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This article first appeared in the PB October 2014 issue of Pro Builder.

Traditional Neighborhood Design (TND) creates compact, pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods that offer a variety of housing types within walking distance of commercial and civic activity. Homes with porches located close to front public sidewalks allow neighbors to interact, while narrow streets tend to slow auto traffic and place more emphasis on pedestrians. As the popularity of developments created with these people-friendly features grow, the demand for thoughtfully designed homes on narrow lots with functional front porches also increases. Keep in mind that the relationship of the homes to both the front street and the rear lane are extremely critical. Too much or too little space between the garage and alley can create parking problems, while the relationship of the front porch to the pedestrian sidewalk is equally important. Although each TND will present specific challenges and opportunities, the following designs offer the typical rear garage/automobile locations, along with a couple of thoughtful solutions with front garage placements.

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The Traditionalist

Richard C. Handlen, AIA, LEED AP
EDI International Inc.
Plan Size
Original plan: 55 feet by 52 feet
New plan: 68 feet by 52 feet
The custom clients fell in love with the dramatic first floor of this production home. The entry hall cuts through the house and out to the rear yard. It crosses the axis of the two-story stair hall and volume living room.
The problem was the exterior. The house had what could be called a farmhouse look. The goal was for the new house to fit into a more traditional neighborhood and to downplay the three-car garage.
New plan:
The new lot is 13 feet wider than the production lot. The solution was for the garage and dining rooms to flip places, taking advantage of the additional land. This allowed for a traditional symmetrical house with the garage set back and attached to the side. The second story was pulled over to sit squarely on the house while keeping the central volume spaces. The only other change to the first floor was the addition of a guest suite behind the garage.
A. Garage
B. Dining room
C. Guest suite
D. Den
E. Two-story living room
F. Two-story stair hall
G. Family room
H. Entry hall cutting through house


The Glendale

GMD Design Group
Scott Gardner, AIA
Donnie McGrath
Plan Size
Living area: 2,925 sf
Width: 43 feet
Depth: 73 feet
GMD Design Group worked with HHHunt Homes’ Raleigh, N.C. division to create innovative TND homes that are front-loaded and do not require alleys. By using a set-back garage this home can be part of a classic TND streetscape and still provide a great rear-yard outdoor space for homeowners. Many buyers prefer a conventional rear yard that does not have a driveway or an alley behind the home. This configuration provides the best of both worlds by preserving the rear yard. In addition, the driveway can be a recreation area for children, and their activities can be supervised from the kitchen windows.
A. Full front porch with access from both first and second floors
B. Foyer with rooms on either side and natural light from multiple sources
C. Central stair with volume above provides a transition from the formal and informal spaces in the home.
D. Butler’s pantry and pantry with natural light
E. Driveway also provides secure outdoor recreation area.
F. Kitchen, breakfast, and family room all open as one large space with natural light from three different exposures.
G. Mudroom with drop zone to connect garage to home
H. Oversized garage
I. Covered or screened porch with views of rear yard
J. Expansive rear yard without alleys or driveways
K. Second floor porch
L. Bonus room, convenient location near the top of the stairs
M. Open U-shaped stair with natural light
N. Laundry room centrally located, near stairs
O. Master bedroom located at the rear of the home with views to the front and rear
P. Master closets accessed from hallway rather than through master bath are preferred by many buyers in this market.


Plan 56586

Larry Garnett, FAIBD
Plan Size
Living area: 2,200 sf
Width: 54 feet, 10 inches
Depth: 59 feet, 6 inches
This home is located on a 65-foot-by-110-foot lot in a TND that is a short walk to the town square with restaurants and shops. The front porch, set back 15 feet from the narrow street, is slightly elevated with a brick walk that leads to the sidewalk. Typical in most TNDs, the garage is located along a rear lane. An additional parking space is paved with decomposed granite. While the 8-foot-deep front porch allows for interaction with neighbors, the private courtyard and rear porch offer a secluded outdoor living space. Since this market attracts a large number of Baby Boomers, the owner’s suite is located on the main floor.
A. 8-foot-deep elevated front porch
B. Private courtyard
C. 2-car garage along rear lane
D. Additional decomposed granite parking space
E. Staircase is located in an area that can be used as a study or a music (piano) room.
F. Second floor has two bedrooms and a loft.


Cinnamon Shore

Chad Cooper
New Urban Guild
Plan Size
Living area: 1,553 sf
Width: 26 feet
Depth: 41 feet, 10.5 inches
Living area: 1,650 sf
Width: 26 feet
Depth: 47 feet, 9 inches
Both of these side-yard residences are being constructed by builder Connor Coastal Homes for Cinnamon Shore, on the southern Texas Gulf Coast. The houses feature different ways to experience the outside and live inside by offering desirable spaces like courtyards, bunk rooms, open plans, and porch living. They’re also very desirable with respect to square-footage costs.
PLAN A locates the master bedroom and secondary bedroom upstairs, each with its own bathroom. The bunk room includes two bunk alcoves, for a total of four beds, perfect for accommodating children or guests. Bunk rooms are great space savers, and when alcoved and properly trimmed out, have a ton of character.
PLAN B flips the typical two-story house arrangement upside-down, placing the public spaces upstairs, and all of the bedrooms spaces downstairs. This type of plan is great for taking advantage of scenic views from the living, dining, and kitchen spaces where we entertain and spend most of our time inside the house.



Todd Hallett, AIA, CAPS
TK Design and Associates
Plan Size
Main floor: 1,396 sf
Second floor: 1,578 sf
Width: 42 feet
Depth: 77 feet, 4 inches
Think “Leave it to Beaver.” Homes designed for traditional neighborhoods should have the following characteristics:
Design that encourages a sense of community
Designed to minimize the impact of the automobile
A sense of historical correctness to the massing and fenestration
Historically correct detailing
To encourage a sense of community, many TND-styled homes will have large porches. This outdoor space (which is typically near the sidewalk) allows homeowners to give a shout out to their neighbors as they pass by. TND neighborhoods encourage pedestrian activity and, as a result, the need for an automobile is diminished. Typically the garage will either be entered from the rear of the home through a carriage lane or minimally set back from the front facade. TND-styled homes also place emphasis on historical architectural correctness relating to the detailing, fenestration, and massing of the home. The Sage is a home designed for a TND community.
A. Kitchen: Large island with no sink acts as a serving area and has enough seating for five.
B. Kitchen: The kitchen is wide open to the great room and dining area. This is the perfect setup for entertaining guests and casual family living.
C. Den: The study has access to a full bath that allows the space to flex and become a bedroom in the event of a guest visiting the home.
D. Family entrance: Generous space that’s designed for a growing family. Lockers help to keep the space free of clutter.
E. Patio: Integrated outdoor living blends the interior and exterior.
F. Porch: Designed for a corner lot. The massive covered porch creates additional outdoor rooms and a panoramic view.
G. Built-ins: Low built-ins adjacent to the fireplace create a custom look.
H. Bonus: A bonus space adjacent to the owner’s suite is an imaginative space that opens up a lot of interesting possibilities; it can be used as an exercise room, storage room, private study, or home theater space. The opportunities are numerous. PB
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