This project involved the design and renovation of an existing, center hall, colonial residence in Washington D.C. built in 1923.  The client requested that we retain the character and charm of the existing structure while introducing a more contemporary language, palette of materials and detailing.  In doing so, the renovation modernized the infrastructural and service spaces of the home while maintaining the original detailing in the served spaces.

The kitchen renovation reconfigured the original layout in favor of a more efficient use of space. To begin, we studied the owners’ preferences with respect to their use of the kitchen. The configuration of the new kitchen cabinets and counter space connects all functions of the kitchen into one element, mediating between storage, washing, countertop, cooking and seating spaces. All activities in the kitchen are consolidated into this form, allowing for a more open layout which flows more efficiently with the adjacent spaces of the dining room and exterior eating area.

The exterior spaces were also renovated to create a series of exterior rooms. An exterior eating area adjacent to the kitchen was constructed from rapidly renewable Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) decking. The deck space flows between the house and the detached garage to create a secondary, informal entry to the house. Adjacent to the house, a flagstone patio is surrounded with low walls which provide seating for entertaining while simultaneously providing a more intimate exterior space. Two levels of lawn are divided by granite curbing as a means of dividing the recreational and gardening lawn programs.

The palette used in the renovation was carefully selected to introduce a more contemporary feel while not contrasting with the aesthetic and character of the original house. American Black Walnut is used throughout the house to complement the owner’s collection of classic, mid-century modern furniture. Black cleft slate, cream-colored chiseled limestone and white quartz surfaces provide a neutral background on which aluminum, chrome and glass materials stand out.