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Two Point Five – The Next Postgreen Homes Model

by Nic Darling on May 26, 2010 · 18 comments

in architecture,Design,floorplan

We are about to release our newest Postgreen Homes model and felt that we should throw it up here for some discussion first. Up until now we have limited ourselves to two story buildings. We have hung well below the height limits set by zoning and tried to perfect that old school Philly staple of two beds and one bath. We are ready to try something different.

No, we won’t be going three story like everyone else. We won’t exactly be building the “money floor” as some builders like to call it. Instead we will be building half a third story or a “point five” addition to our original two. The new model will feature a third floor master bedroom/artist studio/office that opens up onto a roof deck. The second floor will technically be two or three bedrooms though we imagine the front bedroom will likely be more of an office/flex space as you will have to walk through it to get to the top floor. The first floor will remain that same beautiful plan we have grown so fond of through our first seven homes.

But enough words. Take a look at the plans and tell us what you think.

So, tell us what you think of the floor plans and the second floor options. Also let us know whether we should call it The 2.5, The Two Point Five or The 2 Point 5. You can do all that and more in the comments.

If you enjoyed reading this post I can promise you'll love our new writing over at Postgreen Homes. Yeah, we know that's the same thing your favorite band said and their new album is nowhere near as good as their early stuff, but seriously, we are actually still getting better.

There also isn't much conversation to be had here . . . at least not with us. So come on over to the Postgreen Homes Blog and tell us what you think of our new(ish) digs and crazy ideas. We will be sure to tell you what we think of your opinion.

{ 1 trackback }

Two Point Five: New Model . . . New Project
June 10, 2010 at 6:12 pm

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Brandon May 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm

I’ve enjoyed watching the progress of Postgreen, but this is the first model which would actually meet the needs of my family. If we lived in Philadelphia, I’d be looking very hard at this! The three-bedroom config would be great with our two boys, allowing us to have a proper living room and shunt the electronics into a second-floor family room. The roof terrace is a fantastic way to incorporate the outdoors into an urban home, too.

Love it!

I would vote for Two.Five or Two.5ive (I know they aren’t on your list…)

2 ben May 27, 2010 at 4:02 am

hi post green

i love your work….. but

this all seems quite in efficient, basically adding a whole floor without really adding a bedroom.

is there scope to re set the from facade and partition of a single bedroom in the front? at least that way you get the extra room.

picky i know, but i’ve been doing loads of small commercial apartments ‘maximise rooms maximise!’ so i’ve got my extra room head on.


3 Mike May 27, 2010 at 8:33 am

I like “Second floor option A,” since it maintains a really nice configuration of bedrooms and bathrooms. Even if you forego the studio space, a basement could easily serve the same purpose(I’m a bassist, so basements are my natural habitat anyhow!)

I don’t know much about terraces. Do they represent a source of solar gain? Does the green roof / trellis offset that possibility?

4 Mike May 27, 2010 at 8:34 am

Oh, and my vote goes to the “Two Point Five.” This isn’t some gadget you can just enumerate and cram full of decimal points. It’s a house. Far better served by words.

5 Heather May 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm

I remember you were not thrilled that people were insisting on three bedrooms, but this is the model that will sell the most and will bring families to urban areas. You wanted kids to share rooms, but there are so many boy/girl combinations as well as kids of very different ages (4+ years between) who simply don’t want to share rooms and this plan accomodates them instead of insists they fit your mold. I like the plan a lot. A master bedroom with deck sounds fantastic.

6 Jim Wild May 27, 2010 at 12:38 pm

is this blog a bit like an architectural version of open-source software? I’ve always liked the open-source software model and wondered how else it could be applied.

7 Chad Ludeman May 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Ben – I’m not sure we’re following you. The third floor adds a master bed with bath walking out onto a partial roof deck. Moving the master bed also allows the second floor to more easily accommodate 2 separate bedrooms and one flex space.

8 ben May 28, 2010 at 7:36 am


i’m not trying to start an online bicker-fest and i really do like the work you guys are doing

what i was trying to say, hamfistedly was that the post green house works really well as a 2 storey unit and that the addition of a 3rd level makes it less efficient as you lose all the first floor space to circulation around the stair.

The addition of an extra stair and another floor and all the associated costs structure etc… only really gets you one more room (plus ensuite) just seems quite an expensive way to do it.

That being said its a lovely plan and i’d kill for a master bedroom/ deck combo ( not so handy in northern england but still) and you are well within your rights to tell be to go stick my head in a pig and demand that i put some of my work up for public critique, and i wouldn’t as it’s all pretty derivative, footballers-wives tosh.

9 Diogenes Goldberg May 28, 2010 at 8:38 am

Echoing what Brandon said: I suspect that this will (with explicit accommodation for a car — there, I said it) dramatically broaden the appeal of your homes. Love the access to the great outdoors from the room — was wondering when you’d get to it. By the way, Chad, what kind of motorcycle is that parked in front of your place?

Two suggestions: Increase ceiling height (this has been written about briefly before, but I would add my opinion that this is one of the things that makes brownstones and lofts special); and keep your per square foot price point down where it is now.

Oh, one other thought: another thing about brownstones and infill — and space-constrained Japanese urban homes — is the privacy and tranquility created by small walled gardens in the back. I know you know this, and you have a start with Awesome Town — but would urge you to expand upon this theme in your own projects.

Very exciting — best of luck!

10 Nelson May 28, 2010 at 8:39 am

Wow, this looks great. The roof terrace off of the master bedroom looks to be an attracive spot to spend some time outside. Plus the overall plan and options should really open up your market.
I like Two Point Five. For the same reason Mike stated plus that name seems to fit the plan on several levels of interpretation including the fact that Postgreen is making the ‘point’ that it is possible to build green, efficient and economical.

