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Townhome Designs That Respond to the Needs of Today’s Homebuyer

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House Review

Townhome Designs That Respond to the Needs of Today’s Homebuyer


By Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD, House Review Lead Designer September 30, 2021
Townhomes exterior DTJ design
DTJ Design's Stasis townhomes addresses attainability with a compact footprint. | Photo: Eric Lucero

It’s always interesting to see just how resilient we can be. This time last year, some of us were seriously questioning the viability of attached housing. Fast forward a year and some areas of the country are experiencing a dramatic increase in attached product, such as townhomes.

Affordability certainly plays a role, as does location convenient to work. There’s the desire for low maintenance, for both seniors tired of house repairs and young professionals and parents with little time for mowing the yard or tackling home repairs.

Finally, during the pandemic year when many people worked from home, there was a new appreciation—or desperate longing—for fresh air, natural light, private outdoor spaces, and secluded work areas.

Our design team has responded with the latest townhome concepts, featuring light-filled rooms that rival spaces in detached home designs, along with private pools, secluded porches, and rooftop decks with amazing views. For some buyers, these thoughtful amenities far outweigh the benefits of owning a detached dwelling.


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Villas at the Ambassador Gardens, Plan 2

ARCHITECT: Adele Chang, AIA, LCRA Architecture & Planning, 626.449.9698

DIMENSIONS: Width: 30 feet, 8 inches; Depth: 43 feet; Living area: 3,124 sf

Photos: Guettler Photography

Located in Pasadena, Calif., the 18-unit Villas at Ambassador Gardens Townhomes are part of a 78-unit, seven-building, multifamily development planned by LCRA Architecture & Planning for ETCO Homes that also includes 60 stacked flats.

The project sits between two key historical buildings in distinctly different architectural styles, the Italian Renaissance Revival-style Merritt Mansion and the mid-century modern New Formalism-style Ambassador Auditorium.

LCRA designed each portion of the project to relate to its specific setting (A and B on site plan, below). The Villas take inspiration from the Merritt Mansion’s Italian Renaissance Revival architecture, with corbeled eaves, window details, and precast medallions and columns.

LCRA Villas at Ambassador townhomes, site planLCRA Villas at Ambassador townhomes, floor plansLCRA Villas at Ambassador townhomes, floor plans

C. Catering to affluent, local move-down buyers, the units afford many luxuries, including direct access by private elevator from the basement garages to private foyers

D. Private foyer

E. Upper-level terraces offer beautiful views

F. To work with existing site conditions, the townhomes step up to follow the site’s steep topography

LCRA Villas at Ambassador townhomes, exterior

 

LCRA Villas at Ambassador townhomes, exterior

 

G. Activating the street, the townhomes create a defined street edge with private walkways and/or individual stoops

H. Each unit’s elegant foyer opens onto a formal space such as a dining room

I. The third-floor media room is equipped with a wet bar convenient for entertaining

J. The media room’s French doors open onto a spacious upper terrace

LCRA Villas at Ambassador townhomes, entry foyer

 

LCRA Villas at Ambassador townhomes, living room

 

Stasis Townhomes

DESIGNER: Seth Hart, DTJ Design, [email protected], 303.443.7333

DIMENSIONS: Width: 25 feet; Depth: 38 feet; Living area: 1,752 sf

Photos: Eric Lucero

Townhomes have grown substantially in popularity, in part as a strategy to provide more attainable housing, as well as addressing a desire for walkability and lower-maintenance living.

This townhome, developed for Wonderland Homes, addresses attainability with a compact footprint that starts at 1,750 square feet for the base, two-bedroom plan. An optional bedroom on the ground floor offers broader market appeal.

DTJ Design Stasis Townhomes, floor plans

Outdoor living comes in the form of a massive roof deck that provides ample outdoor space without the hassle of maintaining a yard. Shopping, dining, and entertainment is just a block away in this urban location.

However, what really sets this townhome apart is the volume over the dining room, with large windows that flood the entire living level with light. This volume space is anchored by a bridge and open staircase that visually connect each floor of the home and serve as a focal point.

A. Volume above dining room creates drama throughout living level and maximizes natural light.

B. Open staircase and bridge between bedrooms create focal point within home

C. Large groupings of windows flood the home with natural light

DTJ Design Stasis Townhomes, dining area and windows

 

DTJ Design Stasis Townhomes, open stair

 

DTJ Design Stasis Townhomes, staircase

 

D. Spacious roof deck provides ample outdoor living with minimal maintenance

DTJ Design Stasis Townhomes, roof deck

 

Luxury Attached Single Family

DESIGNER: Donald F. Evans, AIA, The Evans Group, [email protected], 407.650.8770

DIMENSIONS: Width (unit): 24 feet, 8 inches; Depth (unit): 45 feet, 4 inches

The five-unit building envelope is 124 feet wide and 47 feet, 4 inches deep due to the 2-foot jog. The end unit projections (not included in the building width) measure 2 feet. The decks at the front and back project approximately 8 feet, 6 inches.

The back and front yards are 20 feet. Lot sizes are typically 24 feet, 8 inches by 75 feet; end units differ.

Living area: 2,972 to 3,079 square feet

These homes lack nothing that a 3,000-square-foot single-family home would have; they are simply in an attached configuration saving on land costs and typically having no lawn maintenance. The location for this particular design has views both from the front and the rear.

The first floor has a foyer entry, two-car garage, elevator, full bath, and an anything room, which can be used for anything the homeowner desires—shown here as a hangout space with a separate desk area, all overlooking the pool.

The second floor is the living level with balconies out the front and back of the home. This level has a gourmet kitchen, a laundry room, oversize pantry, half bath, and dining and living rooms.

The third floor is the sleeping level, with three bedrooms and two baths. The owner’s suite is complete with a separate sitting/office area, two closets, bath, and balcony.

The fourth floor consists of additional outdoor living with a view—the Starlite Deck!

Evans Group design for luxury single-family townhomes, ground floor planEvans Group design for luxury attached single-family townhomes, plansEvans Group design for luxury single-family townhomes, plans

A. Anything room with adjacent pool

B. Large gourmet kitchen/laundry room/oversize pantry

C. Dining and living room

D. Owner’s suite and adjacent sitting room, balcony, closets, and bath

E. Fourth-floor Starlite Deck

Evans Group design for luxury attached single-family townhomes, roof deck

 

 

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