Narrow Houses by Avi Friedman

Leave a comment below through the end of Wednesday, February 2, 2011, to be considered for this random book giveaway.*

Princeton Architectural Press was nice enough to send us a copy of a newly published book on skinny houses called Narrow Houses: New Directions in Efficient Design.  Authored by Avi Friedman, Narrow Houses includes 28 case studies — all measuring less than 25 feet in width — with site plans, floor plans, and tons of photos.

Projects featured in this book vary with a healthy dose of detached, semi-detached, and attached examples.  If you have a thin site, perhaps a copy would provide value in the form of getting ideas to maximize your lot.

Also, when building green, it is commonly agreed that location is just as important as construction.  So if you’ve thought about acquiring a tiny urban infill lot in the city to drive less and use more mass transportation, Narrow Houses will also give you ideas for creating the perfect skinny home.

Shown on the cover is a 960-square foot project in Nova Scotia, Canada — the Sliding House.  The interior is lined with a clean-looking, bleached, clear poplar and the home is about 15 feet wide.

Narrow Houses can be read in a couple hours, but the photos and floor plans may take a lot more time to digest and consider. At the end of the book, Friedman includes four essays on narrow-house design, footprints and volumes, interiors, and historical chronology, in this order.

[+] Buy a copy of Narrow Houses on Amazon.

  • N gauci

    this seems like a veryinteresting design concept

  • Jeremiah Russell

    Awesome idea. Anything to get people thinking about how to live smaller and more efficiently is a step in the right direction.

  • Mark Derricott

    Looks great–I’m definitely looking forward to reading.

  • Squaggy68

    Can’t wait. Most of the sites where I live have houses thinner 25 feet.

  • Mark Wilson

    Preston – thanks for bringing this to my attention. I am working on some designs for single module cabins/cottages – most of which will be 14 to 16 feet wide.

    • Preston

      Sounds interesting, Mark. Can’t wait to hear more … you know my Twitter and email.

  • Justin L

    looks great! there are definitely a lot of urban applications possible with this approach

  • Ruben

    Pick me! Pick me because I got Avi Friedman to come talk to Vancouver City Council and do a public presentation!

  • Lcapa

    Great ideas for urban in-fill lots. I would love to have a copy of this book.

  • Capriciarose

    That is such an interesting design problem. I would love to get a chance at the book.

  • Anonymous

    narrow housing is a HUGELY growing market, and i know i’d love to take a stab at designing a house of the sorts… this, obviously, would be a great book to kick start that…

  • Andrew Ratzke

    This is really cool. Especially as we begin to see a lot of row house redesigns, narrow and up is quickly becoming very popular!

  • Peter

    Interestingly enough we are looking at a narrow lot to build on.
    I will be curious to see how many of these plans have downstairs master

  • brute force collaborative

    another (free) version of case studies (unbuilt) are the submissions from portland’s 2004 skinny houses competition:

  • designSTUDIO

    one of my fave subjects! I love skinny houses!

  • Colleen

    Narrow lot or not, I love narrow houses because they allow more natural light into each room! There are old houses in Weaverville, CA that are narrow and absolutely wonderful for those of us who want light and a look at the outdoors. These houses also offer an efficient use of space.

  • Crystal Wallace

    Love the concept. We currently are looking into building a small green home to replace our 17 year od 14×70 singlewide.

  • Whistle Blower

    A long awaited focus! The merging of modular construction, container homes, and higher density infill demand such an architectural investigation into the broad array of narrow solutions.

    Can’t wait to see the book!!!

  • Larry

    I’ve always felt that narrow houses had a lot of potential as a way to reduce the land required for single family housing.

  • Glenn

    Although we have 12 acres to spread out on the house we are about to finish is only about 14′ wide and less than 800 square feet. It is a result of a highly distilled floor plan to get down to the essentials, a bare minimum of wasted circulation and to use materials including standard lumber in a highly efficient way. It is completely finished in vintage recycled and salvaged wood and metal and is modern in form but warm and cozy rustic in appearance. Glad to see this as a past due trend.

    • Preston

      Glenn, congrats! You’re the winner of this giveaway … I’ll email you separately to get your contact information to send the book your direction.

  • Ryan

    This has been a great outlet and I am happy to have stumbled upon this site. I always look forward to seeing everything posted. As a contractor I am always looking to stay current.

  • Tyler James Laskowski

    sounds interesting

  • FancyIdeas

    I’ve been a proponent of narrow houses for a long time – with an up-hill battle, for many years, of the idea of decreasing lot size and increasing liveability of smaller homes. I’m delighted to see this book, and looking forward to reviewing it. Being a lady builder/design, I’m hoping that I’ll see more warmth and well-thought-out useage than typical in austere designs. It’s one thing to appreciate huge visual spaces (vertically and through windows) – but STORAGE and comfort issues (including HVAC efficiency) is very rarely considered, though key to LIVING in a small house.

  • Enerjazz

    Space efficiency is good. Too bad much of our population has gone the other way (both in houses size and personal size).

