Shophouses may be reaching Sheen-esque over-exposure: after spreading to the Balkans and the U.S. (at least Austin), shophouses are getting love from Apartment Therapy writer Anne Reagan: "Much like the bay window defines San Francisco or the brownstone defines New York, the Singapore shophouse represents not only an important architectural style but a way of life from this country’s past. Traditionally the first floor or ground level was used as the place to conduct business. The 'five-foot way' ensures a covered area for the shoppers to peruse and protects people and goods from strong sun and rain. Farther back on the ground level, behind the shop area, would be the family kitchen. The second floor would usually be the family rooms and sleeping quarters. As the population grew and changed, the purpose of the shophouse changed with it. Some became funeral parlours, clubhouses for wealthy businessmen, and many were divided into multiple businesses such as coffeehouses and tailor shops. I gathered much of the above information from reading Singapore Shophouse (published by the National Archives of Singapore). If you can’t visit Singapore in person be sure to check out some modern uses of the old shophouse like the Scarlet Hotel [pictured], 149 Neil Road conservation house, The Saff Hotel, and Hotel 1929." Full article here.