Jack & Jill

Jack & Jill; the Skinny Twins

This project, located in East Kensington, began with a big challenge—take two twelve-foot-wide lots and design a pair of rowhouses that doesn’t feel narrow inside.

Traditionally, rowhouse stairs are in the center of the plan, which makes the middle rooms narrow. That’s not a big deal if you’re working with typical widths, but here, we had to be more creative. The stairs in this project were pushed right up to the front of the building, just inside the front façade, and have a winding configuration. This allowed for the space beyond to be open and light-filled, and for the stair to be a dramatic feature, rather than just a utilitarian element.

The first-floor main spaces (living, dining, and kitchen) flow together. Upstairs, the second and third floors contain one bedroom and one bathroom each. An open sitting area is adjacent to the stairs on each of the upper levels, taking advantage of the tall vertical stairwell. The stairwell, with its open shape and stacked windows, helps bring daylight deep into the space, aided by transoms into the rooms beyond.

On the exterior, the two homes read as one. This de-emphasizes the individual narrowness of the houses, adding a bit of surprise once inside. The cladding is corrugated weathering steel, which complements the industrial history of the neighborhood. Solid steel juxtaposes with the vertically-stacked windows.

Project Size: 2,150 sf (each house)
Program: Two new rowhouses, each with three bedrooms and three bathrooms


The stairs are pushed to the front of the house, leaving the remaining spaces at full width.

rendering updated for design awards.jpg

An early rendering starts to describe the character of the finished building.

Cor-TEN steel weathers over time

Photo by Jordan Baumgarten

The stair becomes a sculptural feature of the entryway.

Photo by Jordan Baumgarten

Sitting areas on each floor create an open feel to the space.

Photo by Jordan Baumgarten

The stairs allow ample light to make its way deep into the narrow building.

Photo by Jordan Baumgarten

Galley kitchen with bar seating.

Photo by Jordan Baumgarten

The living area takes advantage of the full width of the space, without stairs intruding.

Photo by Jordan Baumgarten

Rear yard space is wrapped by a simple wood fence.

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