Getting the most house on a narrow building lot can be quite challenging but with careful planning and creativity throughout the design process, homeowners can maximize space efficiently without forgoing style.
According to Allison McGraw, client services manager for Iowa-based Ahmann Design, Inc., narrow lots are becoming more of the norm these days. As lot prices keep rising, some developers are decreasing the size of the property in order to keep costs down.
“Most of these lots require a narrow lot design with a front-load garage. The garage certainly becomes one of the largest design obstacles on a narrow lot plan as a two-car garage can take up to 70 percent and a three-car garage up to 90 percent of the house plan,” explained McGraw. She added, “This is where a two-story design can be more appealing as architectural details and space can be added over the garage to help blend it and the rest of the house together.”
A house plan that best illustrates this concept is Ahmann Design’s two-story modern-style farmhouse (#82744) featured on The House Plan Company, a residential plan marketing company based in Oregon. The front-load garage complements the rest of the house with its simple roof lines and siding exterior and design details in the windows and door.
“We’ve seen an increase in the demand for both modern farmhouse designs and narrow lot house plans, so we wanted to collaborate on these two styles. We created a small square footage home that has the impact of a large square footage home,” said McGraw. “With features like a large concept entertaining area, an open staircase, a walk-in pantry, covered porch and second-floor loft, this narrow lot home design leaves nothing on the table.”
Regardless of the house plan homeowners select for their narrow lot, however, McGraw offers several design tips for maximizing space.
“A home needs careful thought and planning no matter what the square footage. With narrow lot plans, however, it’s important to keep proportion in mind to be efficient and effective with the space. When you have a smaller main floor footprint, an open floor plan allows you to maximize the space,” she explained. McGraw added, “In a two-story design, putting all of the bedrooms on the second floor can provide an opportunity to add a loft or bonus room over the garage and augment the main floor with features such as a walk-in pantry, mudroom and covered porch.”
The House Plan Company features a wide variety of narrow lot house plans in different sizes, stories and architectural styles. Generally designed for lots 45 feet wide or less, these house plans make the most of the space available.
Space Saver with Modern Flair
While many of the narrow lot house plans feature a front-load garage, several offer the option of a detached garage at the back of the lot with access from an alley. As opposed to Ahmann’s farmhouse floor plan, the main living space in modern-style house plan #74248, from designer Steve Vatter of Legacy Home Plans, is located at the front of the lot.
The front entrance of the home opens into a casual family room and dining area with nine-foot ceilings and a staircase in the center of the floor plan that adds dimension to the space. A breakfast bar separates the spacious kitchen from the dining area. At the back of the main floor, the master bedroom suite and bath are located off a short hallway with the utility room nearby. Two additional bedrooms, a bathroom and loft for use as an office or play area occupy the second floor.
Narrow in Size, Big on Charm
Building a narrow lot home does not mean homeowners have to forego personality or style. This cottage-style bungalow plan #30276 by Sullivan House Plans packs function and charm into 1,400 square feet of space. The home’s main floor features a casual family room, open kitchen and dining area and master bedroom suite and bathroom at the back of the home. A second floor is built into the roof for two bedrooms, and a bathroom.
A narrow lot home does not have to be two stories. Some homeowners prefer to have all of their living space on one level as in The House Plan Company’s ranch-style Covina #13922 house plan by Associated Designs, Inc. This design is a naturally bright one-story home with vaulted ceilings throughout the great room, kitchen and dining area and master bedroom suite. The main living area is located in the center of the floor plan with the master suite on one side and two additional bedrooms on the other for separation and privacy.