Living on the west coast, I don’t see too many row houses. Sure, there are some in San Francisco (the famous “Painted Ladies”), but that’s about the extent of row house architecture in my neck of the woods. Yet, I’m often curious about row house architecture and their floor plans that sometimes make the most out of a tight place. Not all row house floor plans are equal!

According to Wikipedia, row houses (also called terrace houses, brownstones, duplexes, or townhouses) emerged out of a high need for living space in densely populated cities in the 16th century. Most commonly found in east coast cities in the US – Boston, New York, Philadelphia, row houses have a varied past from sordid housing structures in run-down neighborhoods to revitalized homes in urban areas.

Whichever term you prefer, row houses are architecturally unique. Browsing Houzz, I found some gorgeous row house photos – both interior and exterior shots. These are obviously the creme-de-la-creme of row homes:

Row house backyard
Beautiful Living room of a Georgian row house.

A common complaint with row houses are the floor plans. Often narrow with windows only in the front and back of the home, too many rooms in a small row house can make the home appear dark and claustrophobic. Depending on your budget, you can hire an architect to tear down walls and restructure the floor plan, or use color and furniture placement to minimize a cramped feeling. If sky’s the limit on your budget, doing both might be the way to go.

If you’re not sure it can be done, here’s the proof: a dilapidated row house turned stunner with the help of architects Adams & Duke. It’s a very impressive turn-around. The boarded up windows, collapsing roof, and sagging overhang would have sent me running.

Photo from Curbly.
The after…

The architects worked their magic and used lots of white and cream in their color palette to give the illusion of more space.

Next time I’m in a city with row houses, I might have to look into tours. Until then, I’ll have to indulge online.

Do you live in a row house? Send me photos if you do. I’m an architecture addict!


  1. krantcents Reply

    I think they are beautiful, but expensive to maintain. I would love a Victorian like the painted ladies. A good solution is “new” old ! New construction , but the old look.

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