Planning your build

How to Build an Expansive Home on a Narrow Lot

A narrow lot may feel restrictive, but clever home design can overcome any challenge! Despite the smaller space, your approach to designing your home can be bigger and better. Smart design techniques, creative use of interior design elements and some architectural knowhow will allow you to create some incredible results.

Forget foregoing spacious living areas or sacrificing a breath-taking location. If you think outside the box (narrow, wide- whatever the size) and explore the key design elements behind the most inspiring narrow lot homes, you can achieve the home you so desire.

At G.J. Gardner Homes, we offer a range of narrow lot house designs created to take advantage of every available inch. We’ll dive into deeper detail below, but here are our 6 Narrow Lot House Design Tips:

  1. Open Plan Living
  2. High Ceilings
  3. Prioritize Natural Light
  4. Clever Use of Space
  5. A Light Color Palette
  6. Landscaping

1. Open Plan Living

The concept of open plan living is potentially the most important in narrow block house designs! Ditch the dividers and let the kitchen, living room and dining room live as one. In keeping with contemporary interior design trends, these spaces are growing into more than the sum of their parts. These spaces combined are increasingly becoming the central hub of the modern home, and none more so than homes built on narrow lots.

By unifying these areas, the limited width of the space is optimized and natural light is able to bounce around at its own free will. Sliding doors can be used to open the space further to the patio area, providing space to entertain and enjoy with the entire family.

2. High Ceilings

What’s lacking in width can be made up for in height. Embracing the vertical space with high ceilings will allow even the smallest rooms to feel spacious and luxurious. Around 9 feet is a great ceiling height to aim for, but don’t be afraid to aim even higher. For a 2-storey narrow block design, consider a void above the kitchen, dining or living area.

3. Prioritize Natural Light

Natural light is your best friend on a narrow lot, and the aim of the game is to let as much in as possible. This can be achieved through cleverly placed windows, skylights, highlight windows and glass doors. The builders at GJ Gardner are experts when it comes to narrow lot house designs, and all floor plans are created to optimize space and generate a distinctly open and bright floor plan. Room design, window placement and the overall layout are skilfully crafted to accomplish this.

4. Creative Use of Space

As mentioned earlier, there is no need to sacrifice in narrow block homes. Two-car garages, patio areas, a butler’s pantry, bonus rooms and the number of spacious bedrooms your family needs; space is calculated to ensure everything fits and that no space is wasted.

The key to perfect narrow block house plans is the functional use of space. Through carefully considered choices in furniture your essential storage space doesn’t need to be sacrificed. G.J. Gardner’s Kensington 270 narrow house block design is a great example of how to utilise an open space plan.

5. A Light Color Palette

Light colors will bring your narrow block home to life and will allow natural light to reflect throughout, accentuating the open feel and making your space feel wider than it may be in a literal sense.

Give your home a light and natural feel with a neutral color palette that uses white or off-white tones, light woods and other earthy elements like woven fabrics for décor.

6. Landscaping Considerations

You may not have acres and acres of land to work with, but nonetheless, you have the power to create an outdoor space that’s a beautiful addition to your narrow lot home. Install cavity sliding doors to your patio area, and make use of vertical gardens to grow your favorite veggies and herbs.

Local Regulations and Building Code

The relevant building code may have some rules around what you can and can’t do you on a narrow lot. Pay particular attention to:

  • Setback from each boundary: This is how close you can build to the boundary and will influence the footprint of your new home.
  • Building height and number of stories: Can you build to two stories to add more space? Even three?
  • Percentage of the land you can build on: These guides are intended to balance indoor and outdoor space and will guide the maximum footprint of your new home.
  • Impact on neighbors: There may be requirements around privacy, light, amenity and views of neighboring houses.
  • Parking provisions: Including access, number of parking spaces, and their location.

When you work with G.J. Gardner Homes, we can explain your local guidelines and advice on compliant design choices. As experts in local building regulation, we can work with you to meet these standards in a way that conforms to your expectations for your new home.

Other Aspects to Consider When Designing a Narrow Lot Home

The design phase is crucial when you have a narrow lot, as there is less room for error than a traditional lot. But modern designs for narrow lots have come a long way and provide excellent liveability and comfort. Some design inspiration for a narrow lot:

  • Use a design that’s been made for a narrow lot: It’s fine to customize, but it doesn’t work as well to use a traditional design as your starting point.
  • Build up: If possible, add a second story to gain additional living space. After all, height will be the best dimension for you to expand into.
  • Get creative with car parking: This might mean a side entrance to the house so you maximize parking real estate at the front. Or, put parking at the back of the house if you have rear access. If you use one car more than the other, a tandem garage might be the go.
  • Decorate sensitively: The key is not to over-do interior decorations: less really is more! That means being restrained with furniture and cutting the clutter. Interior designers advise choosing a core palette of around three base materials and using these throughout the home to create a seamless, expansive feel. Make use of wall-mounted joinery in bathrooms: combined with wall-mounted toilets and frameless shower screens it creates the illusion of extra space.

Ready to get started? Check out G.J. Gardner Homes’ house designs and talk to your local consultant about the best match for your narrow lot. Get in touch with your local office today!