11 Mike May 28, 2010 at 8:47 am

Actually, the continued discussion about the much broader appeal of this house makes me wonder; whats the stigma of a complete 3rd floor?

Would replacing the terrace with another room for storage, another bedroom or an office conflict with Philadelphia’s building code, or somehow inhibit the environmental qualities of the house?

I think the terrace has tremendous appeal (especially when the ivy/climber on the trellis is fully grown), but would a complete 3rd floor broaden the appeal of Postgreen homes in general? I ask this honestly, I don’t know a thing about Philly housing customs, rules or real estate trends.

As was said in an earlier thread (I forget which specifically), appraisers often ignore efficiency or eco-friendly upgrades to homes. Would a complete third floor ensure a higher appraised resale value, thus making it more attractive to younger families with kids as a long-term home & investment?

12 Chad Ludeman May 28, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Some great comments here. Ben, I see your point now in that you could look at it as only adding a flex space, since the master bedroom is basically moving from the 2nd to 3rd floor. Certainly no hard feelings in your comments. That’s why they’re here.

Adding the half 3rd floor is something we’ve been wanting to do for a while. It certainly adds cost and makes it difficult to sell under $300K in the areas we are currently building. Having said that, it adds less cost psf than the other floors as we already have a foundation and roof whose costs are not changing.

Keeping the 3rd story half size with a walk out deck does a few things for us:

  • We add cheap square footage (roughly half our normal SF build cost for a 2 story home average).
  • We get a private Master Suite or Office or Production Room… that is secluded from the rest of the house.
  • We get access in the most economical and energy efficient way to a roof deck which everyone loves. Building the roof deck on top of a full 3rd story is more expensive and more difficult to maintain our high-efficiency envelope design.
  • We get a house that can accommodate a family with 3-5 bedrooms that is still well below the US averages for family homes which is a core of our brand. The average 2.5 would be about 1700 SF while the averages for 3,4 and 5 bedrooms in the US are 1900, 2600 and 2850 SF respectively.
  • With a trellis, full solar capacity is still possible.
  • A usable green roof section is also now available if desired.

Hopefully this helps give a bit more insight into our thinking behind this model and thanks again for the great comments.

13 Dan June 1, 2010 at 2:53 am

Why have the daytime living spaces on the ground floor, wouldn’t it make more sense to have them at the top of the building to make the most of available light?

14 Glen P. Gollrad June 1, 2010 at 9:06 am

Great looking plans / concept – new to the site and your work (thank you social media!). Great way to fire up some meaningful dialog and hone designs. With what looks like a solid track record doing classic infill / brownstone work coupled with simple, smart efficient ideas – this additional top floor makes a very appealing plan overall. I too like the “A” model where there are (2) bedrooms on the 2nd floor – but it’s obviously simple and cheap to build either version – 1 or 2 rooms – depending on user needs or space requirements.

The third 1/2 story, among other things – boosts the building ‘stack effect’ too, which I’m sure you’ve figured on. Opening a large set of doors and the windows up at the roof level and having windows open below obviously provide great air circulation. A roof terrace that is shaded by a trellis & solar equipment is a simple, elegant solution. In an urban context, these roof top hide-outs are true gems. Having lived in NYC for a number of years – I valued these spaces greatly.

That second story ‘flex space’ in these plans makes a great den/play/family area that is so much less formal than the first floor, and where I could imagine winding down – but still be within earshot of my not-so-sound sleeping 3 year old in the evenings.

The core of your brand is spot on. Whether urban or rural – I believe there is a need to show that smart, efficient, well thought out design trumps gross square footage any day. This site, your work, and the conversation here make a solid platform to illustrate this! Thank you.

15 Pink Robe June 1, 2010 at 2:23 pm

What is the overall height of the home? Also, how difficult would it be to flip the terrace to the front instead of the back? Our local building codes look disapprovingly on any balcony or terrace facing the back yard…

16 Goran June 7, 2010 at 6:51 am

There is something that feels basically good about adding inexpensive square footage in an energy efficient manner. I want to live small as far as energy and environment are concerned, but don’t want to throw away things that add utility and comfort efficiently. Things like second baths don’t add a big environmental impact, but do make life more comfortable if a house has more than two people in it.

And as the Fuji Kindergarten demonstrates, a rooftop terrace makes a great safe place for young children to play (as does a courtyard.)

On a side note, we took the family truckster (in this case our one year old daughter’s convertible stroller) to Japan last week. In addition to visiting the Fuji Kindergarten, and Woods of Nets, we visited some typical Japanese apartments, as well as an old hotel with a traditional 8J tatami room with shoji screens on 3 walls. While the traditional room was great, both because of the beautiful woodwork and lighting, the versatility and comfort of the space, the room only worked because we had parred down our belongings to what would fit in two carry on bags: one for my wife and me, and one for the baby.

(It also helped that the hotel staff hauled the mattresses in and out of the closest at night and in the morning.)

Another thing we saw was a set of 3 doors in the center of the main living space that allowed different portions of an apartment to be closed off completely, for example in winter, to avoid heating an unused room.

I agree that a half third floor can add a lot of utility, privacy, space, and enjoyment to the existing floor plan. If it can be done cost effectively, that is a great bonus.

17 Nate Anderson June 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

Being a Realtor my first choice is Option A. The more bedrooms the better chance of getting it sold. But why not show how effecient you guys can really be by giving the home buyer the option to have both Options whenever they want.

Since the wall that divides the two bedrooms in Option A is not load bearing why not make it an easy folding or collapsible pocket wall. It’s the best of both worlds.

For my idea I like “The 2.5″. It looks more structual minded. But “The Convertible 2.5″ would be fantastic!

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