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Old 11-25-2014, 11:49 PM
 
33,046 posts, read 22,067,502 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Not tenant, homeowner. HOMEOWNER.

I'm sorry, but I was a proud owner and resident of a rowhouse for seven years, and I get a bug up my butt about this. I would have upgraded to a bigger rowhouse if possible with my family, but all the "grand rowhouse" neighborhoods are too expensive in Pittsburgh for me to afford anything in now.

Regardless, you are right insofar that without imminent domain getting involved, even one homeowner not selling can stop the redevelopment of a block. But how is this any different from a detached single-family house neighborhood in Detroit? It's an issue of the homeowners not wanting to be forcibly displaced from their property, no matter how modest, not an issue of the structure itself.

Plus, if the market improves enough, you can see gaps of 1-3 houses fixed in very easily.

Not imminent, eminent. EMINENT.
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Old 11-26-2014, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Where my bills arrive
8,134 posts, read 9,573,267 times
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Reading all the posts it seems the primary complaint is that the older row/town homes are too small for todays living. I can see that but for their day they were a major step up. The example of the Chicago Bungalows seems moot, as a city it developed much later than most of the east coast cities. Looking at online maps it appears that the city proper has the same types of housing as other cities, the bungalows appear more as a suburb similar to the row house you would see in queens .

So as with any housing style there are its fans and detractors and to say they should go away is too broad. Let each market decide how it handles them same as it will with any other aspect of the city scape.
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,426 posts, read 11,933,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VA Yankee View Post
Reading all the posts it seems the primary complaint is that the older row/town homes are too small for todays living. I can see that but for their day they were a major step up. The example of the Chicago Bungalows seems moot, as a city it developed much later than most of the east coast cities. Looking at online maps it appears that the city proper has the same types of housing as other cities, the bungalows appear more as a suburb similar to the row house you would see in queens .

So as with any housing style there are its fans and detractors and to say they should go away is too broad. Let each market decide how it handles them same as it will with any other aspect of the city scape.
Saying "rowhouses are small" is a generalization. In my experience, they tend to vary in size. These are the common layouts, from biggest to smallest.

Two up/two down - The house is one room wide, two rooms deep, and has two stories. Usually the first floor has a living room, and a dining room/kitchen, while the second has two bedrooms. A bathroom is squeezed in somewhere odd on the first or second floor, given it was not original to the layout.

Two deep + attic - A third floor is added, which is usually an open space. The room can be somewhat small if it has a steep pitched roof and only one dormer window, or roomy with multiple dormer windows and/or a mansard roof.

Two deep + ell - A rear extension (ell, or dog leg) is placed on the property which results in one additional room. Typically this is where the plumbing was routed, meaning the rear room is a kitchen on the first floor, and a bathroom (sometimes with a dressing room attached) on the second floor.

Two deep + attic + ell - A combination of all of the above features, which results in a typical configuration of seven rooms - a living room, dining room, and kitchen on the first floor, two bedrooms + a bath on the second, and an attic on the third.

All of these configurations can come in different widths.

The narrowest houses are typically 12 feet in width. Due to the narrowness of these houses, they have no interior hallways, and the main stairwell runs from party wall to party wall. The good thing about this layout is there is little wasted circulation space. The bad thing is the rear bedroom lacks privacy. If there is a rear extension, you must go through it to get to the bathroom. You also must go through it to get to the attic. Thus few people would want to set them up as bedrooms in the modern era.

Rowhouses also come in wider standard widths, of course - typically 16 or 20 feet. This allows for a stairwell which travels along a party wall (typically aligned with the front door), along with a hallway which runs parallel to the main stairwell. The number of rooms typically does not increase, and the size of the rooms only barely increases, because the additional space is taken up mostly by circulation. However, with full hallways they avoid the second bedroom problem, and if they have high ceilings on third floor, they even have room for a fourth bedroom.

In my experience, all rowhouses are fine as apartment replacements for single people or couples. The absolute smallest have a square footage in the 600 range, but most of the smallest sort are more in the 700-800 sq ft range. The problem with rowhouses often comes with children. Unless you have a larger model, it will be hard to give your kids the sort of privacy they would like. And in many neighborhoods, the larger-size (1,500 sq ft+) rowhouses are rare and expensive.

