NARI CotY “Merit” Award Winner 2011

Brief Explanation of the Scope of Work

This homeowner retained our firm to design and build a two story addition to add additional bedrooms, bath and to house his grand piano. As an avid piano player, the homeowner wanted a suitably proportioned family room to play music. As well as modernizing and insulating the entire home’s mechanical systems and equipment. Working within the department of interior and Maryland NCPPC we created an updated and distinguishible addition to a classic bungalow.


Before & After – Front View


Before & After – Rear View


Unusual Constraints/Challenges & Creative Solutions

Because of the 90+ year old home’s location in Takoma Park’s Historic District, any modifications needed to meet historic board approval. After several iterations, we developed a detailed set of plans which balanced the homeowner’s design and budget goals with Maryland’s and Takoma Park’s historical requirements.

Basement Plan – Existing Basement Plan – Proposed


First Floor Plan – Existing First Floor Plan – Proposed


To distinguish the massing of the lengthened structure while adding architectural interest, we stepped in from the current exterior wall then push it back out. This also complied with Montgomery County’s requirement to distinguish additions from the original historic structure. The cantilevered structure also creates a covered entry on each side of the basement addition.

At the ground level, we carried the existing stucco foundation through to the addition. The second level synthesizes Hardi panel and siding to match the home’s existing wood siding while the deep eaves and beadboard soffit are carried through from the original home to the addition.

Since the piano was the driving force of this project, the homeowner was particularly concerned about temperature and humidity control so that his piano could remain in tune. As part of this project we replaced the heating system with a high efficiency Carrier Infinity System, meticulously designed to incorporate four mechanically controlled zones. We also replaced the water heater with a Navien high efficiency condensing tankless system. While replacing all the galvanized water supply piping with polypropylene fusiotherm piping.

The homeowner wanted the flexibility to practice piano at any hour of day or night without disturbing his neighbors. He also wanted a deep energy retrofit for his existing and very drafty home. “Spider” blown wall insulation was chosen for its sound attenuating properties as much as for its thermal insulation abilities.

None of the existing home’s walls had insulation in them. As we weren’t removing the plaster, we drilled injected spider insulation into the walls. The entire roof of the new and existing home was foamed.

The piano room features a cathedral ceiling for a feeling of spaciousness and for improved acoustics. Framing and finishing the cathedral ceiling added a layer of complexity as did the cove lighting details.

Piano Room
Overall Results

The home features strategically located, top quality Loewen windows to welcome in plenty of natural light (but not onto the piano). The existing windows in the home were lovingly restored. The sleek new kitchen is well designed and nicely finished with natural wood cabinets, Marmoleum flooring and quartz counters. The kitchen opens up to the piano room with its elegant tray ceiling and reclaimed antique wide plank hardwood floors. The stair to the basement features a custom made steel guard rail.

The homeowner is very happy with the result of his project. The neighbors feel that the enlarged historic home still blends well with the neighborhood.