Townhouse – The history of a house that shaped the great European cities

12 March 2021

The townhouse, a chic urban home, offers the discreet backdrop for many memorable films and is subject to numerous touristic photos. Who has not stopped in his track, amazed by the multi-coloured facades along Amsterdam’s water canals or admiring London’s elegant white houses? These are only 2 examples, but townhouses are representative of all major European capitals and large US cities, offering a spacious and comfortable living solution, perfectly adapted to urban realities.

Avalon Estate brings to the Romanian residential market the townhouse – a highly qualitative urban house, that perfectly combines the advantages of a suburban house with the versatility of an apartment. Townhouses have a long tradition and undeniable advantages that make them the ideal homes for those who seek an active life, without compromising on space or quality.

What is a townhouse?

In the absence of a more inspired name, townhouses are urban houses characterized by a small footprint, compensated by the presence of several floors, generally between 2 and 4. Each such house has 2 individual entrances, directly from the outside, and shares 2 walls with the neighbouring houses. Townhouses have terraces, often generous, and some of them even have small gardens.

In their modern form, these big city houses allow their owners to live comfortably, to have a sophisticated lifestyle and, at the same time, to enjoy all the advantages of urban life.

Townhouse have regained public attention in recent decades, due to their undeniable advantages: generous space, similar to that offered by a detached house, but at a better price, the independence of an individual house without the stress and high costs of caring for a detached house, but also quick access to services and facilities.

Townhouses, or the image of an idyllic, modern city

Townhouses originated in Paris in the seventeenth century, when King Henry IV commissioned the construction of Place Royale, which would become after the French Revolution Place des Vosges – the oldest square in Paris and one of the most beautiful European squares.

The idea behind the project – one of the first examples of monarchy led urban planning – was to create facades that would make you think of a palace, that would impress with their symmetry, and that would nurture the growth of a community. Of course, the community that the French monarch had in mind was made up of nobles from the royal court, who could thus meet in the public space, in a pleasant and elegant environment, protected from the realities of seventeenth century Paris. The elegant facades were reminiscent of the famous Venetian and Florentine palazzi, in turn inspired by the classical Roman architecture.

The concept was shortly after taken over in Great Britain, offering the nobles and the bourgeoisie an elegant and comfortable home for the social season. The name of “townhouse” has its origins in the opposition of this summer residence to the more permanent one – country house or country estate.

Townhouses became representative of London with the rebuilding of the city following the Great Fire of 1666. Their small footprint and versatility made them ideal for a city eager to reinvent itself.

From here to the famous Brooklyn brownstones was just a step. When departing Europe, immigrants took with them this way of building and developing a city and adapted it to local realities. They used the materials that were available, and which gave the reddish colour, specific to New York facades.

Townhouses are as varied as the cities and cultures that imagined them. But they all have in common the fact that they are built in a row, while maintaining their individuality.

Why to choose a townhouse?

If you cannot decide between a house and an apartment, then a townhouse might be the right choice for you, combining the best of both worlds. A modern townhouse impresses with its layout, the quality of construction and finishes and the freedom it offers to its owners. Here are some of the strengths of a townhouse:

  • Generous space…

In a townhouse you have several bedrooms, a spacious kitchen, terraces, enough bathrooms for a large family and storage spaces. Consisting of several floors, a townhouse gives you all the space you need for you and your family. The arrangement on several floors allows you to delimit areas dedicated to various functions. For example, the bedrooms can be placed on separate floors of the living room, so you can enjoy an evening in the company of friends, while the kids can sleep upstairs without being bothered by the noise.

  • … but at lower prices

The price of a townhouse is lower than that of an individual house offering similar space. In addition, the costs for the maintenance and upkeep of this type of housing solution are lower.

  • More independence, less hassle

With a townhouse, you do not have to worry about taking care of the garden, because the green area in front of your house is considered part of the community spaces, so it is cared for through the owners’ association. Finally, you have the luxury of locking the door and going on holiday for a longer period, without worrying about the plants in the garden dying while you are away.

The owners’ association also plays a very important role in maintaining the overall image of the neighbourhood, clearly regulating what exterior changes can be made to a house and thus maintaining the quality of the area and the value of the properties.

  • You are part of a community and enjoy all the facilities and services made available

Townhouses are part of residential complexes that offer the owners access to facilities such as private parks, clubs, swimming pools. All this is in walking distance, so you do not waste valuable time in traffic.

Want to know more about townhouses and how we transposed this concept into Avalon Estate? Come back to our blog or follow us on social media for new information.

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