Author Topic: Types of houses  (Read 5876 times)

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perpetua

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #30 on: September 04, 2013, 05:24:47 AM »
Interesting thread, especially about the duplexes; I've often wondered what constituted one of those. I had in my head some kind of arrangement like our semi-detached houses.

I live in a large Edwardian house (UK, so about 100 years old I guess) which while originally would have been one dwelling for probably a well-off person/family, has later been divided into four flats. Two on the ground floor and two on the first floor. It has a shared front door to the street and a communal hallway, with the internal doors to flats A&B on the ground floor then the doors to flats C&D on the first at the top of the stairs. This kind of place is very common here especially in cities.  What would this kind of building be called in the US? I get the feeling they wouldn't be "apartments", because they're not in a block. When I think "apartment block" I think like the place they lived in Friends. Purpose-built, in other words, rather than a house converted into two or more dwellings. We just call them 'flats'.

There are different kinds of flats though - the one I live in are 'converted flats', often referred to in sales particulars as 'ground floor conversion' or 'first floor conversion' etc. There are also purpose built flats in developments or tower blocks. 'Apartment' hasn't really made it over here, except to describe very high end luxury flats.

Thipu1

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #31 on: September 04, 2013, 07:36:30 AM »
This is where things get interesting. 

In our building, most of the units are duplexes (an apartment on two floors with an interior stairway).  Our particular apartment is all on one floor.  That's a flat.  You can't really call a unit like a duplex a 'flat' because it isn't flat. 

Real Estate ads will mention if a unit for sale or rent is a conversion.  Sometimes, they will specifically mention a 'Parlor Floor Conversion'.  When a brownstone was first built as a single family home, the parlor floor was the formal section of the house.  It usually had higher ceilings and more elaborate woodwork than the rest of the building.  That often makes it more desirable as a conversion. 

camlan

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #32 on: September 04, 2013, 08:11:06 AM »
Interesting thread, especially about the duplexes; I've often wondered what constituted one of those. I had in my head some kind of arrangement like our semi-detached houses.

I live in a large Edwardian house (UK, so about 100 years old I guess) which while originally would have been one dwelling for probably a well-off person/family, has later been divided into four flats. Two on the ground floor and two on the first floor. It has a shared front door to the street and a communal hallway, with the internal doors to flats A&B on the ground floor then the doors to flats C&D on the first at the top of the stairs. This kind of place is very common here especially in cities.  What would this kind of building be called in the US? I get the feeling they wouldn't be "apartments", because they're not in a block. When I think "apartment block" I think like the place they lived in Friends. Purpose-built, in other words, rather than a house converted into two or more dwellings. We just call them 'flats'.

There are different kinds of flats though - the one I live in are 'converted flats', often referred to in sales particulars as 'ground floor conversion' or 'first floor conversion' etc. There are also purpose built flats in developments or tower blocks. 'Apartment' hasn't really made it over here, except to describe very high end luxury flats.

I've lived in a large, old house converted to apartments. At least in my area, there's no real specific term for that type of building. We just called it a "house converted to apartments." And the individual units were called apartments, because in general in the US, "apartment" is used for any individual dwelling unit contained within a larger building with multiple dwelling units. (That's a dwelling unit that is rented. The same dwelling unit in a larger building where the unit is owned and not rented is usually called a condo.)

In the New England area, the only "apartments" that don't always get called apartments would be two and three family homes. But a house converted to three apartments wouldn't be called a three family home, but a house converted to apartments.

I think it is because the two and three family homes tend to have an entire floor for each unit, and there is more space and they feel more like a house than an apartment. In my area, the two and three family homes tend to be older, built before 1930 or 1940, so they have large kitchens, pantries, laundry rooms, separate living and dining rooms, built-in china closets, things like that. While most apartments tend to have combined living/dining rooms with an open kitchen stuck in a corner of the room, few to no built-ins, no laundry hook-ups and less storage space overall.

To further muddy the waters, you wouldn't call a house converted to apartments an "apartment building." That is used for a building that was specifically designed to have multiple apartments in it.

