Guest Architect: Joseph Stein Centex Homes
Q: How can I maintain the integrity of my new-home elevations on narrow lots and still include an attached garage?
A: Due to rising land costs, many production home builders are being forced to develop houses on smaller lots than they have been accustomed to. Usually, this takes the form of narrow widths, which is the simplest way to achieve a higher density. This creates quite a test for the architect. Once the width of the house drops below about 48 feet, it is no longer possible to present the "normal" two-car garage, entry foyer, and living and dining areas to the street elevation. Architectural massing schemes and details, which serve to de-emphasize the garage on a wider house, can lead to discord on a narrow plan and actually make a house look narrower. So, the challenge is to integrate the garage (especially a two-car model) into the massing of the house while visually widening the elevation.
28-Foot-Wide Elevation: A simple gable roof, with the ridge line parallel to the front wall, tends to widen the appearance of the house.
36-Foot-Wide Elevation: Don't try to cram too many pieces onto the elevation; instead, opt for a few well-executed elements.
40-Foot-Wide Elevation: In the plan, it's best to keep some living spaces and second-floor bedrooms as far forward (relative to the garage) as possible. Within 6 feet of the front of the garage is best.