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House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

London, United...
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137 posts
84 reviews
House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

My friend and I were walking through Cambridge yesterday and noticed an unusual house - it has three front doors right next to each other. We’ve see two doors next to each other but never three, and were puzzled about the history of the house and internal layout. The doors on the right are so close together it wouldn’t be possible to have rooms behind them both, maybe just long corridors or stairs directly behind the door.

Does anyone know the history of the house or the internal design? Or is there a local historical society we could contact?

7 replies to this topic
Kent, Connecticut
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for Provincetown, Wellfleet, Truro, North Truro
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1. Re: House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

Since the building has three floors it is probably that the door on the left is for the first floor apartment, the middle door goes to the second floor and the door on the right is for the third floor.

Somerville...
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2. Re: House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

Not that unusual, most of the larger houses in the close in area were converted to multi family at some point.

Boston, MA
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for Boston
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3. Re: House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

These are three family homes, with one 'flat' on each floor. Around here they are sometimes called "triple deckers".

As already mentioned, one door probably opens into the living room of the first floor apartment and the others open to an entry hall and have stairs leading to the 2nd or 3rd floor, There are homes like this in my town, too. My kids had friends who live in one on the third floor.

The more common configuration for triple decker entrances is to have one door into a common hallway with stairs to the leading to the upper floors OR 2 doors, one into the first floor apartment and one into a common hallway with stairs to the 2nd and 3rd floors. But, three doors are not unheard of.

Edited: 04 December 2017, 07:48
London, United...
Level Contributor
137 posts
84 reviews
4. Re: House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

Thanks all. My friend and I walked a long way and didn't see any other doors like this (nor have we seen them anywhere else in the world). It would help a lot if I could add a photo :/ The tip to search on "triple deckers" (or "three deckers") was useful - I found some interesting information based on that. Thanks again, Catherine

New Orleans...
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5. Re: House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

https:/…9342

Here is the City of Cambridge listing on that property

London, United...
Level Contributor
137 posts
84 reviews
6. Re: House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

Interesting to see the property listing - thanks for sending it.

I also found the following article about three deckers: centersandsquares.com/2009/…

I emailed the author and she had the following information:

Thanks for getting in touch. Too funny about the triple decker doors. I looked up the one you mentioned online and I see what you mean. While not common I have seen and been in others. There are a few more in the 580-590 or so range on Putnam Ave that I’ve always remembered (at least one of them has some memorable, quirky front doors).

Each apartment has its own private entrance. The first floor’s goes right into their unit, the second floor opens to a stairwell that goes up one flight, and the third floor has its own stairs up to the third floor.

I can’t remember what I wrote in that post – but developers love the ones that have three separate entrances. When they measure condo square footage any private space counts towards the unit’s square footage – and stairwells count. So the three-deckers with private entrances for each make for good sized 2nd and 3rd floor units since you get to count from the first level up.

New Orleans...
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7. Re: House with three doors? 303 Western Ave Cambridge

Yes, the house is not a classic triple decker, which would have a single front entrance and a single stairwell going up to the 2nd and 3rd floor units.

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