Remodeling Ideas for Homes on Narrow Lots

Homeowners in Washington, DC are no stranger to limited space. Many buyers prefer the smaller, lower-maintenance homes on narrower lots—perhaps after several years, you’ve decided you want to remodel but aren’t sure where to start.

The Wentworth, Inc. team has experience remodeling all types of row houses, townhomes, and other small residences in the DC metropolitan area. We have a few tips for homeowners of narrow lot homes who are looking to make updates but need ideas. After all, additions can sometimes be a challenge due to lack of space and zoning restrictions.

Small Home Ideas

Beautiful does not necessarily mean big.

A home with limited space does not have limited design options! There are plenty of ways to maximize space in your house and improve daily living. Small homes can be just as beautiful as large, spacious ones.

Take Advantage of Unused Space

More often than not, homeowners have under-utilized space in their home. Reconfiguring interior space is a fantastic alternative to building an addition. These underused areas are typically the:

  • Attic
  • Basement
  • Porch
  • Awkward or oddly shaped areas

If you have any of these areas in your home, consider how much you spend time there. Is it worth keeping as is, or would you get more use and enjoyment out of transforming it into a space you don’t have?

Attic conversions: Converting your attic into a livable room is not only an excellent way to expand space but may also be possible at a reasonable cost, depending on the final design. Generally, a ceiling of the minimal legal height (7 feet, 6 inches), staircase at least 36 inches wide with risers and treads that meet current codes, and a bedroom egress window that meets current building codes will allow you to remodel your attic in the most cost-effective way.

Basement remodeling: Basements, particularly cramped and dreary ones, can be put to better use as kids’ playrooms, home offices, hobby areas, or guest rooms/in-law suites. We have even added laundry rooms and wet bars/entertainment areas to basements.

Porch remodeling: If your home has a porch that you don’t use often, it’s a great way to add space without building out. For instance, an under-utilized porch off a kitchen can be turned into a breakfast room. In some cases, a home does not need more space—just better space.

Odd spaces: Even irregularly shaped areas or other otherwise awkward spaces—such as under the stairs, excessive hallway space, or an oversized room—can be turned into something useful.

Small Home Ideas

Add the Illusion of Space

Light is very important in small homes. Space is limited as it is, so using the illusion of light to brighten the environment and make the home appear larger is a smart solution. Bring in natural light where you can, with design elements such as floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights. Using white for wall paint, furniture, décor, and more also helps visually expand the space—and a vaulted ceiling can help achieve this as well. Removing walls and opening up the space is another solution for making a home appear more spacious.

Create Smart Storage Space

In this context, we mean space-saving elements that can also be used for storage. Ideas for this include:

Home Remodeling in Washington, DC

No matter the size, shape, or style of your home, the Wentworth team can help you improve it so that you can live more comfortably and enjoyably. Narrow lots don’t need to narrow down remodeling ideas for your home—there are many ways to maximize space. It just takes the right design-build team to unlock your home’s potential!

View Wentworth’s gallery to see past remodels we’ve completed in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia—and contact us today if you’re ready to start your project.

“ Hi, Bruce,
I look forward to your articles in Chevy Chase Village Life -- I love bungalows so I immediately read the article in the latest issue that arrived yesterday (as your team was here planning for the photo shoot). I also liked the Sponsor Spotlight this month -- featuring your company. Is it possible to get a reprint or link to your article on porches that appeared recently? I would love to add one to our NC beach home, but so far no one has been able to figure out how to get access from the inside to the outside! I know my sister would love to see the article too. Thanks for ALL of your amazing work. I hope you will feel free (and confident) to use us as references. The only hard part will be communicating what an outstanding job -- beyond our high expectations -- your team did for us. We are demanding, but your team is more demanding in the excellence that they deliver. ”

Linda, Chevy Chase, MD