Duplex: projects and layouts

Nowadays, people live in city apartments, private houses, as well as in mansions and cottages. Not so long ago, duplexes entered the real estate market. Today we will talk in more detail about the main features of these houses and tell you what are the differences from townhouses..

What is it in real estate?

In real estate, the term “duplex” means a residential private house intended for two families. Moreover, each family occupies one half, their layouts are identical. There is a general entrance, however, if desired, it can be done separately for each family. The adjacent territory is also common, although it is often divided into two equal parts and fenced off. The number of floors in semi-detached houses varies from one to three, the most common option being two-story houses.

Translated from English, “duplex” means “double”. The very first building of this kind appeared in England in the 19th century. At that time, wealthy Englishmen built a main house for themselves, and when their children grew up, they completed an additional section of a smaller size. Gradually, the architectural solution was modernized, and both halves of the house began to be built the same..

For many years, duplexes belonged to the segment of prestigious housing, nowadays their cost is almost equal to the price of cottages and apartments. This is due to the fact that there are no such strict requirements for the construction of duplexes as for the construction of multi-apartment buildings. Homeowners have the opportunity to independently choose the layout of the premises, the type of utilities, number of storeys, footage and many other important characteristics.

Usually duplexes are located in a suburban area or on the territory of comfortable cottage villages in the city itself. As for the first proposed option, it will be a rather economical solution – such houses are often erected on SNT lands with good infrastructure. In the second, the duplex will belong to the elite segment, since the cost of land in a large settlement is much higher than outside it..

Duplexes are in demand in the West. They are being actively built in America, Canada and European countries. In Russia, this type of real estate is only gaining its admirers..

Duplex designs are drawn up to the same basic standards as cottages. From a wide variety of architectural and planning solutions, the home owner will be able to choose what will be most convenient for him. In any case, such houses will have their own characteristic features..

  • Aesthetic facade. The exterior of a building, consisting of two equal blocks, should be mirrored, diametrically opposite. At the same time, the facade should give the impression of an integral structure from the point of view of architecture. From the side, the duplex resembles one spacious house.

  • Big windows. To ensure energy savings, duplexes are often designed with large (usually panoramic) windows. They are oriented to the south or east, which can significantly reduce the cost of maintaining the premises. Thanks to the sun’s rays, natural heat penetrates the room, so the heating bill is low. In addition, the abundance of light visually expands the space, creates an airy and light atmosphere..

  • Two floors. Of course, you can find duplexes of some other number of storeys. For example, one-story buildings designed for one owner and buildings three stories high. However, it was the two-story ones that became the most common option both in our country and abroad..

  • Separate entrance. Initially, the concept of a duplex assumed the use of one common entrance. However, today architects prefer layouts with separate entrances for both families. On the one hand, this violates the integrity of the architecture, but, on the other hand, with proper design, the exterior can look very harmonious..

  • Unified engineering networks. Heating and water supply systems in duplexes are usually shared. In these houses, a single electrical wiring is provided, one gas pipeline is supplied. At the same time, in both sections, their own energy metering devices are installed, so each family pays for housing and communal services, taking into account their consumption.

In the last decade, three-piece duplexes have become widespread in the United States.. In this case, the blocks at the edges are occupied by families, and the middle part includes a common area – there are a gym, home theater, games room, billiard room and other shared areas..

Of course, such a solution is possible, but only when relatives with friendly relations live in a double house.

Duplexes, like any other buildings, have their positive and negative sides. Such a house is considered the best option for a large family, for example: parents and children, brothers and sisters. In such a house, they are not together, but at the same time close. In addition, such a solution will cost much less than buying a large house or several apartments..

There are other advantages to this type of property..

  • Few neighbors. Often people buy apartments on the top floors in order to save themselves from the noise from the apartments located above. In twin houses, the problem of neighbors is minimized – only one family is located behind a common wall. And if you initially buy houses with family and friends, then in this case the atmosphere will be warm and comfortable..

  • House plot. Usually a small plot of land comes with a duplex. Most often this is a small area, but it is enough to accommodate several flower beds, a barbecue area, an outdoor gazebo and a play area for children..

  • Infrastructure. These days, duplexes are located primarily in populated suburban areas. Thus, the homeowner receives fresh air in combination with commercial establishments, medical and childcare facilities..

  • Affordable content price. If you purchase a whole cottage, then you will incur all expenses for the repair of the premises, restoration of the roof and facades, as well as the replacement of utilities. In a duplex, all expenses can be divided equally into two families..

  • But finally, a duplex can become a source of additional income.. If you purchase both parts at once, then one of them can be rented out. At the same time, you will be able to keep the operation of the premises under control, without spending extra time on it and without causing dissatisfaction from the tenants..

The only disadvantage of such a double house is that the neighborhood still cannot be avoided. The area will not be completely closed. Nevertheless, it is more convenient than an apartment building or townhouse, when neighbors are located on 2–3 sides. To create the illusion of a private space, you have to equip additional noise insulation and erect a high fence..

And of course, if you do not want to live with strangers, then first get to know the inhabitants of the second half – so you can understand how easy and pleasant it will be for you to interact with this family on the maintenance of the house..

What is different from a townhouse?

Many people confuse the concepts of a townhouse and a duplex. Indeed, these types of real estate have a lot in common. However, they are one-, two- or three-storey buildings with a common roof and common bearing walls. Each section has its own entrance, and the adjoining plot is shared. The difference lies only in the number of sections: the duplex is divided into two apartments, the townhouse includes 6-8 blocks.

Let us dwell in more detail on the similarities and differences of these types of structures..

