Project Description

Six new townhouses are constructed to take advantage of mountain views to the west


The owner of a lot in West Seattle wanted to build the maximum number of units on the site. The Seattle Land Use Code allowed six units, up to three stories tall. Except for the unit cantilevered above the front driveway, the lower level of each townhouse incorporates a single car garage, a den and an entry (in the cantilevered unit it is just a garage and entry). On the main level of all the units is an open concept living/dining/kitchen space plus a pantry and powder room. The upper level includes a master bedroom, second bedroom, bathroom and laundry closet. From this level, stairs lead up to private roof decks to take advantage of amazing Olympic Mountain Views.

Careful planning of the spaces helps avoid the feeling that these townhomes are made up of a series of tiny spaces. Small spaces like the powder room, closets, and pantry are tucked in and around the stairs to leave wide open spaces with light penetrating the interiors from the front and rear of the townhomes.

Project Info & Tips

  • A townhouse project like this that maximizes the number of units on the site is a very complex project
  • Reducing the number of units on a site may reduce design costs, but may also reduce the return on investment when the units are sold or rented. A market analysis may be needed to assess design options for a particular site
  • Townhouses require sound and fire separations between unit at the ‘party wall’
  • A four story townhouse will typically require fire sprinklers. Access to a roof deck is typically not considered a story (and if the site is sloping, the lower level may be considered a basement, which is also not considered a story)
  • In the City of Seattle, there are numerous requirements that have to be met including open space, landscaping, height restrictions, setbacks, amenity areas, etc.  A good architect is essential I’m helping ensure a design will meet all the city’s requirements
  • Townhomes can be challenging to structurally engineer. We worked with our structural engineer to eliminate a large amount of steel typically needed for the large cantilevers over the driveways, which helped to reduce costs
  • Level of Design Services: Permit Set
  • How do I Estimate Construction Cost and Design Fees?
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