Tri-Level Houses Remodeling

Tri-level houses

Tri-level housesTri-Level houses, better known as Split-level, are houses in which the floor levels are staggered. The origin of these types of houses is unknown, but it first originated in the Chicago area during the 1930s. It is characterized by living spaces which are a half-flight of stairs above the garage level, bedrooms stacked over the garage, a half-flight of stairs above the living level, and a half-basement level with daylight windows. A Sears and Roebuck plan book published in 1935, Modern Homes also featured these characteristics.

The term “split-level” became widely accepted by the late 1940s. That is just when the post-World War II building boom was making a start. Chicago was the place where these kinds of homes saw their modest beginnings. The trend started catching on as it spread to the Midwest and to the other northern states. The cost of building such homes was significantly lesser than the then prominent ranch type of houses, as they were built on different levels without a full traditional basement. They also had the added advantage of appearing to be two-storeyhigh despite being only a storey and a half high. They also offered a unique social space separation. The bedrooms stacked half-a-storey above the formal living space, and the informal living space found a half-storey below. They designed tri-level houses keeping in mind the modern mindset and requirements of the new generation homeowners.

The reason why the Tri-level type of houses caught on was basically because of three specific reasons. First, home buyers were asking for more area in houses but the plot sizes were decreasing instead of increasing. Stacking the bedroom over the garage was an effective method to squeeze a larger house into a smaller lot. Second, home buyers were searching for houses with more substantial presence and nostalgic appeal. Ranches, however efficient they were, simply did not have the same emotional appeal. Last, but definitely not the least, builders in the Midwest region of America were seeking methods to minimize the exorbitant costs of excavating the full traditional basements.

Because of the distinct demarcation of the living room, bedrooms and basement spaces, there was a provision to increase the size of the kitchen and to make it more open. This gave the opportunity to add windows which provide more natural light to the kitchen and the adjacent room areas. Tri-level houses can be divided into three basic forms – short-faced, long-faced, and the traditional. This article only talks about the kitchen area designed in each of these three types of tri-level houses.

1.Short-Faced Tri-Level Houses

This is the most contemporary form of tri-level houses, as it has the most economical design of the three. Here, the kitchen and the living and dining rooms are at the back, while the bedrooms face the house front. Normally, a central bearing wall isolates the kitchen, dining, and living rooms from each other. This adds a sense of privacy to all the rooms. Also, because of the extra size that can be allotted to these rooms, a kitchen island can be created. This adds a gathering space in the kitchen as well more storage and counter space. Furthermore, adding a skylight and windows and opening up the wall between the living room and the kitchen creates a bright, open and social space for people to gather.

2. Long Faced Tri-Level Houses

This creates a larger variety of houses of the tri-level types. Here, the kitchen and the other public spaces are located on one side and the bedrooms are on the other. In this type of house, the kitchen, though being compact, is a bit awkwardly laid out. This can be corrected by remodeling the kitchen and adding a peninsula which makes the workspace more efficient and also makes the kitchen much more social by creating space for people to gather. You can also try removing part of the existing wall between the kitchen and the dining room to make the two rooms feel larger, well lit and much more connected while providing ample storage space as well.

3.Traditional Tri-Level Houses:

This tri-level form dates back to the 50s and is the oldest and the most traditional of the three. The entry is on the same level as the social rooms – the kitchen, living, and dining rooms. Thus, there is very less protection from rain and sun at the front door.

In today’s standard of housing, there is high demand for larger social spaces, especially the kitchen and the living and dining rooms, and hence people prefer Tri-Level form of kitchens.

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