Terrace house: design ideas, inspiration & pictures

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Terraced house or terrace house is a series of similarly built residential buildings set in a row. Also known as row houses, they were a characteristic feature of the 16th century European cities. They were built to provide housing solutions to a large number of people. In the present time too, terrace houses provide shelters to many families in densely populated cities like Singapore. Architecturally they are similar to each other. Compared to bespoke villas and other types of detached family homes, they are also very affordable.

Are terraced houses common in Singapore?

Terraced houses are fairly common in Singapore. Sometimes they are built as a townhouse meant for single families. Commonly though, they are intended as multifamily dwellings. In such cases, one or more than one apartments occupy every floor. Apartment sizes are limited to 100 sq metres and are planned with two to three bedrooms. Only the luxury townhouses are designed with five bedroom apartments.

Where are they more prevalent?

Townhouses are seen by Meyer Road, Parade Road, Lange Road, Palm Grove Avenue and in Bukit Timah. Though availability of space remains a concern, these houses are seldom taller than three storeys. Some of the pricier ones come with a small garden. You have the option of buying a new house or building one yourself. You can also buy an old house and renovate it according to your needs.

Are there any famous terraced houses worth mentioning?

Some of the famous residential buildings in Singapore include Gallery House, Far Sight House, T House, Wing House, Butterfly House, Hillside House, Park House and Armadillo House. But architecturally speaking, many of these do not qualify as townhouses. Some of the newly built row houses that will catch your immediate attention are Gilstead Brooks, The Chancery Residences, Binjai Crest and The Shaughnessy. Townhouses are sometimes called as cluster houses in Singapore. Orchid County is a hotbed of upcoming row housing projects.

Legal issues that may arise when building a terraced houses

While buying a plot in Singapore, take assistance from a reputed local property agent. Land prices are high here and you will need someone with good experience about Singapore’s real estate market to locate a plot within your budget. Whether you are building a house ground up or buying an existing one, you are expected to get into a buyer’s agreement. You will also have to pay at least 1% of the payable amount of the property at this time. Depending upon your agreement with the seller, the rest is payable in instalments or at the time of registration.  

Pros and cons of owning a townhouse in Singapore

Due to high property prices, it is difficulty to acquire a detached family dwelling in Singapore. Terraced houses offer the most cost-effective alternative. Being freehold properties, they are more lucrative than HDB flats. In Singapore, row houses are built close to community centres and golf courses. So they offer better facilities and ensure a greener environment than some of the other parts of city.

Row houses are costlier than HDB flats and other types of apartments. Though the pace of development has gone up in the recent years, it is still insufficient to fulfil the needs of prospective homeowners. Row houses are built according to pre-defined plans. There is little or no choice available in terms of design. This may not suite your lifestyle. Many people also do not like the idea of living in a house that is exactly same as their neighbour’s.  

Maintenance & costs

Cost of maintaining a row house depends on the size and expanse of your property as well as your lifestyle. However, some charges are recurrent and are to be paid irrespective of the size and style of the building. This includes service charges to maintain a clean and habitable interior environment, fees for keeping the premises secure, utility bills and parking fees. 

If it a new house, then the charges of maintaining the structure will be fairly low in the beginning. Old houses will require greater attention and funds for repairing the damages, painting the interior and exterior of the building, installing or improving the insulation and so on. You will need a minimum annual budget of around SGD 1200 to cover all these costs. 

Which professionals are able to help you?

Do you want to buy an existing townhouse and then redesign it to your liking? Then discuss your needs with an experienced architect. To make changes in the floor plan, seek help from interior architects. Kitchen planners will be able to assist you modify an existing kitchen and redecorate it according to your preferences.

On the other hand, seek the opinions of an architect to plan out the details of your dream home. Interior designers will be able to stylise the interior of your dwelling to a style of your choice. For decorating your front yard and terrace, don’t forget to seek opinions of a landscape designer.   

Where to find inspiration to build one or decorate your terraced home?

Finding yourself a little short on décor inspirations? homify’s online platform will give you thousands of images of every possible architectural style – from country décor to Scandinavian. You can also see the contemporary front facades to give your house a stylish twist. You may also seek inspirations from nature. Take time out to do your research and enjoy stepping into your first terrace house.