Twenty-five years ago, a group of Orange County, Calif., BIA members launched a program to help address the problem of homelessness in their midst.
Townhouse With a Twist
One of the knocks against townhouse design is the predictability of most floor plans.
|The primary benefit of the Miller and Smith innovation is dramatically different room sizes and shapes. There is also a dramatic increase in natural light.|
One of the knocks against townhouse design is the predictability of most floor plans. This was not lost on McLean, Va.-based Miller and Smith as it contemplated a 116-unit project in the growing high-tech corridor of Loudon County, Va. The firm and its architect, Randy Creaser of Creaser/O’Brien Architects, found that by turning the rear portions of each unit 27 degrees, important benefits followed:
- A net gain in natural light because each rear had three walls for windows.
- A huge increase in drama and visual interest in those spaces.
- Most interesting, a swath of these rear rooms is 25 feet wide even though the lot size is only 22 feet.
|Miller and Smith broke the mold of townhouse design by incorporating a 27-degree turn into the rear of its units at the Broadlands.|
“That is the magic,” says Miller and Smith marketing vice president Rhonda Ellisor, who built a whole campaign around the innovation. The model names are Merlin, Houdini I and Houdini II.
Sales of the product at the Broadlands community have averaged four per month since opening in January despite substantial price increases. Large units that once sold for $249,000 are moving at $290,000. Ellisor points out that early planning was crucial because the zigzagged lot lines required special approvals.