Anyone seen a plan with the front entry on a short side?

nicinusJanuary 16, 2012

Dear all,

We're looking at potentially buying a house in bad shape, but in a nice location with a nice lot close to relatives etc. It only really has one disadvantage, which is that the backyard backs up towards a quite busy street. Definitely not a highway, more of a minor artery road with a school on it so quite busy during some hours. Given the state of the existing house this would mean new construction, and one of the ideas is to orient the house differently. Even though the house may have corners or a small L-shape, it would effectively mean it would it would have a short side on its front, and the length of the house would have one side as garden. There would then be hedging etc against neighbors.

My question is if anyone has seen any attractive house plans where the house is deeper than wide that doesn't look odd, or would this be a bad idea? We have searched a ton of house plan sites but only come up with a handful, none of them to our taste. For this to work out the house would need to be around 40' wide and perhaps 80' deep. We're also thinking resale value, as both me and my wife are open to interesting work opportunities should they arise.

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Yes, think bungalow style. Many older homes have lots that are deeper than they are wide, so that means a narrow facade, often with a porch or half porch. Maybe only two rooms wide, but three to four rooms deep. Usually the living room, dining room, kitchen, maybe utility/porch on one side and a bedroom, bathroom, bedroom (maybe 2 more) on the other side.

This can be a very charming look! In fact, my mom recently downsized into a very cute, smaller manufactured home. She put the entry on one 'end' because she didn't like the long/trailer look so many of the houses have. Instead, she's got two big, sunny windows on one side and a covered porch on the other. Each is about 13' wide, so the house is about 26' wide, but about 48' deep. She loves it and although it's not exactly what you're talking about...I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I posted a picture. Let me know, if you'd like to see it :)

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Two immediately come to mind - Moser Design Group and Allison Ramsey architects. Also try a google searh for new urban design.

Here is a link that might be useful: Allison Ramsey

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 5:30PM
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Thank you so much for your responses.

My apologies but I should of course have been a little more specific on the style we're looking for. We're in the mid California inland, and most of the houses in the neighborhood is French or Spanish inspired, and we ourselves really like what people seem to call French Country although without round towers and other things that makes them stand out to much. We use to live on the East coast in a colonial so this time we're looking forward to something a little different, probably stucco based, instead of wood and porches.

I've enclosed a link of a house that is of interest although we're not after the palatial feel at all, with stone columns etc.

Thanks in advance, I realize it is hard to know what someone else is looking for but all ideas really help, we're trying to think out of the box I guess.

Here is a link that might be useful: House plan

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 6:42PM
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Lordnelson, try Googling "French country house plans for narrow lots" and you'll get many websites.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 6:57PM
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Someone posted this on another thread. I think these are all custom homes but several have a simple, French country, look. They are inspired by A Hays Town, and really capture the feel of his work I think.

Here is a link that might be useful: A L Jones architect

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 8:15AM
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If you plan to tear down an existing house and build a new one, the place to start is with the site plan and the zoning restrictions, if any (front, side & rear setbacks; floor area ratio maximum; open area minimum, frontage, height, etc.)

If the zoning and lot configuration are restrictive, you would be better off designing a custom house rather than trying to find a house on the internet.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 8:48AM
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Designing a narrow house placed to one side of a lot is an exercise in problem solving. The best approach to group problem solving is to first define your needs and wishes and the site restrictions in detail and also describe what ideas have already been rejected and why. You've made a good start but you haven't said much about your needs or the site restrictions, for instance, it is not clear why there is a street on the backyard side of the lot. Could a garage be accessed from the front as well as the back of the lot?

All I can tell you for sure is that finding an appropriate house design on the internet, although not impossible, would be difficult and time consuming and would inevitably require modifications.

I recommend posting the site plan, any restrictions, and your program and see if anyone can suggest a schematic solution and then either find a similar plan on the internet or give it to a designer to draw up. The latter would save a lot of headaches. You shouldn't worry about the architectural style of the house until you have found a good schematic design.

It is important to start at the beginning of the design process by solving the technical issues before tackling the appearance issues.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 12:11PM
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Thanks Renovator8! I don't have a plan so I will have to draw up something, but basically it's a 100' wide and almost 200' deep lot on a small street that is parallel to a busier street on the back side. Most of the neighbors have separate garages, and some have chosen to have them in the back with access from the busy street. Most houses have 30-40' free on the front, a 70-80' wide house and then their back yard between the house and the busier street. We're basically in a cul-de-sac so I think we could get away with a different orientation, as the other houses in the cul-de-sac are somewhat angled.

