Owning your own Townhouse can be a wonderful experience. It can also turn into a nightmare if you have the attitude that it will take care of itself. Knowing the trouble signs can save you from that frustration, help secure your greatest investment and give you the pleasure of living that you deserve.
This project we’re working on is large enough to break into two articles, the first dealing with the parking facilities. When designing for a large multi-story apartment building, one must provide for parking. There is an option of using off-site parking but essentially one needs to own the property and that property must be within a reasonable distance to your building. That said, like on this project, the parking must be incorporated into the basement space.
This is where good architects stand out in my opinion, in that if the structure is right, and aligns with the apartment units above, there is a substantial savings in the avoidance of transfer beams. This is our approach to help lessen the financial burden of providing a parking garage yet do so in a way that doesn’t negatively impact the apartment units on the upper floors, or the retail space.
We’re putting the final touches on a 40 unit residential project in Brooklyn. It is pretty special in that the project keeps part of an old theater facade and uses it to announce the retail component of the project, through awnings and little local vendors which can casually set up their wares below the awnings. The extra traffic and attention will be a boost for the anchor tenant who has a commanding view of this important residential corner.
This project is split into 3 articles, released the 8th of September, the 10th and the 12th.
Come on in and we’ll show you around…
There are many advantages for a townhouse owner to occupy a lower duplex, or perhaps it is the top floor duplex they should seek, and while a very strong case can be made to put the owner of a townhouse on the lower floors, there are solid arguments for occupying the top two floors. I, architect Nick Buccalo, will examine both possibilities and invite your comments on the issue.
SHARED APARTMENT LIVING
This layout option is for the Homeowner, who may not be willing to invest in our ultimate walkup shared living layout which has initial higher upfront costs with a higher return over a longer period of time making it more appropriate for the developer. This version is more of a straight forward apartment with shared bathroom, kitchen and living rooms with more modest sized suites, the ultimate version to be released soon has individual suites with their own bathrooms and only a shared kitchen, the living areas are within each suite.
The design challenge is to maximize the square footage within a typical 20’x45′ townhouse footprint while minimizing the lost space in public areas. Sounds simple? Haha, yeah sure. To do so one needs to examine all the pieces to ensure they themselves are efficient, and then arrange those pieces in such a way to avoid wasted space and improve sizes of rooms based on their hierarchical importance.
So we want to minimize the public spaces, the hallways and push that area savings into the main rooms of the apartment. At the same time we want to maximize the number of bedrooms, keep all plumbing and vent stacks in one area to minimize cost of construction, and keep everything nice and easy to build with simply arranged partitions, so the cost stays reasonable, and the time it takes to finish is quick. Clean layouts means less confusion for contractors, thus avoiding mistakes.
Can we at SimpleTwig Architecture.llc do it? We think we have and would like to present a clean, highly efficient apartment layout ready for most townhouses in New York City, Chicago and other urban areas, allowing the Home Owner to maximize their rent roll while providing their tenants with homes they will look forward to living in.
This is a very cut and dry analysis of four different stair configurations that could help generate an additional $54,000 in rental income from a 4 story townhouse type structure just by reconfiguring the stair, touched on in a previous article (which we would recommend reading). The first option is the traditional townhouse stair, found in most townhouses in New York City. Often this stair offers stunning architectural detail and should be preserved, but more often than not the original stair has been replaced with a metal stair, due to sagging or some other issue. Sadly the replacements lack character and often do not fix the underlying issue to why they were sagging and are themselves sagging, causing stress fractures in party-walls at each end of the stair.
The advantages of replacing the stair are simple, it frees up square footage that can be used inside an apartment. The following compares three different stairs, the traditional, the compact and the ‘extended landing’, and a new comer, the squarish stair which is the best option (< spoiler alert). It is noted as ‘Stair 8’ which reflects the number of versions we’ve studied to get to that point. This ‘best option 8’ is shown in the article ‘The Ultimate Townhouse Floor Plan’ released August 28, 2017, so take a look at that one as well.
With several hundred vacant buildings in Newburgh, NY owned by the city, the city needs to take drastic action to stop the decay and reverse the momentum immediately.
While the excuses of lost jobs, crime and the effects of urban renewal can be reflected upon, the lack of motivated intelligent and experienced direction is at the heart of the city’s failures. I too hear the voices of ‘oh I hope someone renovates this majestic structure one day’ and while everyone can share this sentiment it just isn’t enough to affect actual change, for if the city does not drastically modify its approach and attitude all those structures which hold so much potential will eventually need to be torn down, leaving more ‘urban renewal’ effects dotted throughout the city and thus further contributing to the decline of the city. The dam has broken and the water is all but gone. First step, repair and strengthen the dam in a way that is more self-maintaining, in order to prevent decay or a breach in the future… so the water may once again fill in the cavity.
The following are the five most important things the city can do to begin to stop the negative momentum and change people’s perception of the city as one of opportunity.
An important issue for many cities dealing with circumstances initiated by others in the past, like a blighted looking city filled with parking lot scars, etc. From my experience I’ve witnessed many cities do the wrong thing in order to encourage development. The point of this post is, if you do something, it could have a negative impact on your city, so make sure you do the right thing. Continue reading “Helping Cities Grow: What to do.”