If "quirky charm" describes your ideal home environment, you might find life in a railroad-style apartment fits you like a T. Found in older tenement houses and subdivided brownstones, primarily in older cities like New York and San Francisco, railroad-style apartments offer a less expensive alternative to skyrocketing rents in those locales.
But, because railroad-style apartments consist of a series of rooms off one long hallway, their design is not for everyone. However, for budget-conscious renters in certain parts of the U.S., that quirkiness is the price to pay for spending less on rent. The close quarters and unique layout of a railroad-style abode are best suited to people living alone or with a partner since privacy is at a premium.
A railroad-style apartment is a dwelling traditionally found in older tenement buildings or subdivided brownstones with a layout consisting of succeeding rooms off one central hallway. Sometimes, rooms in these apartments don't have doors off their hallway, so privacy is an issue.
For some, the clunky layouts of railroad-style apartments are unmanageable. However, for renters who find old-fashioned charm appealing, a railroad-style apartment is ideal.
Because all the abode's living areas are off a single, long hallway, rooms themselves are typically larger. There aren't other hallways usurping living space. The style dates back to the mid-19th century to combat overcrowding in burgeoning urban areas.
Since the dwellings are older, they tend to feature charming old-world elements, such as gas radiators and long windows.
Because of their awkward layout, which can infringe on a person's privacy if someone else is around, the rent for this style of apartment is less than more conventional apartments.
Living in a structure erected between 100 to 200 years ago means life without certain creature comforts. For example, buildings erected that long ago usually aren't equipped with elevators. Ever heard of a "walk-up'" apartment? That means the structure is sans an elevator, so residents need to climb stairs to get home.
Due to the clunky layouts of railroad-style abodes, they're best for a solo tenant or a couple. If privacy is a concern, this style of apartment isn't the best option.
Moreover, a creative eye is helpful when determining how best to utilize the space in this type of abode. Therefore, if creativity is not your strong suit, hiring a designer may help. Of course, there's a cost involved with such a service.
The second type of railroad-style living is the shotgun apartment. Like the traditional railroad-style abode, the apartment's layout is unusual.
While a railroad-style apartment features rooms off a long hallway, the shotgun abode has no hallway. Instead, you walk through one room to get to the next. Privacy does not exist in the shotgun apartment, so named because if a person shot a bullet at the entrance, it would sail directly through the entire place and out the back door.
Decorating an apartment offering layout challenges offers the opportunity of expressing one's personality on a smaller scale. For example, because windows are generally located on one side of the apartment, natural light is at a premium. Therefore, the proper placement of lights and mirrors is of paramount concern.
According to Makespace, there are numerous decorating suggestions for transforming a challenging place into a gem of a home. For example, hanging long curtains on windows adds a pop of color, as well as privacy.
Other suggestions include:
While the inconvenient layout of a railroad-style apartment can make living in one a challenge, their quirky details dating back more than 100 years lend themselves to creative décor opportunities. Not only that, they present a great opportunity of living in astronomically expensive rental markets, like New York City and San Francisco, at more affordable rates.