Narrow Lot Home Plans, Tailored To Fit
Built to suit a neighborhood, a lot, and a family
Squeezing a spacious new home onto a slim lot is like dressing a king-size bed with a set of queen sheets. Eileen and Ron Bowerman of Des Moines decided to accept the geometric challenge--as long as their amenity-filled home could politely take its place in a 1920s neighborhood of bungalow plans, Tudor plans, and Colonial house plans.
Eileen and Ron were ready to trade in their large, 70-year-old house for one that better served their empty-nester lifestyle. An open, yet cozy, plan consolidating daily-use spaces on a single level would serve them well--but they didn't want to move to a suburban ranch. So the Bowermans found an infill lot near their old house and hired building designer Bruce Pierce to come up with a narrow houseplan. The new home measures about 3,000 square feet (about 2,000 on the main level, 1,000 in the finished basement) and makes the most of the deep, narrow lot. And it cost less than $100 a square foot.
Personal style was a design priority. Pierce tied Ron's favorite style, Arts and Crafts, into some of the woodwork and the windows. And for Eileen, a touch of French Country comes out in the ceramic tile floors and the colorful walls. "Maybe you could say this is a French bungalow," Ron says.
An unusual floor plan suits this eclectic style. Although spaces flow logically from the living room back to the master suite, several walls zigzag (see floor plan, page 237). "Painters and tile people called me the lady with all the angles," Eileen says. Angles break up the rectangular lines of the long, narrow house, permitting an open scheme that still feels intimate.
Eileen and Ron spend most of their time in the centrally located hearth room (left) and kitchen. Because the two rooms act as one--divided only by the kitchen island--it's here where the couple can watch the morning news over breakfast or enjoy a fire at dinnertime. The hearth room's built-in media center, which is made from the same style of maple-stained birch cabinets used in the kitchen, faces the island cook top and eating area.
Just beyond the hearth room is the sunroom, which is insulated and equipped with baseboard heating vents for year-round use. In the winter, Eileen moves her potted plants inside, where they bask in the southwestern sun. In the summer, Ron removes the window glass to turn the room into a breezy screen porch.
The home's most personal retreat is its sunny master suite. Part of the space's warmth comes from its relatively small size, which means little square footage goes to waste as drafty grandeur. Even the bath fits several amenities--a whirlpool tub, a roomy shower, and dual sinks--into a surprisingly compact footprint. But there's still enough space for Eileen and Ron to get ready for work in the morning without bumping elbows.
During summer weekends, the Bowermans like to spend mornings on the elevated back deck enjoying cups of coffee while reading the paper. Because this is where the lot slopes to its lowest point (the walk-out basement opens onto a patio just below the deck), the deck feels like a tree house. Only this time it's not for the kids--it's a special perch for mom and dad.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Meredith Corporation