Slideshows

Narrow Escapes

Skinny Abodes Around the Globe

Amsterdam-Cover-Narrow-Escapes-SS.jpg
Skinny homes are built for any number of reasons. It could be space constrictions, tax or code restrictions, the creative muse, or even for the vengeful-minded to grind an axe with a family member.What does it mean to say a house is skinny? You know you’re in one if you can stand in the center of the room and touch opposing walls. Alas, many New Yorkers can identify (and the following homes are all in cities where space is at a premium).  But the Dutch may be more familiar with the phenomenon. T
O Palsson

Skinny homes are built for any number of reasons. It could be space constrictions, tax or code restrictions, the creative muse, or even for the vengeful-minded to grind an axe with a family member.

What does it mean to say a house is skinny? You know you’re in one if you can stand in the center of the room and touch opposing walls. Alas, many New Yorkers can identify, and the following homes are all in cities where space is at a premium. 

The Dutch may be more familiar with the phenomenon. Take the example of the tall and slender traditional Dutch homes of Amsterdam pictured here. Amsterdam is rife with them because at one time there was a tax on the width of residences. The staircases of such structures are so narrow and steep they’re practically ladders, which made furniture installation and removal an issue. Hence, the narrow homes of Amsterdam also come with hooks at the top, so homeowners could hoist furniture up and down and through the windows.

Click ahead to view some slim pickings from across the world, with suggestions from Realtor.com as well as Trulia.

By Colleen KanePosted 19 October 2011

Seattle, Washington

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Price: $1,850,000Bedrooms: 4Bathrooms: 3Square Footage: 3,530This architecturally modern   overlooks the Puget Sound. While not much wider than the single-car garage it’s built over, the wall of windows facing the view help it feel spacious. It has flooring of cork, slate, concrete, ceramic tile, and bamboo, an elevator in which to ascend to the roof deck, which has a stainless steel gas fireplace, custom lighting, and is wired for TV and Internet.
realtor.com

Price: $1,850,000
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3
Square Footage: 3,530

This architecturally modern home overlooks the Puget Sound. While not much wider than the single-car garage it’s built over, the wall of windows facing the view help it feel spacious. It has flooring of cork, slate, concrete, ceramic tile and bamboo; an elevator in which to ascend to the roof deck, which has a stainless steel gas fireplace; custom lighting, and is wired for TV and Internet.

Millport, Scotland

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Price: approx. $42,660Bedrooms: 1Bathrooms: 1Square Footage: N/AThe house having the narrowest front in the world (47 inches!), The Wedge, is tucked between two normal-scale storefronts on Great Cumbrae island off the West coast of Scotland. In 2001, a family purchased it for £27,000 to use as a holiday home. Hopefully there’s lots to do outside the house and they don’t get any rain, as the space is about 22 feet long by 11 feet wide at its widest. The rooms are the bedroom and bath upstairs and
goodwinmacc | Flickr

Price: approx. $42,660
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Square Footage: N/A

The house having the narrowest front in the world (47 inches!), The Wedge, is tucked between two normal-scale storefronts on Great Cumbrae island off the West coast of Scotland. In 2001, a family purchased it for £27,000 to use as a holiday home. Hopefully there’s lots to do outside the house and they don’t get any rain, as the space is about 22 feet long by 11 feet wide at its widest. The rooms are the bedroom and bath upstairs and a lounge/studio/kitchenette and a wee porch on the ground level.

New York, New York

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Price: $4,300,000Bedrooms: 3Bathrooms: 2Square Footage: N/AThe in Greenwich Village is named for one of its famous former residents, the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. In the 150 or so years since it was built, it is rumored to have also housed actors Cary Grant and John Barrymore. New York City’s famously narrow house was in 1994 for $270,000 and renovated, then reappeared on the market in 2000 for $1.6M, and again in 2009 for $2.75M—it almost seems that the succession of 75-1/2 Bedford Street
trulia.com

Price: $4,300,000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Square Footage: N/A

The Millay House in Greenwich Village is named for one of its famous former residents, the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. In the 150 or so years since it was built it is rumored to have also housed actors Cary Grant and John Barrymore. New York City’s famously narrow house was purchased in 1994 for $270,000 and renovated. Then it reappeared on the market in 2000 for $1.6 million, and again in 2009 for $2.75 million — it almost seems the succession of 75-1/2 Bedford Street residents seek generous compensation for their periods of living so skinny.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Price: $399,000Bedrooms: 3Bathrooms: 3Square Footage: 1,550This brand new skinny in Philly’s Northern Liberties Promenade has recessed lighting, dark hardwood flooring, baths with vessel sinks mounted on hardwood vanities, and a finished basement. The house may be skinny in the square footage department but it has numerous outdoor spaces, such as a deck on the main floor, two Juliet balconies, a full balcony off the master bedroom, and a roof deck with views of the Center City skyline and the P
realtor.com   

Price: $399,000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3
Square Footage: 1,550

This brand new skinny house in Philly’s Northern Liberties Promenade has recessed lighting, dark hardwood flooring, baths with vessel sinks mounted on hardwood vanities and a finished basement. The house may be skinny in the square footage department but it has numerous outdoor spaces such as a deck on the main floor, two Juliet balconies, a full balcony off the master bedroom and a roof deck with views of the Center City skyline and the Piazza.

