15 Skinny Homes That Make the Most of Narrow Lots

15 Skinny Homes That Make the Most of Narrow Lots

These slender houses pack a lot of personality into tight spaces.

While the most common reason to build upward is a compressed lot, some tall and slender houses—otherwise known as skinny homes—are designed to take advantage of impressive views, or to counter sites that are steep or sloping. Here, we’ve rounded up a number of super skinny houses that still manage to feel quite spacious.

An Architect’s Home Squeezes Into a Tiny Lot in Seoul

Architect Minwook Choi’s Seroro House, which means "vertical" in Korean, comprises five compact stories that rise from a 355-square-foot lot in Seoul, South Korea. "The site had been abandoned for a long time," says Minwook of Smaller Architects. "People thought the land was too small to construct anything, and so the price had become reasonable."

Clad in white acrylic stucco, the slender structure features windows on the southern and western facades, which opens the home to the lush hillside. 

Architect Ana Rocha designed the 538-square-foot Micro House Slim Fit to slot into tight lots in cities throughout the Netherlands. "Micro House Slim Fit’s footprint is 172 square feet, allowing the house to fit almost everywhere in the city—even between cars," says the architect.

The three-level home features a kitchen, dining area, and storage/technical room on the ground floor; a living area on the second level; and a bedroom, bathroom, and closet on the third floor. The kitchen was finished with pale birch panels that were treated with a resin varnish.

Architect Alex Wu built this home on a 20-by-75-foot lot in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. First, Wu had to get a variance to increase the house’s allowable size and decrease the setbacks, which ultimately expanded the footprint from a six-foot-wide structure to a 14-foot-wide residence. "From a design perspective, any narrow house is a challenge to make into functional space," the architect says.

Standing three stories high, the 1,650-square-foot home hosts two bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, and a bonus office. Double-height ceilings increase the sense of space in the living room. Maple plywood wraps the kitchen cabinets and ceiling, as well as the accent wall.

Architect TaeByoung Yim designed this 570-square-foot house in Seoul, Korea, for JaeHoon Han, an adjunct professor and retired CFO who sought to build a second home with space for studying and entertaining. "He needed a place where he could focus on his writing and research, but he also wanted an elegant house where friends and family would be able to visit," says the architect. 

The compact home features a kitchen and dining area on the first floor, a home office on the second level, and a living room on the third floor with a loft-like sleeping area just above it. On the third and fourth levels, glass doors open to terraces and flood the rooms with natural light.

Jakarta and Bandung–based architecture studio dua worked within a 602-square-foot plot—and a budget of approximately $20,000—to renovate the 4x6x6 House for a young family in Bandung, Indonesia. The house stands out with its boxy white form but still adheres to the neighborhood's two-story height norm. Operable windows of varying sizes give the building a sculptural appearance while also helping to let cooling breezes into the home.

In just under 484 square feet, the two-story home comprises a bedroom, bathroom, and a small reading nook, as well as an open-plan living area, kitchen, and dining space. On the top level, the bedroom connects to a small outdoor balcony. Open-tread stairs link the various floors.

In the middle of bustling Hanoi, Vietnam, ODDO Architects designed the CH House for a family of six spanning three generations under the same roof. The narrow, elongated site allowed the architects enough space to build a home measuring just under 14 feet wide and 114 feet deep. 

The architects drew inspiration from traditional Hanoi houses with interior courtyards, staggering the floors and ceiling heights across the five-level plan. The volumes are capped with sections of clear roofing that allow light to cascade into the home. "This design provides an unexpected spacious feeling, despite the limited width of the house," explain the architects.

Designed by Waechter Architecture, the Slender House is a three-story residence built on a half-lot between a warehouse and an existing home in Portland, Oregon. The 15-foot-wide by 50-foot-long structure won a design award from the American Institute of Architects’ Portland chapter.

At the rear of the home, a secluded courtyard situated between a detached garage and the adjacent warehouse creates an outdoor extension of the dining room.

This lean residence sandwiched between two storefronts in the London’s vibrant Shepherd’s Bush neighborhood is just six feet wide. The home arranges itself across five floors, offering a surprising 1,034 square feet of living space.

A glazed dining area located at the rear of the home features black-framed, double-height glass doors that open to the private garden patio.

Situated on a 366-square-foot plot that’s only about 13 feet wide, the 3T2 House was designed by Khuôn Studio and Phan Khắc Tùng for a young family in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

"The clients gave us total freedom in terms of aesthetics, but when it came to practicality, they asked that the top two floors be totally private, so they could rent them," Tùng says. The new, four-story home maintains separation between the two lower floors that make up the family’s 645-square-foot residence and the upper levels, each of which measures 322 square feet. 

Architect Aniket Shahane of Office of Architecture renovated the 1,000-square-foot Brooklyn row house where he’d lived for eight years with his wife, jewelry designer Blanca Monros Gomez, to make room for the couple’s two growing children. Having only an 11-foot width to work with, the architect dug out a basement to make way for two additional levels.

The new, four-level layout includes the basement "mudroom" and a top-floor addition with the principal bedroom and bath, as well as a rooftop terrace. The first floor of the home is an open-plan space with a dining area, kitchen, and living room.

Karen White and David MacNaughtan made a new home for themselves and their two sons on a tiny lot in Toronto’s leafy Roncesvalles neighborhood. "I was surprised that these guys had picked out this property," says the house’s designer, Donald Chong. When he first saw the site, it held a ramshackle 800-square-foot cottage, which was the oldest and shakiest building on the street. 

With requirements for a three-foot setback on one side of the home and a building code that ruled out windows on the perimeters, Chong conceived a 2,100-square-foot dwelling that takes advantage of the lot. The 32-by-62-foot volume features a series of double-height rooms across three levels—and includes enough room in the backyard for a garden and outdoor dining area.

On an eight-foot-wide site originally occupied by a derelict 1950s cottage in London’s Notting Hill neighborhood, architect Luke Tozer of Pitman Tozer Architects squeezed in a four-story home equipped with rain-water-harvesting and geothermal systems. The majority of the living spaces are situated at the rear of the site, with just a sliver of the facade exposed to the street. 

The glass wall separating the main gathering spaces and the inner courtyard garden opens like an accordion to create a barrier-free transition between the indoor and outdoor areas.

Art advisor and curator Priscilla Caldwell bought this 14-foot-wide townhouse in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood—which had been occupied by the same family for generations—and quickly called upon architect Nate McBride to complete a gut renovation. By moving the existing staircase to the back of the house, the architect created a new layout that makes each floor into its own 14-by-23-foot space. "Think of them as three stacked mini lofts," McBride says.

The kitchen and dining area share the parlor level, where a new, blue core creates added storage and conceals the kitchen appliances. McBride installed herringbone floors to make the space look larger. "Everything we did was to try to make the rooms feel more spacious and open," McBride says. The windows stretch up to the nine-and-a-half-foot ceiling, where the team uncovered the original beams and left them exposed.

Architects Huynh Anh Tuan, Ngo Quang Hau, and Le Dinh Tan of Khuon Studio designed the Double Roof House on a 44-by-183-foot lot in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for a family that runs their small business—a drink stall—out of their home.

The child’s bedroom loft is situated on a split level and overlooks the living area. A skylight at the top of the staircase, which winds around a carambola tree, floods the interior with sunlight.

Architect Giles Bruce’s London house sits at the end of a Victorian terrace that was partially destroyed during World War II, filling the gap between the last building standing and a new park. 

The 13-foot-wide Dogtooth House, which Giles shares with his wife, Ingrid Hu, and their young son, has one main room on each of its four stories. The below-grade family room opens to a walled garden.

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