realized at the time.

Last edited by austlar1; Oct 2, 2019 at 7:47 PM.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:33 PM
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Never lived in one. Those types of homes were expensive in Brooklyn and Queens even back in the day ( 90s-00s). I've lived in apartments, duplexes, and townhouses.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:41 PM
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Rowhomes on this forum are highly overrated and most detached homes without front facing garages in a tight urban setting provide the same benefits, lifestyle and look great.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:44 PM
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Yes, I have, for a seven-year period here in Pittsburgh (in Lawrenceville). Arguably for a year when I lived in Bloomfield as well, though that was a semi-attached frame home, so arguably not a true rowhouse.

I honestly liked it a great deal. Heating costs were very minor once we insulated the attic, given party walls on either side and the non-party walls being pretty insubstantial in terms of surface area. It was a pain installing/uninstalling the window unit AC each year, but I didn't want to ruin the house with ductwork, so it was good enough.

I didn't really hear my neighbors that much - a foot of solid brick as a party wall muffles a lot of noise. Honestly I hear my neighbors more frequently in my current detached home because people around here spend more time on their porch and/or backyard. Didn't mind the relative lack of light in the "middle rooms" on the first/second floor. One window is enough for a room, IMHO.

The absolute worst part about it wasn't so much that it was a rowhouse, but that the backyard was covered by an easement for "ingress, egress, and drying of clothes." It was also at one point covered in concrete, and had subsided. We discovered over the course of years that we couldn't fence off any part of it for a private yard. We could have ripped out the subsided concrete on our property and fixed it, but we'd still have to look at the neighbors cracked, weed-infested yards, since we couldn't obstruct. Besides that my only major concern was things like when we needed a common chimney repointed and my neighbor was too broke so we had to pay for the whole thing ourselves.

When we moved out in 2014, my preference was strongly to live in another rowhouse - just a larger one with a private yard. But all of the Pittsburgh neighborhoods with nice larger rowhouses had already appreciated in price to the point my wife was unwilling to take the plunge, so we ended up in a detached home.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The North One View Post
Rowhomes on this forum are highly overrated and most detached homes without front facing garages in a tight urban setting provide the same benefits, lifestyle and look great.
I agree, but I don't think rowhomes are overrated, they provide, by far, the best urban experience in my opinion.

For example, below is the rowhouse I lived in in NYC vs. my current block in Chicago, they are both great, but the NYC block is by far more visually appealing to me, and the Chicago block is beautiful!

Row Home Block:
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7348...7i16384!8i8192

Detached Home Block:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/37...!4d-87.6613642
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 7:59 PM
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^ I agree that rowhomes provide a higher look of traditional urbanism but IDK I think I'd rather live on that Chicago street. There's much more foliage and room to plant things (urbanists like to have plants too), more natural light and I'd imagine it has less issues with flooding with there being more ground for water to travel into.

Also not all rowhomes are of such high quality like what your NYC streetview shows. Philly's teeny tiny box rowhomes with basically no space and no room for trees are terrible and I would not want to live in one.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 8:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Investing In Chicago View Post
I agree, but I don't think rowhomes are overrated, they provide, by far, the best urban experience in my opinion.

For example, below is the rowhouse I lived in in NYC vs. my current block in Chicago, they are both great, but the NYC block is by far more visually appealing to me, and the Chicago block is beautiful!

Row Home Block:
https://www.google.com/maps/@40.7348...7i16384!8i8192

Detached Home Block:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/37...!4d-87.6613642
My issue is with row-houses or any attached buildings is fire. At least with the Chicago housing, they're detached so if one house goes up, the neighbors are less at risk. In New York, if your neighbor ten doors down passes out drinking a fifth of scotch while grilling steaks he could burn the entire block down. Some cow a few years ago got people in Chicago skittish over fires....for good reason.
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 8:15 PM
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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 8:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The North One View Post
^ I agree that rowhomes provide a higher look of traditional urbanism but IDK I think I'd rather live on that Chicago street. There's much more foliage and room to plant things (urbanists like to have plants too), more natural light and I'd imagine it has less issues with flooding with there being more ground for water to travel into.
I like both but I'd prefer the Chicago block because you can get to the backyard from the street without having to go through the house. It would be much easier for landscaping, other maintenance, and hosting parties in the yard.
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