  • Joanna Rodriguez

    Interesting concept

  • Scott

    I’m considering building in an historic neighborhood with 25′ x150′ lots. Would love to see examples of narrow houses on narrow lots.

  • Dierdre

    I live in a cottage that is less than 600sf and am very interested in the suggestions I hope to see in this book. Efficient design is my passion!

  • Notserp5790

    Oh man, I’ve alway wanted to build/live-in one of these cool narrow houses.

  • Jstamp

    Sounds like a great starting point for quality design ideas on leftover infill sites that all too often end up dumping grounds or sites for thoroughly uninspired trailer like homes. I like it.

  • Rocky Lamb

    What perfect timing! We are currently in the process of redeveloping our 34′ x 125′ lot. With current set backs, that will leaves us with a maximum 24′ wide house. We are meeting with a local architect tomorrow to get started. This book looks like it would be a valuable resource for ideas. It’s always fun to check out JetsonGreen on a daily basis!

  • pgb

    It’s good to see a book with efficient floor plans in it. It’s hard to find good examples that are applicable to lots in my area.

  • Ra n dall

    Very cool. I like small, less to maintain and clean.

  • Carol N Wong

    I would like find out what makes being narrow an asset. Would love to read the book to learn!

  • Chris2x

    Skinny houses for consumers in need of a diet.

  • Marley

    Right-Sized Living for Comfort without Excess… the optimistic yet obtainable future of sustainable housing.

  • Stephen Gibson

    Love it – skinny and compact uses fewer resources, which is the way to go if you ask me.

  • Anonymous

    I am a container and mobile home enthusiast. I wonder if this book offers any clever solutions that would apply to these design challenges. Thanks for your excellent work, Preston.

  • urbanworkbench

    Many 30′ lots in the older parts of town, neat idea for a book though, to get people thinking outside the mcmansion box.

  • bayermt

    I’d love a copy!

  • Alan L Schindler

    Looks like a great book. It would be a nice one to add to my library.

  • Ebrammer

    I’ve never really thought of “narrow” houses per se, mostly just “tiny houses”… this would be an interesting read.

  • Ivanrussell

    Please, please me! seems like a pretty decent book to read

  • Mod Sean

    With Boulder’s high land cost, narrow houses can sometimes be a financial necessity.

  • D_clark

    I love the idea of a skinny houses. It is ecologically sensitive and I would assume less expensive to build. I live on an Indian reservation in California and I have been studying styles of homes that I and my tribe can build that are economical, have small footprints, and are ecologically advanced. I’m looking forward to reading your copy. lol

  • sean

    Looks like an interesting book.

  • maia

    Any possibility of applications for affordable housing?

  • S Greer

    I plan to build on a <25 ft lot

  • Lisa Grant Vail

    Can’t wait to steal some ideas for living comfortably in a narrow house! My husband and I are getting ready to break ground on a 60×25 ft modern green home, designed to sit on the flat part of our downward-sloping lot and no more. While our home’s 25ft depth narrowly (pun intended!) fit the author’s definition of a narrow house, it’s going to be the perfect space for us!

    • Preston

      I hope you share details of your project with us. Sounds interesting …

  • Cjalk52

    Transumers can rejoice, we are in a renaissance of building where small is beautiful, where did I hear that before, aha Schumacher, 1973, I still have the book :-)

  • Vpezel

    We have been looking for a city lot for a long time and building a narrow house would be a must for such a land configuration. have already considered a number of designs but seeing more of them would be even greater.

  • mjbensey

    I once owned a house that was roughly 25′ X 25′. It was more than enough space for a family of four.

  • sonya

    Awesome! Bring this to the mass, so they can start realising they dont need to live in huge mension! Love it and pick me!!

  • nader

    Great inspiration for those looking to build with ISBUs!

  • Wascher

    Interesting, though I’ll opt for something with no stairs!

  • Marie

    This looks really interesting!

  • Sabina Edwards

    damn I would love to win a book like this (to give me ideas for our small house)but I live in Canada
    I hope to find this book online and will have to wishlist it on amazon!! GOOD LUCK everyone

  • Michael Lucas

    We are making similar now will buy if you dont give!!

  • Mark Kozakiewicz

    could create some very efficient plans………..

  • eli

    We really need better ideas for small infill lot housing that can be more appealing to the neighboring houses and the neighborhood associations that have not been happy with the early efforts to stuff bulky, awkward houses onto skinny lots. Many people support the idea of infill, but hate the impacts many of these houses have had on massing and neighborhood character. We need more examples of how to do this well!

  • kb

    This could be helpful in my search for a good passive solar design, though I like to think of them as wide houses with a shallow footprint.

  • Jamin

    Gimme! Gimme! Narrow houses reminds me of Amsterdam, where historically homes were taxed on their width, which led to some narrow but magnificent structures.

  • Nashtin

    Just stumbled upon this site. We lost our home 2 weeks ago to a house fire and lost everything. We had no insurance and my boyfriend was burned while trying to save the house and our cat. We are thinking about container homes for our rebuild and are trying to visualize how to utilize the small space more efficiently. This book looks like it may help.

  • seeinggreen

    Yes to more narrow, small and infill houses!

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