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Terrace house design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Terrace houses or terraced houses demonstrate a style of medium-density housing that originated in Europe in the 16th century, where a row of identical or mirror-image houses share side walls. They are also known as townhouses, row houses or linked houses.

What is the origin of terrace houses?

Terrace housing can be found throughout the world, though it is in abundance in Europe and Latin America, and extensive examples can be found in Northern America and Australia.

The term terrace was borrowed from garden terraces by British architects of the late Georgian period to describe streets of houses whose uniform fronts and uniform height created an ensemble that was more stylish than a "row". Townhouses (or townhomes) are generally multi family houses that share a wall with a neighbouring unit. As opposed to an apartment building, townhouses do not have neighbouring units above or below them. They are similar in concept to row houses or terraced houses, except they are usually divided into smaller groupings of homes. The first and last of these houses is called an end terrace, and is often a different layout from the houses in the middle, sometimes called mid-terrace.

Are terraced houses popular in India?

Introduced around the beginning of the twentieth century, terraced houses have been adopted in India since the country's' early British colonial rule. Based on British terraced home designs, the Indian variations are similar to their British counterparts (in which the living quarters are located on the front and top floor and the kitchen at the back) and were adapted to accommodate the area's tropical weather, which is primarily warm throughout the year and receives heavy rainfall. Earlier versions were more open, designed to better circulate air and feature inner courtyards, with a frontal yard, rear yard, or both. A typical Indian terraced house is usually one or two floors high, but a handful of three or four storey terraced homes exist, especially newer terraced houses. Earlier variations followed traditional Indian architecture.

When compared with detached homes and semi-detached houses, terraced houses are relatively cheaper. This singular advantage has made them more appealing to home buyers. Terraced property has become increasingly popular over the last few years, often appealing to first-time buyers and young families. This rising popularity has been matched by a steady increase in value, with the average price of terraced property going up faster than any other property type in the past decade. Terrace houses have a distinct place in popular culture in India. Almost the entire length of the superhit Bollywood movie Delhi 6 and the popular song “Ambarsariya Mundeya” features terrace houses. Even though terraced houses are popular throughout the country, it is a more common form of housing in Punjab and the northern parts of India, rather than the South.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of terraced houses?

Besides being one of the cheapest type of housing available in India, terraced houses also have other advantages. Most terraced houses have at least a small piece of land attached to it outside, which is great for pets, kids and provides a safe parking space as well.

The shared walls of terrace houses offer very good thermal insulation and also makes it larger on the inside. Because walls are shared, there’s more ‘house space’ even on a very small lot. Having neighbours closeby can be helpful sometimes, and with terrace housing, bumping into your neighbour is more likely. However, unfortunately neighbours can also be noisy and nosy, and these are some of the cons of terraced houses. The noise pollution and lack of privacy can be annoying, but there are ways to improve your situation. For example, double glazing can mitigate a lot of noise pollution. You can also use furniture such as heavy cabinets to act as a secondary boundary between shared walls. Take note that carpets and curtains can help absorb the noise, while tiles and blinds will reflect it. Fences and well placed plants can also provide a vital screen to help you hide from your nosy neighbour.

What should I keep in mind about maintenance and construction in terraced houses?

Before stepping inside a potential terraced property, take a good look at the external appearance of the house. Consider how much maintenance or repair you may have to carry out – are there any visible faults or flaws which may need closer inspection? Building consultants or inspection firms can carry out pre-purchase inspections and so, if you’re in any doubt about the structural condition of the property, it’s best to get the house checked out by an architect. The prices of terraced houses in India start from about Rs 2,200/ square feet, have features like easily assembled, eco friendly and one can end up saving 35 percent cost compared to a steel and concrete house which can cost about Rs. 20 lakh, excluding the price of the land.

Keep in mind that terraced houses often have narrow staircases and hallways, making the manoeuvre of furniture and large items much trickier than usual. When viewing the property, consider the practicalities of getting your furniture into the respective rooms within the house. Compact terrace houses can suffer from a considerable lack of storage. You might want to consider the amount of storage you will need, and whether the storage available will be sufficient for you or your family.