Number of families

In townhouses, several families usually live, not related in any way by kinship. The duplex is occupied by two families, most often relatives. Regardless of the number of blocks, living quarters in townhouses and duplexes should be equal in size and have approximately the same layout.


Modern duplexes have separate entrances for each half of the house. In townhouses, each section also has its own separate entrance.. Therefore, if desired, the owners of such structures can minimize meetings with neighbors..


As for engineering communications, these buildings are similar. In both cases, the networks are shared. Wherein each section has its own metering devices, respectively, the amount of payment for housing and communal services differs.

Number of storeys

Most often, buildings of both types are built in a two-story version. However, if desired, they can be built one- and three-story. In the first case, it will be inconvenient for households, in the second, it will greatly increase the cost of such housing..

Land area

In European countries, kindred families live in duplexes, therefore they use the territory adjacent to the house together. They house a recreation area, as well as playgrounds.. In Russia, sections may belong to unfamiliar people who seek to isolate themselves as much as possible from each other. – in this case, the total area of ​​the allotment is divided into two halves by a fence.


In terms of value, townhouses are a little cheaper – this is due to the peculiarities of the construction of buildings. The fact is that the laying of engineering networks requires large expenses.. If we are talking about a duplex, then all costs are divided between two families..

In townhouses, the costs are distributed to all owners, which significantly reduces the cost of the receipt.

House planning

Any duplexes provide a similar or even mirrored layout.. It is unprofitable for the developer to decorate each apartment in a different way, since this will significantly increase the overall estimate of the project and complicate its implementation.


For a family of 1-3 people, it is possible to build a one-story townhouse with a flat roof, although such a solution is rather rare. In this case, all the necessary functional rooms are located in one place. To effectively use the usable space, the living room is often combined with a kitchen block.. At the same time, functional areas are divided by a bar counter or a long island table.

A boiler room with a storage room is located right next to the entrance.. In the corner farthest from the entrance, they equip a sleeping area. Depending on the technical capabilities of the room, guest rooms, a home theater or a study can be additionally arranged here..


The most common duplex options are two-story houses.. Traditionally, on the first floor of such buildings are placed:

  • a kitchen combined with a living room;
  • economic block;
  • bathroom.

The second floor is equipped with:

  • functional rooms;
  • bedrooms;
  • additional bathroom.

If the layout allows, then a balcony or terrace is also located here..

The layout of each block is identical, but the owners can equip the internal premises at their discretion. For example, if in one section at the entrance there is a living room, then in the second there may be an office or a gym. The zoning of the rooms is entirely up to the homeowners..

Consider several typical projects of a two-story twin house.

Economy option

In the economy segment, duplexes with an ergonomic layout are being built. There are all the main functional blocks here, while there is nothing superfluous. Such houses will be a good solution for small families with an average budget.. Adjacent blocks have a simple rectangular shape, but they are slightly offset relative to each other. This gives the building a more stylish look..

The absence of any architectural excesses helps to save on construction..

There is an additional room on the ground floor, it is placed right next to the entrance. Most often it is used as a library or study.. This is especially convenient if the section owner works from home and holds meetings with clients here. Also, this room can be used as a guest or additional bedroom..

The advantage of such a project is the arrangement of several bathrooms. – this compares favorably with the duplex, which has only one bathroom.

There are private rooms on the second floor. There is no garage, if necessary, the owners of such premises simply make a small canopy on the house plot.

Duplex project with bay windows

This house has a complex configuration, so its construction is more expensive. But it also looks much more spectacular, and not only from the outside, but also from the inside.. The interior looks expensive and creative.

The project provides for a common boiler room for both parts in such buildings, which significantly saves usable space. The entrance hall is not cramped; if desired, it will turn into a functional addition to the living room. The kitchen is a separate room, which eliminates the smell of cooking dishes from the recreation area. However, an open plan is allowed. In this case, the kitchen can be combined with the living room to make the home look more spacious..

Duplex with garage

Suburban areas require a car. Here, the most practical will be architectural solutions that provide for the presence of a garage.. It is usually located just below the ground floor level. This ensures that the residential part of the house is protected from unpleasant odors. However, deepening the garage in many ways increases the cost of building a building..

The advantages of such a project include:

  • the ability to exit to the backyard;
  • the presence of a vestibule;
  • compact terrace, separated from the adjacent one by a garage ledge;
  • balcony;
  • kitchen-living room, planned as a single room.

Spacious duplex

For wealthy people, a large duplex would be a good solution.. It provides a spacious living room, an isolated kitchen-dining room and additional rooms that can accommodate a recreation area, billiard room, study, home cinema. There are dressing rooms on each floor.

The garage is separated from the residential complex by a double buffer zone. He is as far away from the center of the building as possible..

Such a house will be a good choice for a large family, where comfort and coziness are appreciated. The space in such a duplex is planned concisely, competently and functionally..

Design options

In essence, a duplex means a two-story building with an attic compartment. When planning the design of such premises, architects try to adhere to the principle of symmetry.. All balconies, entrances, window openings and decorative elements in both halves are located the same. Asymmetry is used extremely rarely and in limited quantities..

Each duplex owner can choose the style of architecture and interior, taking into account their individual tastes and preferences. For a long time, twin houses were built in accordance with the classic English style.. In recent years, designers have opted for hi-tech, modern and chalet.

In the economy class, frame houses 10 by 12 m are being built, duplexes made of laminated veneer lumber and aerated concrete.

Brick is used in the high-end segment. Stained glass and unusual exterior elements are used here..

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