Chrysalis “National” Award Winner 2011

Best of the Best Design “Gold” Award Winner 2011

Master Design “Silver” Award Winner 2011

NARI CotY “Grand” Award Winner 2010

Front Facade - Elevation

After several decades in this Southwestern DC townhouse, this homeowner decided it was time for a facelift. The 1970’s original aluminum siding with wood batten trim was rotting and falling off the façade in places; below the exterior finish there was barely any insulation to speak of. Their goal was to bring both the aesthetic value and energy efficiency of their home into the 21st century.

Before – Front Facade
After – Front Facade


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Before and After – Rear Facade

Unusual Constraints/Challenges & Creative Solutions

The primary concern with the façade involved determining the right material with which to clad this unique structure. With the longest side finished in brown brick and a row of neighboring homes each with their own character, the façade needed to have the right balance of color, texture and hierarchy.

The design began with the replacement of all the windows on the second and third floors (the living spaces). The front façade housed sliding doors that led to nowhere and two large awnings that blocked most of the natural light from penetrating into the interior of the home. These were replaced with triple-unit casement and fixed window combinations to allow for the maximum amount of light to enter the space. The tripleglazing of the Pella Architect Series windows provides both insulation and protection from the noise of the busy street below. On the rear of the house, two sliding door units were replaced with one large slider and one single sheet of insulated glass to still allow access to the rear deck but to also afford the least obstructed view of the waterfront beyond. The replacement of the front and rear siding began with removing the existing layers of cladding down to the studs.

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Existing Damages

Open-cell Icynene foam insulation was added throughout the house including into the cantilevered floor spaces, up into the third floor ceiling cavity, and into each stud bay with a new layer of sheathing applied to the existing studs. We constructed a rainscreen with ¾” furring strips atop the sheathing to provide drainage for any water infiltration as well as an additional air space for insulation. Taking a cue from the mullion pattern of these floor-to-ceiling window and door units, we developed a system of James Hardie fiber-cement panels attached with Fry Reglet aluminum channels. Horizontal bands of Hardie trim balance the verticality of the panels and windows. New insulated windows in the first floor side façade echo the vertical lines in the building above. A new front door and insulated garage door complete the transformation.

Overall Results

The clean lines and contemporary flare of the Hardie paneled façade have transformed this dilapidated rowhouse into the envy of the neighborhood. The addition of insulation throughout the house as well as new windows and doors have significantly increased the energy-efficiency of the home, making the house more comfortable and appealing inside and out.

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Interior Front and Rear