Last edited by eschaton; 11-26-2014 at 09:30 AM..
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:15 AM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,763,081 times
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The row houses in Toronto are mostly not that small, typically 6-9 rooms (not including bathrooms) often with ells, often with a couple more rooms in the basement and often divided into 2 units. They're usually 14-18 ft wide.
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Old 11-26-2014, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,426 posts, read 11,933,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by memph View Post
The row houses in Toronto are mostly not that small, typically 6-9 rooms (not including bathrooms) often with ells, often with a couple more rooms in the basement and often divided into 2 units. They're usually 14-18 ft wide.
I'm not sure how you fit more than four rooms on a single floor in a rowhouse, without ending up with a room with no windows in the middle (as Nei mentioned), or having a "captive" room in the ell which you must travel through to reach the rear room (which is what I have seen more frequently).

That said, while the standard here is for the ell to not include the third floor, there's no reason why for flat roof or even some mansard rowhouses you could not get a usable room out of a third-floor ell, which would add more usable space.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Concrete Jungle
316 posts, read 486,441 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Saying "rowhouses are small" is a generalization. In my experience, they tend to vary in size. These are the common layouts, from biggest to smallest.

Two up/two down - The house is one room wide, two rooms deep, and has two stories. Usually the first floor has a living room, and a dining room/kitchen, while the second has two bedrooms. A bathroom is squeezed in somewhere odd on the first or second floor, given it was not original to the layout.

Two deep + attic - A third floor is added, which is usually an open space. The room can be somewhat small if it has a steep pitched roof and only one dormer window, or roomy with multiple dormer windows and/or a mansard roof.

Two deep + ell - A rear extension (ell, or dog leg) is placed on the property which results in one additional room. Typically this is where the plumbing was routed, meaning the rear room is a kitchen on the first floor, and a bathroom (sometimes with a dressing room attached) on the second floor.

Two deep + attic + ell - A combination of all of the above features, which results in a typical configuration of seven rooms - a living room, dining room, and kitchen on the first floor, two bedrooms + a bath on the second, and an attic on the third.

All of these configurations can come in different widths.

The narrowest houses are typically 12 feet in width. Due to the narrowness of these houses, they have no interior hallways, and the main stairwell runs from party wall to party wall. The good thing about this layout is there is little wasted circulation space. The bad thing is the rear bedroom lacks privacy. If there is a rear extension, you must go through it to get to the bathroom. You also must go through it to get to the attic. Thus few people would want to set them up as bedrooms in the modern era.

Rowhouses also come in wider standard widths, of course - typically 16 or 20 feet. This allows for a stairwell which travels along a party wall (typically aligned with the front door), along with a hallway which runs parallel to the main stairwell. The number of rooms typically does not increase, and the size of the rooms only barely increases, because the additional space is taken up mostly by circulation. However, with full hallways they avoid the second bedroom problem, and if they have high ceilings on third floor, they even have room for a fourth bedroom.

In my experience, all rowhouses are fine as apartment replacements for single people or couples. The absolute smallest have a square footage in the 600 range, but most of the smallest sort are more in the 700-800 sq ft range. The problem with rowhouses often comes with children. Unless you have a larger model, it will be hard to give your kids the sort of privacy they would like. And in many neighborhoods, the larger-size (1,500 sq ft+) rowhouses are rare and expensive.
Born and raised along with my siblings in a rowhome. And have owned two while raising my own kids. Nothing wrong with them and don't see them as a "problem". Never had an issue with privacy growing up. They have doors and walls, so........Your experience maybe limited with Pittsburg (dunno), but in Philly thy're not as expensive as you think. For instance, I purchased my first row for 57K in 1993...in a good neighborhood. And was over 1500 sq ft. Now since the boom, those rows go for double that, which is still inexpensive as compared to buying a new single home which could go for 3-4 times that. And finding one over 1500 sq ft is neither rare or expensive. At least in my city.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,426 posts, read 11,933,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AgelessStranger View Post
Born and raised along with my siblings in a rowhome. And have owned two while raising my own kids. Nothing wrong with them and don't see them as a "problem". Never had an issue with privacy growing up. They have doors and walls, so........Your experience maybe limited with Pittsburg (dunno), but in Philly thy're not as expensive as you think. For instance, I purchased my first row for 57K in 1993...in a good neighborhood. And was over 1500 sq ft. Now since the boom, those rows go for double that, which is still inexpensive as compared to buying a new single home which could go for 3-4 times that. And finding one over 1500 sq ft is neither rare or expensive. At least in my city.
In Pittsburgh you basically cannot buy a reasonably habitable three-bedroom, two-bath rowhouse for much under $300,000 any longer. Which sounds cheap by national standards, but by historic Pittsburgh standards is very expensive.