I've also lived in an "apartment complex" that was a series of small buildings, each building having 4 apartments in it.
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camlan

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #33 on: September 04, 2013, 08:16:41 AM »

In my area the top bottom homes are called 2 family and side by side with a shared wall are called duplexes.  About 1/2 the time each side of a duplex is owned by separate people I have never seen a 2 family homes upper/lower owned by 2 people.  There are condos built as uppers and lowers though.

One thing I've recently seen in the greater Boston area is that the two and three family homes are starting to be divided up for sale. That's the upper/lower situation you mention.

So it's a sort of condo situation in that you aren't buying the entire building, just one floor and probably a bit of the basement for storage and a laundry room. But the 2 or 3 owners would have to deal with things like the roof and some of the plumbing and electrical as a group. They'd have to share the driveway (there's no on-street parking in the winter in a lot of Massachusetts towns), and work out who owns the yard and is responsible for its upkeep.
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scotcat60

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #34 on: September 04, 2013, 09:08:03 AM »
We also have bungalows in the UK, detached houses with no upstairs, "chalet bungalows" which have a room upstairs, studio flats, livingroom/ bedroom in one with a separate kitchen and bathroom, and bedsits, a single room for sleeping, eating, cooking, and access to a bathroom/loo outside of that room.

Thipu1

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #35 on: September 04, 2013, 10:35:10 AM »
In NYC, a small unit, basically a single room with a galley kitchen and separate bathroom, is called a studio. 

Just out of curiosity, would something like this be called a 'bed-sitter' in the UK?

perpetua

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #36 on: September 04, 2013, 10:43:56 AM »
In NYC, a small unit, basically a single room with a galley kitchen and separate bathroom, is called a studio. 

Just out of curiosity, would something like this be called a 'bed-sitter' in the UK?

If the kitchen/bathroom are in the same unit as the bedroom/living area, ie behind your front door, and for your use only then yes, that's a studio here too. If you have to go outside your living area to shared facilities then that would be a bedsit.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #37 on: September 04, 2013, 01:20:02 PM »
I've heard those called 'Bachelor's apartments' here.
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Ontario

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2013, 01:39:40 PM »
Interesting thread, especially about the duplexes; I've often wondered what constituted one of those. I had in my head some kind of arrangement like our semi-detached houses.

I live in a large Edwardian house (UK, so about 100 years old I guess) which while originally would have been one dwelling for probably a well-off person/family, has later been divided into four flats. Two on the ground floor and two on the first floor. It has a shared front door to the street and a communal hallway, with the internal doors to flats A&B on the ground floor then the doors to flats C&D on the first at the top of the stairs. This kind of place is very common here especially in cities.  What would this kind of building be called in the US? I get the feeling they wouldn't be "apartments", because they're not in a block. When I think "apartment block" I think like the place they lived in Friends. Purpose-built, in other words, rather than a house converted into two or more dwellings. We just call them 'flats'.

There are different kinds of flats though - the one I live in are 'converted flats', often referred to in sales particulars as 'ground floor conversion' or 'first floor conversion' etc. There are also purpose built flats in developments or tower blocks. 'Apartment' hasn't really made it over here, except to describe very high end luxury flats.

In this area they are calling multifamily homes.  The happened differently here for the most part there are mini mansions in declining areas so the conversion can be really quirky. Ive seen a "private kitchen" at the top of the stairs outside of the apartment. I the areas where costs are rising the mini mansions tended to to converted into offices or shops because they are on/very close to main st.

WillyNilly

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2013, 05:42:13 PM »
One thing I've recently seen in the greater Boston area is that the two and three family homes are starting to be divided up for sale. That's the upper/lower situation you mention.

So it's a sort of condo situation in that you aren't buying the entire building, just one floor and probably a bit of the basement for storage and a laundry room. But the 2 or 3 owners would have to deal with things like the roof and some of the plumbing and electrical as a group. They'd have to share the driveway (there's no on-street parking in the winter in a lot of Massachusetts towns), and work out who owns the yard and is responsible for its upkeep.

