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Considerations When Building on a Narrow Block

Spiral staircases in the old Warehouse District

There are more and more narrow blocks of land on offer throughout New Zealand today, meaning to build in the areas you want, you may need to sacrifice a bit of block width. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice house design quality, or even house size. By using smart design techniques, you can still get the beautiful home you’ve always wanted without sacrificing your lifestyle.

Why are narrow blocks becoming more common?

We’re seeing more and more narrow blocks throughout New Zealand these days, and it’s simply a matter of housing demand. Customers aren’t necessarily asking for them, but councils are releasing narrow plots of land to make room for more houses. It’s true that when many people want to build their dream home, they look for large, spacious blocks. However, with these becoming less freely available, home builders need to make a compromise.

Fortunately, home designers such as the team at Stonewood Homes have recognised the shifting landscape in New Zealand, and are able to design homes that truly maximise any space you have.

Ways to make the most of a narrow block house design

A narrow block doesn’t instantly mean a smaller house or missing out on great features like garages and outdoor entertaining areas. It just means home designers need to be smarter about how they incorporate all the features you want. Nothing is impossible, and here are just some of the ways you can get the most out of a narrow block.

Use high ceilings

If you can’t make rooms wider, the simple thing to do is make them higher! Human perception is a wonderful thing, and our eyes can play some excellent tricks on us. Higher ceilings make a room feel bigger almost instantly. If you’re using a two-storey house design, you can even get creative and leave some open space above the kitchen or living area.

Consider open-plan designs

Perhaps the easiest way to make a home feel bigger is to use open-plan designs. The most common way to do this is by combining the kitchen, dining room and living area. The result is one large room, so you never feel too cramped and there’s plenty of room to move around. If you also incorporate an outdoor dining area, you create the feel of a sprawling living space that feels much bigger than it is.

Use space wisely

Even if you need to make your home a little bit smaller, you can still make brilliant use of the space you have. Whether you do this by making your house even longer with larger rooms, or simply by getting creative with furniture, there are always opportunities to use your space wisely. Another thing to consider is some unique storage options so that you don’t waste space with unnecessary cupboards.

Plenty of natural light

The use of natural light is crucial to opening up a room or living area. When used in conjunction with an open-plan design, natural light can have a huge impact on the perceived size of a living space. Choose large windows and sliding glass doors to let natural light flood into your home. Not only does it create the perception of a larger room, but it’s also great for energy efficiency. If you want to maximise the natural light even further, use light colours such as white because it will make the rooms feel even bigger.

Make the most of your outdoor spaces

If you’re building on a narrow block, you can still design the floor plan in such a way that you can enjoy a beautiful outdoor entertaining area. When designing, keep your outdoor areas close to your kitchen and dining area, because you can open up the sliding doors to create one large entertaining space.

Don’t forget to check council regulations

When considering all of these things, you also need to take into consideration the council regulations in your area. One of the most important considerations is the setback from each boundary. Most councils have minimum gaps that must be left between structures and fences, so this can be particularly challenging on a narrow block.

It’s also common to use two-storey house designs on narrow blocks, but you’ll need to ensure you can get planning approval for this before getting too far into the house design.

Call the experts in narrow house design

If you’re looking for house designs that make the most of your narrow block, we’d love to hear from you. We have a wide range of existing home designs that work beautifully on narrow blocks. For blocks that are a little more complex, our professional home designers can work with you to create the perfect solution for any lot.

Stonewood Homes are the experts you can count on for honest, transparent advice and the highest building standards in New Zealand. Contact our friendly team today and book a consultation.

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