Of course, part of this is because Pittsburgh has so few rowhouse neighborhoods. There's only around a dozen in all. Many are already mostly gentrified, and the ones which aren't either tend to have mostly small/remuddled stock, are mostly rentals, or are (in one or two cases) still horrible ghettos.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:03 AM
 
Location: East Central Pennsylvania/ Chicago for 6yrs.
2,539 posts, read 2,466,165 times
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Well I live in central PA it isn't Row homes are smaller in number of rooms? Because most are 3 stories. But many were Very narrow with NO FRONT LAWNS. House right to the sidewalk.

Philly continued to build Row homes WELL INTO the 20th century on the small lots. Other cities chose larger city lot grids and far less Rows and gave front green space to homes even in the late 19th century.
For example..... Chicago did have the great fire of 1871. But even before and after the standard city lot was set at
25' x 125'. That is most lots in the city. So even late 1800s. Homes were single and double family cottages to greystones to bungalows. BUT BIG DIFFERENCE IS FRONT GREEN SPACE TOO. I think they did better then ROWS as their main choice and bigger standard lots.

I just sought to find a FEW SIMPLE examples of a
CHICAGO HOME BACK TO late 1800,s to its going all brick bungalow era 1920.
First 3 are in less desirable South-side neighborhoods and very cheap -$20.000 if in more desirable on can go for $200.000+
The last 3 would.

I chose VERY BASIC EXAMPLES some very cheap real estate today if in less desirable neighborhoods.
1900 cottage⤵............1903⤵............1885⤵......19 00?Greystone⤵....1920 bungalows

Last edited by steeps; 06-06-2015 at 08:59 AM..
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:09 AM
 
Location: Concrete Jungle
316 posts, read 486,441 times
Reputation: 948
Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
In Pittsburgh you basically cannot buy a reasonably habitable three-bedroom, two-bath rowhouse for much under $300,000 any longer. Which sounds cheap by national standards, but by historic Pittsburgh standards is very expensive.

Of course, part of this is because Pittsburgh has so few rowhouse neighborhoods. There's only around a dozen in all. Many are already mostly gentrified, and the ones which aren't either tend to have mostly small/remuddled stock, are mostly rentals, or are (in one or two cases) still horrible ghettos.
Ahh, I see. Did not know that about Pittsburgh. Kind of the opposite here. Most neighborhoods in Philly are rows or a mixture of rows and twins. I would bet most are homeowned here too, but during the boom, there was a lot of investors who bought up the rows/twins and turned them into rentals. Which became a problem for some neighborhoods since some landlords didn't care who they rented out to. The larger rows (1700-1800+ sq ft) are going for in and around 200K here. Some more, some less.
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:36 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,426 posts, read 11,933,106 times
Reputation: 10539
Quote:
Originally Posted by steeps View Post
Well I live in central PA it isn't Row homes are smaller in number of rooms? Because most are 3 stories. But many were Very narrow with NO FRONT LAWNS. House right to the sidewalk.

Philly continued to build Row homes WELL INTO the 20th century on the small lots. Other cities chose larger city lot grids and far less Rows and gave front green space to homes even in the late 19th century.
For example..... Chicago did have the great fire of 1871. But even before and after the standard city lot was set at
25' x 125'. That is most lots in the city. So even late 1800s. Homes were single and double family cottages to greystones to bungalows. BUT BIG DIFFERENCE IS FRONT GREEN SPACE TOO. I think they did better then ROWS as their main choice and bigger standard lots.
I know you have a campaign here against rowhouses, but I thought I'd mention that front lawns are not a universally desired thing.

As far as I'm concerned, front lawns are a waste of space. People don't grow vegetables in their front yard. They don't barbecue. Typically, their kids don't play there. They don't have a pool. Front lawns basically just exist to "look nice." And since they are in public view, unlike a backyard, you are basically forced to maintain your lawn to reasonable standards if you don't want your neighbors getting judgmental. Thus a front yard is all socially obligated work, and no fun. The space would be much more meaningful if transported to the rear of your property.

The best thing that can be said for front lawns is they provide some level of separation from the road. However, there are other ways around this. Rowhouses typically have at least modestly raised foundations compared to detached houses, with the main floor of the house anywhere from two feet to half a story above ground level - enough that people on the sidewalk won't peer into your front windows when walking by. And most rowhouse neighborhoods have streets which are narrow off the main drags, meaning there isn't much vehicular traffic that needs to be blocked out.

I was really happy that my new (detached) house in Pittsburgh was what is termed a "high side" house. Basically because although set back, it's on a small ridge. On one side of my steps I have a retaining wall and a wildflower garden, and on the other side I have a slope with ivy on it. So even though there is a setback, there is no front lawn to maintain.
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