In NYC this would be a co-op (short for cooperative). Each person/family owns their space (apartment) but they collectively own the building together. Many co-ops are proper apartment buildings with tens to dozens to hundreds of apartments, but its not all that uncommon for there to be only 2-4 apartments because its a smaller converted building. While uber technically a co-op owner doesn't own their apartment specifically but rather shares in the building the reality is each person owns their apartment, then each owner is cooperatively responsible for the overall plumbing, heat, building upkeep, landscaping, etc.

Snooks

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #40 on: September 05, 2013, 05:16:27 PM »
Duplexes in the US can be split either horizontally or vertically. I live in a duplex--I have the entire second floor, plus a laundry room and storage area in the basement.

The house next door to mine is also a duplex, but split vertically.

In and around Boston, there are tri-plexes. I have no idea what the correct name for them is, as everyone just calls them "triple deckers." They are a three-family home with each "house" being one complete floor of the building.



In the UK these would be a masionette, a flat would have a shared front door, an apartment would be an upmarket flat. I have also seen a split level maisonette which was the top two floors of a three storey building with a private entrance.

I think the definition of a maisonette (for housing benefit type things) is a residence with a private internal stairway.  So a my friend and I both lived in maisonettes, my friend's maisonette was open the front door from outside (no shared entryway), go up stairs then all the rooms were on one level.  There was a flat underneath my friend's flat which had it's own entrance.  My maisonette has the same deal with the downstairs flat but you come in my front door, go straight up the stairs then my living room, kitchen and bathroom are on one floor with the bedrooms upstairs again.  A maisonette could also be on the ground floor with a second floor via private stairs but then with another residence on top of it (who have to go up two storeys to get to their flat or maisonette).

jilly

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #41 on: September 06, 2013, 03:40:04 PM »
Duplexes in the US can be split either horizontally or vertically. I live in a duplex--I have the entire second floor, plus a laundry room and storage area in the basement.

The house next door to mine is also a duplex, but split vertically.

In and around Boston, there are tri-plexes. I have no idea what the correct name for them is, as everyone just calls them "triple deckers." They are a three-family home with each "house" being one complete floor of the building.



In the UK these would be a masionette, a flat would have a shared front door, an apartment would be an upmarket flat. I have also seen a split level maisonette which was the top two floors of a three storey building with a private entrance.

I think the definition of a maisonette (for housing benefit type things) is a residence with a private internal stairway.  So a my friend and I both lived in maisonettes, my friend's maisonette was open the front door from outside (no shared entryway), go up stairs then all the rooms were on one level.  There was a flat underneath my friend's flat which had it's own entrance.  My maisonette has the same deal with the downstairs flat but you come in my front door, go straight up the stairs then my living room, kitchen and bathroom are on one floor with the bedrooms upstairs again.  A maisonette could also be on the ground floor with a second floor via private stairs but then with another residence on top of it (who have to go up two storeys to get to their flat or maisonette).

estate agents take a wider view then as they showed me loads of ground floor maisonettes that were on one level, each unit just had a private entrance. My Dad is still convinced they are flats and a maisonette is actually over two floors  with another unit above / below and can have communal entrances. estate agents call that a split level flat  ::) I go with estate agent definitions when home hunting.

Bethczar

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #42 on: September 06, 2013, 08:07:19 PM »
Having grown up in a ranch house, I have to ask: how common are they overseas? I never see/hear references to them. Are they an American thing?

jilly

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #43 on: September 07, 2013, 11:01:22 AM »
Having grown up in a ranch house, I have to ask: how common are they overseas? I never see/hear references to them. Are they an American thing?

what are they? what do they look like?

PastryGoddess

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Re: Types of houses
« Reply #44 on: September 07, 2013, 12:21:05 PM »
Having grown up in a ranch house, I have to ask: how common are they overseas? I never see/hear references to them. Are they an American thing?

what are they? what do they look like?

A ranch house is a 1 story house that has most of the common areas up front and the private areas in the back.  I grew up in a ranch house with a walk out basement.  It may or may not have an attached garage at the side of the house