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The split level was intended for the sloping or hilly section. It benefits from what might otherwise prove to be a cumbersome height difference and uses it to advantage. As a general rule, a shared level should not be built on a flat plot. Beating up the ground in front of the high section to give a hill look usually produces poor results.
The shared level utilizes space effectively. The general arrangement for the shared level separates sleep, living and recreation on different levels. Little or no hall space is required in a split level house because of its basic design, a positive factor predominantly.
At the lowest level there is a normal basement containing heating and cooling equipment, storage and perhaps a shop or laundry room. This area is the usual depth in a basement. In some cases, the basement may not be desired and a crawl space for maintenance and ventilation. The basement usually corresponds to about 40 to 60 percent of the space occupied by the house. This is usually sufficient for efficient use without lost space.
The next level up from the basement, intermediate level, generally houses the garage and recreation area. This area is ground level and therefore suitable for these functions. Patios and terraces can be attached to the recreation area which further improves its use. The intermediate level can also have a large foyer, dining room or family room.
Slightly higher than the intermediate level is the level of living. In general, this area is also in grade: the inclined degree allows this arrangement. The kitchen, dining room, living room and full or half bath are normally located on the everyday level. The foyer, the clay room and the laundry room can also be located at this level depending on the design or desires. Again, the use of patios and terraces increases the usability and enhances the attractiveness of the shared level.
At the highest height of the house is the sleeping area and the bath. The half-level difference between the living and sleeping levels gives greater privacy and silence. Shared-level houses have some negative aspects. They are generally more expensive to build than the two stories. In most cases, however, they are cheaper than a ranch. Heating can be a problem if it is not handled properly. The use of zone heating (separate thermostats for the different areas of the house) usually solves the heating problem.
Architectural variations of Split Level Design
There are basically three variants of the design at the split level: side by side, front and back and rear. Lots that lean from left or right are suitable for tile design. This design places the living room opposite the sleeping and intermediate areas. Variation number two, split level front and back, is suitable for parties that are high in the front and low in the back. This house looks like a ranch from the front and a two storey from the rear. The living room faces the street and the bedrooms are on the second floor to the rear.
The third variation, split level from back to front, requires a lot of low front and high rear. The middle level faces the street in class. The bedrooms are above, also facing the street. The bonus level is the rear one. This model looks like a two story front and a ranch in the rear.
An important factor in designing a functional plan is traffic circulation. The traffic circulation involves those areas of the house that provide a way to move from one area or room to another. Circulation must be planned for maximum efficiency. In a tested arrangement, the distance from the garage to the kitchen is arranged short and direct. The foyer is centrally located and convenient for all parts of the house. All bedrooms are located near a bathtub. Few rooms have planned traffic through them. The family room and dining area are exceptions. An analysis should be made of the traffic circulation to determine if the plan is as functional as it can be. Often, a small change in the planning solution can increase the even flow of traffic to desirable locations.