Category: One- and Two-Family Custom Residences
The owners of this historic rowhome in Washington, D.C.’s Georgetown neighborhood purchased it so they could enjoy an urban, walkable neighborhood closer to their place of employment. A thorough renovation has transformed the house into a modern, light-filled, and open dwelling. Visually unchanged at the street, the home still respects the context of the neighborhood.
"A near-perfect marriage of history and contemporary, urban living." - Jury comment
In the original home, compartmentalized spaces were disconnected from a deep rear garden, and the basement kitchen was a full floor below the primary living space. The renovation is built atop the original shell and infrastructure, all more than a century old, and retains the original massing, fenestrations, and historical features.
Downsizing from their previous home in the suburbs, the clients were wholly invested in living in a smaller house that emphasized the quality of space over the quantity. Despite relatively small footprints, the home’s new spatial arrangement works in concert with high ceilings and large expanses of glass to make each space feel much more generous.
“A near-perfect marriage of history and contemporary, urban living,” noted the jury. “This design thoughtfully translates a compact and crowded historic house into a spacious, light-filled home with surprising celebrations of its history and foundations in almost archeological ways.”
"This design thoughtfully translates a compact and crowded historic house into a spacious, light-filled home with surprising celebrations of its history and foundations in almost archeological ways." - Jury comment
Inside, a new open staircase topped with a skylight allows light to flood the spaces, including the basement. On the main level, the team removed walls to better connect it to a modern addition that stretches into the garden. Above, on the second floor, rooms are opened to the sloping roofline to provide a greater sense of space. A master bedroom with an abundance of glazing sits on the addition’s second floor. Danish Douglas fir floors and rich cabinetry foster a warm and minimal aesthetic throughout all of the spaces.
This project’s timeline was significantly impacted by the numerous reviews and processes required when working in one of Washington’s historic neighborhoods. However, the added time allowed for careful inspection of all design implications, resulting in a faster construction period.