Duplexes have gotten a bad rap. They show up in neighborhoods with the same look, same floor plans and no room for imagination. They are often thought of as utilitarian dwellings that allow developers to squeeze more homes onto a lot. Duplexes, in other words, are practical and simple.
But it’s time to think differently and look at multi-family housing with new eyes.
Duplexes are going upscale, blending the best of single-family living with the convenience and affordability of simpler living. Large modern kitchens, vaulted ceilings and elegant gathering spaces blend with minimal shared walls and private entrances in these two duplex floor plans from Associated Designs Inc. based in Eugene, Ore.
“Duplexes can be more than just practical living,” said Rick McAlexander, CEO of Associated Designs. “With amped-up square footage and upscale features and finishes, multi-family living is pretty much the best of both worlds. It’s the next level of sought-after living spaces.”
Vaulted Gathering Space
When you see this floor plan, you can put all your predetermined notions of multi-family living to bed. The Vancouver (60-031) is an attractive Craftsman-style duplex designed for construction on land with a slight upslope to the rear. The result is a split-level layout that puts the garage at ground level, a large vaulted gathering space and owners’ suite a half-flight up, and secondary bedrooms another half-flight up.
While the two interior floor plans are mirror images of each other, that’s where the similarity ends because this is not your typical duplex. Minute changes in the layout, the finishes and the interior make each unit special.
A gabled entry porch welcomes you into a vaulted living room connected to the dining room for a truly awesome gathering space lit with natural light from large Craftsman windows. Entertaining will be no hardship in this ample great room! A handy mini bathroom is just off the entryway and a utility room with extra storage space is just off the owners’ suite. The G-shaped large kitchen opens up into the dining room with a cozy breakfast eating bar.
“From the kitchen, you can keep tabs on activities in the spacious vaulted great room or day dream as you look outside to a comfy porch,” said McAlexander. “This might be one of my favorite duplex designs if only because of it’s unique layout.”
The owners’ suite is a true masterpiece, complete with vaulted ceilings and a walk-in closet. A dual vanity, linen closet and large shower highlight the master bathroom. The second level has two large bedrooms with a full bathroom in between. And at 1,871 square feet including a one-car garage for each unit, it’s multi-family living with an unusually beautiful flair.
The Vernon (60-019) is also not your typical, mirror-image duplex. Privacy is the key in these two 1,600-square-foot units. The unit’s entrances even face in different directions, so for all intents and purposes, each home is a very separate dwelling with only one shared wall. The second floor doesn’t share a wall at all.
“Not everything has to be the same,” said McAlexander. “In fact, with this duplex home design, both the inside and out are just a little different. They may have the same high-class materials, but the layout and the finishing touches are uniquely their own.”
For instance, the large kitchen in Unit A showcases an ample central work island and a deep storage closet to the right of the hidden laundry room. The kitchen in Unit B, on the other hand, opens to the dining room and has an ample peninsula-top that doubles as a buffet for festive gatherings. Modern appliances and fixtures coupled with ample room make the kitchen its own gathering space.
But this duplex also has room for entertaining. The dining and living rooms in each unit flow together to make one large great room filled with ample natural light. In Unit B, the dining room opens to the partially covered patio via sliding doors, while in Unit A, a door from both the dining room and the garage open onto a private patio.
Each unit has two bedrooms and a spacious owners’ suite on the second floor, but again that’s where the similarity ends. The owners’ suite in Unit B has its own vanity area and a large walk-in closet but the rest of the bathroom is shared. In Unit A, the owners’ suite has its own bathroom entirely with a linen closet and a large wall closet.
Sometimes you need to think outside the box to really see the possibilities. With these two unique duplex home designs, multi-family housing has gone to the next level of upscale living.
Have your eyes been opened yet?