I understand what you say about the architectural style, but I don't think there is an issue in creating a program that works for the site, it is more a question if it will look odd. Most narror lot plans I've found have a house that looks small and typical for the width, but is extended backwards, whereas I'm thinking more of a traditional somewhat larger house that has the entry one the side.

I'm not so much looking for an actual plan as I'm wondering if any has seen a larger style house with a short side entrance that doesn't look odd. I don't think it would be good for resale if most houses on the street seems to be a certain size and then ours is suddenly half that. At the same time there must be other houses in the same situation that wants to use the sun orientation or views, etc.

After searching on the advice above I found this one, which is close to what we're looking for I think.

Here is a link that might be useful: Narrow house front

    Bookmark   January 19, 2012 at 7:42PM
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New Orleans homes...french inspired and most are narrow because most lot sizes are around 40-60 feet wide. We're building on a 50 foot wide lot right now. Most architecture here is narrow. The misconception is that all N.O. homes are "shotgun" style and they aren't.

You can search here and see a thread where Summerfield gave some feedback on our initial plan.

Our front elevation has double porches, railings, large windows on top and bottom. We can't wait!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 12:06AM
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There are many ways to place a house on a lot of this size but without a drawing of the lot including the zoning setbacks and street access and a description of the yard spaces you wish to create, I wouldn't know where to begin.

Like your namesake, you would be more successful if you approached the problem directly and at close range rather than surfing the net looking for a ready-made solution.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 8:42AM
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I have exactly that kind of house. Ours is a Charleston-style house whose short side & entrance face the street & which has porches on the long side, which is the "front" of the house. We love it. But it's not the style you're looking for.

I found the house below, which is more what you're looking for. I especially like the way the garage is laid out in this house plan -- it is in the front of the house but doesn't face the street directly.

Here is a link that might be useful: Long, narrow french country house

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 4:35PM
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Thanks Ashef, this was exactly the kind of inspiration I was looking for! I love how the house you linked to has a sense of arrival, but still has the door on the long side. I hadn't thought of that approach so that was certainly very helpful.

Renovator8, I'm not looking for a ready-made solution, just inspiration and examples of houses that have the short side against the street.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 11:21AM
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I understand your approach, it is a common one here at the GardenWeb and the French Inspired house offers an interesting plan but after solving these kinds of design problems for a living for 40 years I believe you will eventually have to draw the site with the restrictions and opportunities noted in order to use the considerable resources of this forum to help you find the best solution. You've turned down my offer to help twice so I'll let it go.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 12:21PM
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I forgot to mention that the French Inspired plan puts the public access entrance where you said you wanted a private side yard. When you recognize that the site problem is unlikely to be solved just by a narrow house plan I recommend hiring an architect since they are generally pretty good at solving complex design problems.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 1:16PM
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Reovateor8, please don't get offended, I certainly haven't turned down any offer of help! I don't have written access to all the info you requested yet, but from talking to a neighbor the setback is 50' front and back and the lot is 180' deep, it is 120' wide with 30' side setbacks. A separate garage is allowed to be 10' set back and many have them in the back. My neighbor told me that when he looked into this a couple of years ago his max size would have been 5,500sqf at two stories not higher than 34'. Lot is directed E-W, so for example having a driveway on the North side, and then the garden on the South side seems ideal, which is what we're hoping to accomplish.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 7:53PM
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I am new here, but I will jump right in and say we are in the early stages of designing an L-shaped house very similar to the dimensions you describe. We have a tiny lot (55'X140) and plan to have a 2 story section over the front of the house, but only 1 story along the length.

Our original inspiration was Michaela Mahady's Urban Bungalow ( ). The outside of that house is gorgeous, but the concept is what attracts us the most. We have about 36 feet of building width to work with and expect to have about 80 feed of depth with a garage attached at the back. We will be completely revising the interior layout because we want a first floor master and a larger living area. We haven't started working with an architect yet, but we are confident that the L will work the best on our lot.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 10:05PM
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I agree with DelawareMama. Two things immediately come to mind - Moser Design Group and Allison Ramsey architects. Also, try a google search for new urban design.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2012 at 11:39PM
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    Bookmark   February 7, 2012 at 9:36AM
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This one is the wrong style, but may help generate ideas

Here is a link that might be useful: Contemporary house

    Bookmark   March 15, 2012 at 3:57PM
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LilFlowers MJLN

These plans are available here in Louisiana especially the New Orleans plans. There are some that are called Shotgun houses but as a previous poster stated they're not all like that. Check out patio home plans as well. At least that's what they call zero lot narrow lot house plans in Lafayette. Search for zero lot

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 12:34PM
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