Floor plan for a terraced house (part one)

Posted on 05 April 2009 2 comments

August 2013 update: I wrote this post back in 2009 and I think today I would design a terraced house very differently. As you study the floor plans below, do so with a critical eye!

I’ve been trying to design a layout for a terraced house and it’s been difficult. I wanted the ground floor of the terraced property to have a toilet and separate utility room. I would only settle for a design where both these rooms had their own window. Without a window, they would both require some form of mechanical ventilation. I wanted to keep the utility room separate from the kitchen if possible and for it to be large enough to hang clothes inside on cold or damp days. Ideally, the utility room needed to be next to the garden. I also wanted the hallway to have some natural light and for a combined kitchen/dining area (but not a combined kitchen/dining/living room).

Another important requirement was to design as much as possible for privacy. This meant, for example, that where the back of the terraced house meets the garden, there is some sense of enclosure or distance from the immediate neighbours – but not in a rude or unfriendly manner.

Here’s a first stab at trying to meet these requirements. I have not completely succeeded in creating a terraced design. It is a partially terraced design – you could say it’s half-way between a semi-detached and a terraced house.

Click the image below for a full-size view.

Ground floor plan for a terraced house

There is a narrow outside space at the side of the house (an alley) where bikes could be stored. The door to enter the alley would of course be lockable. The alley also allows a window to be placed at the side of the house letting more light enter the hallway (and overlooking the alley for security). The alley also allows the toilet to have its own window. A brick wall separates the alley from the neighbour.

Under the stairs would be some storage space for a vacuum cleaner.

I liked the idea of an old-fashioned larder for storing food: a more energy-efficient way of storing some types of foods that might instead be put in the fridge.

These are the dimensions for the ground floor of the terraced property.

  • Living room: 500 cm x 415 cm
  • Kitchen/dining room (excluding larder): 415 cm x 415 cm
  • Hallway width (wide): 170cm
  • Hallway width (narrow): 80 cm
  • Stairs (width): 90 cm
  • Toilet: 125 cm x 135 cm
  • Utility room: 135cm x 300cm
  • Larder: 100 cm x 140 cm

The rooms are generously proportioned (certainly more than new builds today), but they are not palatial or extravagant in size. Overall, this is not an inspired design, but it is a usable and practical one. Below is what the house would look like side-by-side with other houses. Click the image for a larger view.

pattern of terraced homes side-by-side

I am still working on the layout for the first floor of the terraced house and will post that separately.

Here is an another design that I discarded. This is a proper terraced house (no side alleys here). Click the image for a larger view.

alternative terraced floor plan

The main problem with this design is the potential lack of privacy. The way the kitchen extends into the garden means it can be illuminated with plenty of natural light even if the back of the house faces north. Skylights or roof windows could introduce even more natural light. However, neighbouring properties looking down from their first floor would probably be able to see into the kitchen. For this design to work, it would need to be modelled properly on computer so all the various sight-lines could be carefully studied.

Conversations and noise can travel surprisingly loudly over short distances. The placement of patio doors in the kitchen that lead into the garden would also need to be carefully considered in relation to the direction in which noise might travel and the distance from the neighbouring gardens.

Thoughts on these or any terraced house designs are very welcome.



26 August 2009 12:40 GMT

The bike space seems too narrow. If there are 2 or 3 bikes in there, can the user of the bike stored at the far end get it out, passed the other 2?

The larder uses wall space in the garden side. I would put it on the “top left” of the kitchen where it can be kept cooler more easily, adn keep the back of the house straight, as it would also decrease construction cost. Not sure that U shape at the back increases privacy really.

Single Aspect

1 September 2009 18:17 GMT

Great website, some nice ideas, please remember that the larder was the forerunner of the refrigerator so would need to be north facing.

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