Chicago, Illinois

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Price: $1,495,000Bedrooms: 5Bathrooms: 3.5Square Footage: N/AThis slim 1891 3-story is located near Chicago’s North Side, half a block from the lake. It’s restored and updated with features like a cook’s kitchen and a deck, yet it retains charming original details like etched windows, high ceilings, and hardwood floors.
realtor.com

Price: $1,495,000
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 3.5
Square Footage: N/A

This slim 1891 three-story home is located near Chicago’s North Side, half a block from Lake Michigan. It’s restored and updated with features like a cook’s kitchen and a deck, yet it retains charming original details like etched windows, high ceilings and hardwood floors.

Warsaw, Poland

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Price: N/ABedrooms: 1Bathrooms: 1Square Footage: N/AThe oblong structure plugging up an alley resembles a giant version of several different personal items, but it’s a building called Ermitaz, or Ermitage— designed by Jakub Szczesny to be a hermitage for Israeli writer Etgar Karet. At a maximum width of four feet wide and 28 inches at its narrowest, it’s the skinniest house in Poland and maybe even the world. However, because the structure doesn’t conform to Polish building code, the Centrala c
centrala.net.pl/our-work/ermitaz

Price: N/A
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Square Footage: N/A

The oblong structure plugging up an alley resembles a giant version of several different personal items, but it’s a building called Ermitaz, or Ermitage — designed by Jakub Szczesny to be a hermitage for Israeli writer Etgar Karet. At a maximum width of four feet wide and 28 inches at its narrowest, it’s the skinniest house in Poland and maybe even the world. However, because the structure doesn’t conform to Polish building code the Centrala website calls it an “art installation in crack between the buildings” (or as we like to call a building crack, an “alley”).

Various Locations

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Price: $N/ABedrooms: N/ABathrooms: N/ASquare Footage: N/ANarrow Mist, a traveling art project by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm (pictured here in Venice) is modeled after the house he grew up in, only it’s lost most of its width on a diet. The interior has narrow furniture, narrow bookshelves, a narrow landline telephone, narrow toilet and bathtub, and narrow rooms papered in 1970s patterns. Interior images can be found on the Design Boom .
Michela Simoncini

Price: $N/A
Bedrooms: N/A
Bathrooms: N/A
Square Footage: N/A

Narrow Mist, a traveling art project by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm (pictured here in Venice) is modeled after the house he grew up in, only it has lost most of its width on a diet. The interior has narrow furniture, narrow bookshelves, a narrow landline telephone, narrow toilet and bathtub, and narrow rooms papered in 1970s patterns. Interior images can be found on the Design Boom website.

Boston, Massachusetts

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Price: $345,000 in 2001Bedrooms: 2Bathrooms: 1Square Footage: 964The Skinny House in Boston’s North End was built as a “spite house” during a family feud and is the narrowest house in Boston. At its most slender, the exterior is 9.25 feet, and the narrowest part of the interior is 6.2 feet, making it one of those properties where an adult can touch both walls from the center of the room.  The four-level Skinny House has no front door (it’s entered from an alley) and the , but it still has more s
Boston | wikipedia.org

Price: $345,000 in 2001
Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 1
Square Footage: 964

The Skinny House in Boston’s North End was built as a “spite house” during a family feud and is the narrowest house in Boston. At its most slender, the exterior is 9.25 feet, and the narrowest part of the interior is 6.2 feet, making it one of those properties where an adult can touch both walls from the center of the room.  The four-level Skinny House has no front door (it’s entered from a side alley) and the guest room is a closet, but it still has more square footage than many apartments, plus a yard, so there’s that. 

Chicago, Illinois

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Price: $4,395,000Bedrooms: 6Bathrooms: 5.5Square Footage: N/AThis renovated 1877 on Chicago’s Gold Coast has a slender appearance but is actually rather sizable, with a 22 x 16 master bedroom and a 14 x 27 kitchen with butler’s pantry. Other features include mahogany panels in the (325 square foot) living room, built-ins in the family room, five fireplaces, and a finished basement. 

Price: $4,395,000
Bedrooms: 6
Bathrooms: 5.5
Square Footage: N/A

This renovated 1877 home on Chicago’s Gold Coast has a slender appearance but is actually rather sizable, with a 22 x 16 master bedroom and a 14 x 27 kitchen with butler’s pantry. Other features include mahogany panels in the (325 square foot) living room, built-ins in the family room, five fireplaces, and a finished basement.