The Thinest of the Thin Houses

Very narrow houses are perfectly livable, if well designed. There are about 25 across the street from me on 12′ lots, which means they are  a bit more than 11′  wide inside. I think CCOC has a bunch a few blocks over, off Rochester. Nonetheless, very thin houses make City regulators expand with worry.

A new group of thin houses is under construction at Gladstone and Cambridge. They replace the famous “yellow house” with its Charlie Brown zig-zag brown stripe.

I have been anxiously awaiting their construction because they are thin – on 12′ lots. But the end unit, along Gladstone, is even thinner, being a Flat Iron design. The framing is up, and the thinnest of thin houses looks like this:

Notice the extraordinary narrowness at the western end, by the red brick house. Other features worth noting are the huge amount of glazing on the second floor; and the big opening on the ground floor is a “drive through” porte cochère to the rear courtyard with garages for the other units.

When finished, it might look something like this:

The ground floor space is commercial/retail space, augmented by a finished basement floor with washroom, kitchen, and office space that has a window facing Cambridge. The basement space appears to extend right under the drive through:

The entrance to the residential unit on floors 2 and 3 is accessed from a front door beside the driveway and stairs up. Here is the 2nd level floor plan:

And the pièce de résistance, the top floor, which unfortunately for those who like to be seen whilst brushing their teeth, apparently has the street side window beside the sink removed if we go by the “as built” rather than the sketchup and plan:

All that glazing on both sides of the flat iron bathroom reminds me of the old song Silhouettes on the Shade.

The project is called Bella Towns, and hopefully will give a needed shot in the arm to a deteriorated few blocks of Gladstone. The nice residential houses in the area are under continual attack. Neighbours and the community association have to keep a close eye on automobile lots that seek to consume housing, the latest parking lot issue being church-sponsored. Whether a neighbourhood on the brink goes up or down very much depends on the character of the most recent changes/developments.

For every Bella Towns or Uno townhouse development, or Chi condo, there are forces seeking to gut the residential neighbourhood. Vigilance against the bad; encouragement for the good.


yellow house pic and plans from their web site

8 thoughts on “The Thinest of the Thin Houses

  1. I’ve got to say that anything along this stretch is likely to be an improvement. It’s such a hodge-podge. But really, if you have $400,000.00 (starting at) is this really the spot downtown you want to live? Spacious balconies are all very nice but what’s the view? Bell Towers, some auto-shops? I really think this would have been a good spot for affordable housing where perhaps the tenants are not as concerned about the view.

  2. Chris: If you read the marketing material on their website, you get the feeling that the developers never actually visited the site themselves, but only listened to someone telling them it’s “close to Little Italy”.

    I have a hard enough time with just one window facing Gladstone; these are entire walls of windows, even closed to the street than mine. Pray no nudists occupy that end unit–it’s right across from a school! 😉

    1. Well we are at it, can you tell me why regulators worry about a lot of things? I mean the market will decide if people want to pay less (in theory) to live in thin houses – it is not a health and safety issue…

  3. The units are freehold and low-rise plus they get a view of a grassy school yard… sure beats the view from the new Gotham condos. Just sayin’. Our windows face Gladstone, and we like watching the street traffic. Really, it’s not *that* bad of a place to live.

    1. Speaking as one of the local comics fans, and considering there’s an NYC-themed condo development already in place out around the Experimental Farm (more on which will appear in an upcoming Spacing Ottawa “Street Names” installment), I wonder why that particular tower got that particular name.

  4. I agree it’s a pretty awesome area to live in. I’m currently around the corner on Bell Street. We wanted to move to a bigger place but couldn’t bear the idea of leaving the ‘hood. Found a CCOC place on Bronson — yes, Bronson — that we’re very excited to get into.
    And psst… there’s a funky new sandwich place going in beside that red brick house.

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