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All about narrow house designs


The market price of buying residential land in India in the urban areas lies somewhere between Rs. 14 million to Rs. 306 million per acre. In such cases, a high-rise construction with a smaller land area becomes an optimal choice.

What are Narrow House Designs?

Narrow house designs are planned by professional architects. A perfect combination of stability, performance and comfort, narrow house designs originated in Japan around the 13th century. Back then, they were used to make an aesthetic statement. 

Narrow house designs, as a concept, have made a comeback for a completely different reason, though. They have returned to modern architecture to combat the ever-growing population densities, in rural and urban areas alike. Expensive residential properties are also one of the reasons behind the popularity of narrow house designs. 

How to build a narrow house?

At first glance, there might not be anything that attracts you to a narrow house. The possibilities of turning a narrow house around are limited, and the idea of privacy is non-existent. But narrow house designs provide plenty of opportunities for you to be creative. There are a couple of things that you can rely on to turn your narrow house design into an enviable one:

Utilise your vertical space

Narrow house designs don’t offer you a lot of horizontal space. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot explore the vertical area. Add as many levels to your narrow house design as you can. It will add space to your house and also give the exterior a visually bigger look. 

However, adding levels to your narrow house requires permission from your local authorities. Even if you’re starting a project from scratch, you are going to need permits for a lot of things, one of them being the number of levels you’re allowed to build. You would also need location permits.

Consider weather conditions

Building a tall narrow house design might come with lower expenses but, you might have to compensate for its maintenance. Since most narrow house designs would be taller than average houses, they are more susceptible to wear and tear by weather conditions. In such cases, it becomes necessary to protect the house. 

You can start by using laminate paint covers over your narrow house design. You can also have a gable roof with large extending eaves so that rain doesn’t affect the exterior that much. Having said that, a narrow house design also provides a fantastic opportunity for building a terrace garden. It’s best if you choose to build your narrow house design in an area where the weather conditions are not extreme.

Make sure you have privacy and security

You can build narrow houses in places that are sparsely populated, but that way, you’re risking your security. In such cases, try and install elaborate security systems with video panelling. Fortify your house and build robust gating systems.

If you build your narrow house design in densely populated areas, you are giving up your privacy. In that case, many houses would be squished together, and chances are, your narrow lot would be standing between two ordinary beefy houses. To hold onto your privacy, try and place your windows, balconies, and gates strategically.

Use ceilings to your advantage

High ceilings are the new fad when it comes to interior design and, rightfully so. High ceilings provide space for using different kinds of ceiling lights (such as wolf sconces, pendant lights, flush-mount ceiling fixtures) to make a chic interior. Try adding high ceilings to your narrow house design. 

Vertical micro-spaces offer you the advantage of climbing to the sky, very literally. Even if the number of floors is restricted, you can try for higher ceilings. These ceilings never fail as a spectacular interior choice since they’re highly modern and add dimension to your room, making it appear larger. Try using glass windows and railings for your windows and balconies, respectively. Having a modern aesthetic will maximise your exterior, also giving an illusion of a larger space.

Some famous narrow house designs

Narrow house designs aren’t a new trend. They have existed in the modern world for a long time. It is why we also have exemplary narrow house designs existing in the world. These designs have made the best out of the space available and can serve as a source of inspiration and ideas for anybody who wants to build a decent narrow house. Let’s look at some of them. 

SkinnyScar

SkinnyScar is a narrow house design in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, that has made the most of its space and also added some very innovative ideas. Built onto an area that is 3.4 meters wide and 20 metres deep, it was built by an architect couple. 

It is a three-storeyed design and has hidden windows, windows that aren’t visible from the outside unless the rooms inside are lit up. They have built large openings in the front and rear of the house. This has been made possible by making modifications to the interior so that they could construct loftier spaces without compromising the integrity of the narrow house design. 

They have also managed to include multiple rooms, a spacious living room that receives a lot of sunlight most times of the day, a bathroom, a kitchen, and even a space for their bookshelves that doubles as a mini-library. 

Keret House

Keret House is a spectacular narrow house design in the way of its space utilisation. It is the brainchild of a Polish architect named Jakub Szczesny’s. It is located in Warsaw, and its width ranges from 122 centimetres to 72 centimetres. It has a kitchen and a bathroom unit on the first floor. 

House 304

It is a narrow house design developed by architect Kientruc O for a family in Vietnam. It is just 3.5 metres wide and, yet its design is spectacular. It is an atrium, which means that it has an open roof. It is a four-storeyed complex and is squeezed between residential complexes on either side. This is why an atrium was introduced to the space; so that the residents have access to maximum ventilation and sunlight.

The Shaft House

Located in Toronto, Canada, this narrow house design is popular because of its sheer simplicity. It is built on a twenty-foot-wide plot, is bright and possesses a clean, modern design. It is surrounded by various residential complexes.

La Casa Estrecha

This narrow house design is a bit of a mystery because neither historians nor locals can identify when this house was built. It is a two-storey building and is built on a plot that is just 1.5 metres wide. It has recently been converted into an art gallery and museum.

The White Snake

For this narrow house design, the architects had the idea of creating a vertical loft. The entire square footage of this narrow house design is 5000 sqft It has a generous staircase that connects the five storeys in this house. This narrow house has an entry hall, kitchen, multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and study spaces. 

How to decorate your narrow house?

Narrow house designs can become your dream home if you keep a few things in mind. 

  • Usually, narrow houses are built in congested areas, surrounded by buildings and other such complexes. It blocks a lot of ventilation and lighting into the house. Make sure that you have enough windows and spaces to allow ventilation and sunlight. If windows aren’t a feasible option, try and build an open roof.
  • Minimalism is the key to an interior design in a narrow house design. Declutter your vertical loft to create more space for mobility. One step towards that is reducing furniture.
  • With vertical houses, you are going to be left with a couple of odd spaces. Don’t be afraid to utilise them. Use these spaces to build bookshelves, a small workstation, a study space- anything that the space can allow you to do with it. Be creative and enjoy the most out of the space you have built. 
  • Do not forget to experiment with your exterior spaces, such as your balcony. Introduce vines, plants, and hanging baskets to complete your house design. You could even build a small bench that can be used for storage. 

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