Split Level Homes

Real Estate Agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices

Post WW II The Split Level Boom

Following World War II, people started moving about.  They headed for the suburbs, out of the big cities.  All across the country people needed homes.  The Tri-Level house got a breath of fresh air on design and was suddenly very popular. By the 1970's that popularity peaked. 

I think today being VE day - 75 years later - has me thinking of world war and tri level homes, Ha.

The layout was innovative.  Compared to the ranch home with its small rooms, tri level homes were open and airy.  You could spread out - you can still spread out.  This floor plan gives plenty of unique space.  That's more important than ever before as our populace grapples with Covid-19 and our homes suddenly become schools, offices and more. 

Varieties of Split Levels

Around my marketplace, Boulder Colorado, we find three predominant variations of split level homes.  There is the Tri-Level where you walk into the main level with bedrooms up and a family room down. 

Sometimes, we see a tri where the family room is on the level and the extra spaces are in the back of the house (still up and down little short staircases).  That variation is problematic, as you cannot see the backyard from your kitchen window nor access the yard directly from a back door.

Another variety is the Bi-level.  These homes work really well when there is a mild slope.

The garage winds up being on the lower level along with a bedroom & bathroom and sometimes an extra bonus space.  Your kitchen, Family room and master bedroom are all up.  The downside here is that not all three bedrooms are on the same layout.

So this layout can scare off young families.

We also see a lot of remodeled homes built into tri-levels.  In the Newlands, developers convert these cute little cottages into long tri's that really take advantage of deep sloping lots.  This maneuver can take a $750,000 bungalow and replace it with a two million dollar sprawling dream home.

The Downside to Split Level Homes

Stairs.  There are stairs to your bedrooms. Stairs to the lower level. Sometimes there are stairs to get to your sliding glass door to get to the backyard. And then more stairs from your deck to the ground. 

This layout mandates using staircases.  Even a two story home can be lived in without going up and down steps if it has a main floor master.  But here, you better be okay taking a few steps everey day!

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