Philadelphia’s iconic rowhomes, known for their affordability and convenience, present unique challenges and opportunities for remodeling. With their narrow design, these homes call for innovative solutions to enhance their function and comfort while preserving their historic character. Here, we’re sharing some remodeling ideas for rowhomes in Philadelphia.
Understanding Philadelphia Rowhomes
First, they are compact or have a small footprint. Picture this: rows of two and three-story houses, each sharing sidewalls and a continuous roofline with its neighbors. Born from the need for space-efficient living in high-value urban areas, these homes are a marvel of structural ingenuity, offering an economical solution with their dense layout.
Initially built of wood, Philadelphia’s rowhomes underwent a transformation to brick construction post-1871, following the great Chicago fire. It was a safety move that coincided with the city’s establishment of a public fire department. While similar to townhouses, rowhomes are distinctively aligned in straight rows, creating the iconic streetscapes we see today. They’re a testament to Philadelphia’s architectural history and urban planning.
Remodeling for Compact Philadelphia Rowhomes
Open Floor Plans
One effective strategy is creating an open floor plan. By removing interior walls and using elements like screens, frosted glass, and sliding panels, you can maintain privacy while allowing light to flow through. This approach transforms dark, tunnel-like spaces into bright, airy living areas. Remodeling ideas for rowhomes generally involve creative thinking and problem solving skills.
Maximizing Natural Light
Lighting is incredibly important in row homes. These homes can feel dark or closed-in when lighting is not given proper attention. Consider new window placements, or even adding skylights, to brighten up living spaces. Adapting existing structures, like a central stairwell, to incorporate a skylight can dramatically alter the feel of your home by bringing in more natural light.
Choosing Reflective Materials
Select lighter tones and reflective materials to prevent your home from feeling too dark. Incorporating glass elements, transom windows (the rectangular or semicircular windows above a door or other window), and open layouts can significantly enhance light distribution, making spaces feel more open and inviting.
For kitchens, an open floor plan combining the kitchen, dining, and living areas offers efficient use of space. This setup improves the flow of natural light and makes socializing and entertaining more enjoyable.
Innovative Outdoor Spaces
In dense urban environments, think vertically for outdoor space. If possible, adding a rooftop deck to your rowhome provides a private outdoor area for relaxation and entertainment. Often times, these spaces are offering great views of the cityscape or night sky.
Remodeling Ideas for Rowhomes Conclusion
Remodeling a Philadelphia rowhome requires creativity and a thoughtful approach to space utilization. By focusing on light, openness, and smart design, you can transform your compact home into a modern, functional, and inviting space.