1930’s Private Residence -Washington – DC

Project1930's Private Residence -Washington - DC
ProductCorporate W20™
ArchitectMuse Architects
DateJanuary 2008
ClientPrivate resident
ContractorRobert K Higgins

The owner of this residence, located on the largest parcel in a historic neighborhood, sought to restore, renovate, and expand it to accommodate their family of four; an in-law apartment; an exchange student suite; a resident property caretaker family; and periodic hosting of charitable events. To achieve this transformation, the order of the existing building was extended to provide a clear organization for the expanded residence.

Through location, material selection and architectural detailing, the new living/dining/reception room is established as an interior courtyard for the residence. The exterior of the existing residence offered a palette of white-painted brick, subtly accented by cast stone details and a band of ceramic mosaic tile; undersized steel windows; and unadorned steel railings. Primary materials for the new transition space are textile-patterned concrete block; large steel Crittall windows and glazed steel doors; steel railings with bronze handrails; and wide-plank wood flooring.

The textile block complements the existing cast stone elements and mosaic tile patterning, while recalling other buildings from the 1930’s. The new steel Crittall windows, doors, and railings complement their counterparts in the existing residence, again recalling buildings of the period. Natural light, penetrating the new space through patterned glass laylights, amplifies the warmth of the wood flooring. The sky is made present in the room by fifteen skylights overhead.

Another requirement was to restore the existing lawn, garden, and building. All new spaces are located in additions distributed north to south, adjacent to the rear face of the existing building, maintaining the existing lawn and garden expanse east of the house. Many mature trees were protected, and extensively supplemented with new trees and plantings. The lawn and garden design was developed to accommodate geothermal wells and subsurface cisterns. Restoration involved full replacement of all windows and doors; electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems; and all interior finish materials, as well as extensive underpinning of the existing foundation. Many items from the original building construction were salvaged and restored.

Photography: Alan Karchmer / Sandra Benedum


This case study is based on architectural comment and submitted entry photography for recent entry in our Crittall Architectural Prize


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