Townhouse Renovation Ideas Part I: The Parlour Floor

There are as many ways to renovate a townhouse as there are townhouses themselves. In this series, I’d like to share a variety of good ideas I’ve seen lately, along with the strengths of each design and a few examples of floor plans. 

 Parlour Floor Plans 

When these homes were originally built in the 1880s, the parlour floor was used for entertaining. Hence most parlour floors included a front parlour (for conversation) and, much more importantly, a rear formal dining room along with a butler’s pantry. Today, many high-end renovations are readopting this classic floor plan. The simplicity of this plan maximizes width. When you have a wide house like our 25-foot exclusive at 60 West 83rd Street, a classic plan will result in jaw-dropping rooms with an unbelievable sense of scale. The grand entertaining and intimate formal dining areas are adjoined by a set of pocket doors. (See proposed parlour floor plan at left.) 
Of course, it’s been 7 years since an unfinished Park Block 25-footer like this one was available, so not everyone gets this width. But this plan will work with almost any width. 

Another recent trend in parlour floor layouts is to put the kitchen in the parlour rear in addition to the formal dining room. 
One good argument for this floor plan is that in the 21st century we eat, converse, and relax in the kitchen. By putting a stylish kitchen on the parlour rear, you avoid turning the parlour floor into a formal “museum piece” where nobody spends time as they traverse from the informal garden-level kitchen to the third floor Master Bedroom level above. 
At 338 West 15th Street, the proposed single-family plans (left) include a parlour rear kitchen open to below. A glass rear wall floods the garden and parlour levels, and even the basement level, with light. In this example the formal dining area is in the center of the parlour floor. 
 Next Time: Master Suite Floor Plans
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