NARI CotY “Merit” Award Winner 2011
We transformed this 1950’s two-story townhouse into a three story home with a new two level addition at the rear. Work also included remodeling the home’s existing interior, all withing the confines and oversight of the Capitol Hill Historic District.
During the design process the homeowners engaged in an extensive cost/benefit analysis to determine whether to sell the house and relocate or stay and complete extensive renovations. This prolonged an already complex design process.
• This Capitol Hill DC townhouse was only two stories and built “slab on grade.” The rear of the house was awkward in that the slab stepped up approximately 7″ in the interior and the rear elevation had a large masonry chimney blocking the view to the rear yard.
• Access was particularly difficult due to a landlocked rear yard and a neighbor who did not allow use of their side alley.
• Adding a new story to a home is always challenging. This one was especially difficult as we had limited access and logistical challenges on all sides.
• Modifying the connections to the adjacent home posed a number of hurdles including fire wall separation, flashing details, and brick repairs.
• Modifying and extending the home’s brick façade was also very difficult as we had to add a story of brick and make substantial modifications to the main window openings.
• The homeowners had an extensive art collection and wanted detailed lighting solutions on every level of the home.
• The homeowners wanted an open staircase, including modifing the existing stair and opeing up for the new stair to the third floor. From an architectural standpoint, the stair was a huge challenge.
• The homeowner wanted a high end lighting and electronics system.
• The mechanical room’s location at the front of the home presented ductwork challenges due to the rear addition and complex framing/structural plans.
• During the design process, we created a photo-realistic rendering which helped the neighbors and the HPRB sign onto the project. We took the Historic Board’s recommendations and integrated them into an ever expanding project.
• We installed several TV’s in the home, one of which disappears vertically into a cabinet below it. An extensive Lutron Radio Ra2 system enabled the majority of the home’s lighting to be controlled through a few switching panels.
• To achieve the open and light filled objective for the stair, we custom designed and installed powder coated steel and glass handrails with wood rail cap. The stair carriage was engineered to achieve the code required head clearances.
• The homeowners wanted a generous library space to house their extensive book collection. Due to the tight stairway, the library had to be largely built in place.
• To provide the highest level of energy efficiency, we installed R-38 rigid insulation above the roof framing and below the entire roof. This eliminated the typical “thermal bridge” effect that insulating between the joists/rafters entails.
• Due to the landlocked nature of the rear yard and grading, we designed, engineered and built a large dry well under a portion of the rear yard. This allows much of the roof drainage to be absorbed by the ground. Only during large storm events will it overflow into the combined sewer.
Though the home is in a historic district, the home feels very much 21st century. We spent over 1000 hours designing the project. We poured over every elevation and detail and finish on all three levels. This project was shaped and tempered by historic district requirements, wanting to minimize impact to neighbors, and a desire to maximize the use of the lot with this growing multi-generational family. As the photographs document, the homeowners have transformed the living spaces into finished rooms that reflect their specific and cultured desires for their residence. The homeowners were very exacting in their expectations and attention to detail. We are proud to have them in our stable of happy clients.
September 16, 2015