There are three houses in Coming Apart, and they all mean different things.
The first is Ava's house in Scovill Run, the coal town in upstate Pennsylvania where she has lived her entire life. Scovill Run is fictional, but based on many coal towns in my research, all of which grew up around the mine, and none of which were particularly nice places to live.
Ava's house is one half of a twin. There are two bedrooms upstairs, and a sitting room and kitchen downstairs. There is no electricity, and water is supplied by a shared pump in the yard. The other plumbing needs are taken care of by an outhouse. Most of the heat in the house comes from a wood stove in the kitchen; there is a coal stove in the front room, but it is only used on special occasions, because coal is expensive and the men who mine it can't often afford it.
Not only that, it was up for sale several years ago, so I have a pretty good idea of the interior layout.
There is a third house in the book, which will only be explained in oblique terms because of spoilers, but it is a house I actually lived in during the late 1980s. It's also in Philadelphia, several blocks south of Claire's house, and was built before the Civil War to house mill workers.
It's what Philadelphia calls a trinity house (Father, son & holy ghost), with one room on each floor. The entire house was no bigger than a standard two bedroom apartment. But it was pretty cool, living in a place that old, and knowing that the underground railroad had used several of the houses on the block as shelters for runaway slaves making their way to freedom.