Single Work

Capitol Hill Row House: Top to Bottom Renovation


This row house is owned by a non-profit organization that uses it for overnight guests and entertaining when their members are visiting Washington, D.C. The existing historic row house was outdated. The clients wanted a whole-house renovation to create an impressive space that their members could be proud of and would also be comfortable for use as a guest house and for hosting parties.

The renovation included all the rooms on all 4 stories. We worked with the clients for several months on the design, including selections for the kitchen and 3.5 bathrooms. We referred them to an interior designer that they worked with on paint colors, wallpaper, furnishings, and window treatments.

The renovations highlights include:

  • New lobby and basement suite on lower level.
  • Large new beautiful kitchen with island on the main level
  • Rebuilding an odd enclosure and incorporating it into the new kitchen
  • Enlarging the master bathroom by incorporating several closets.
  • Updated hall and guest baths and powder room.
  • Refinishing all the wood floors, stair railings, and balusters. Installing trim and molding in keeping with historic details.
  • Rebuilding the top floor deck.
  • Reconfiguring plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems throughout the house. We installed new air conditioning on the upper 3 floors zoned for control by individual floors. We installed a gas tankless water heater system for the top three floors

LOWER LEVEL: Foyer and bedroom suite

The foyer was dark and had an obtrusive cabinet to hide unsightly meters and pipes. Our in-house plumber reconfigured the plumbing to allow us to build a shallower full-height closet to hide the meters and electric panels, but we still gained space to install storage shelves. We also shifted part of the wall into the adjacent suite to gain square footage to create a more dramatic foyer. Elegant new entry finished with traditional black and white marble flooring with a basket weave border and trim that matches the home’s era.

BEFORE: Unsightly cabinetry

AFTER: Hiding the reconfigured plumbing and panels in a shallower full-height closet.


AFTER: Built-in seating next to new closet hides the gas line. Traditional trim is in keeping with the home’s 1900’s style.

The lower level living suite was outdated. We updated the laundry, bedroom, and bathroom.

AFTER: Updated basement suite.

BEFORE: We removed the fireplace and shifted the wall into the suite to enlarge the adjacent foyer.



We removed the odd U-shaped kitchen and powder room that were in the center of the floorplan. We designed a new kitchen at the rear of the house (it was an existing dining room) and incorporated an odd, narrow enclosure into the space to enlarge it.

BEFORE The original kitchen was a small, U-shaped room in the center of the main floor. We moved the kitchen to the existing rear dining room.

Incorporating the odd narrow side addition required removing the masonry wall and installing a beam across the opening.

AFTER: Making that odd sunroom part of the kitchen allows for an eating area with built-in bench.

Historic Approval: We rebuilt the walls and roof, installed new siding, a copper roof and new double-hung windows. We also replaced the two existing windows on the rear wall with three ganged windows. As this affected the exterior façade, these changes required the approval of the city’s historic preservation review board.


AFTER: Copper roof, fiber cement siding

We designed an arched opening over the 3 new windows to echo the original arched window openings. To accomplish this, we installed an arched steel beam over the new windows.


The clients asked for a “wow” kitchen and we delivered.

  • The clients wanted French doors so they could close off the kitchen, but still allowing light to flow through. The transom above the French doors maximizes light and fits the traditional look of house.
  • The large island has a Carrara Gioia Venatino polished marble waterfall countertop. The white perimeter cabinets are topped with Cambrian Black granite with a leathered finish.
  • The gray island cabinets provide contrast to the white perimeter cabinets. The gray has a black glaze that gives it depth.
  • Since we had to drop the ceiling to hide beams and HVAC components, our designer came up with the idea to create a coffered ceiling with tin panels to fit the home’s traditional style. We did have to rebuild one wall to make it more perpendicular so the coffered ceiling could be perfectly centered over the island.
  • Other traditional touches: trim and molding, tile accent square above the range, glass upper cabinet doors with square lights, chrome cabinet hardware


BEFORE: The new kitchen is in what was originally the dining room. The door to the right is to the odd narrow room that we incorporated into the room by removing the masonry wall, installing a beam, and rebuilding the structure.


BEFORE: The new kitchen is in what was originally the dining room. The door to the right is to the odd narrow room that we incorporated into the room by removing the masonry wall, installing a beam, and rebuilding the structure.

AFTER: The French doors allow the kitchen to be closed off when being used by caterers. We also installed a new rear full light door to the back patio. We were able to add a closet to the right of the French doors. The door on the left is to the new powder room.


BEFORE: The original hallway to the rear dining room was narrow. The opening on the left is to the original U-shaped kitchen.

  • In the living area on the main level we removed the existing built-in circular bench for a more open plan.
  • We kept the existing built-in shelves, but framed them with trim to make them look more attractive.
  • The living room also has new recessed lights and new light fixtures.
  • Wood flooring. We installed new flooring in the kitchen. We refinished all the flooring on all levels of the house, applied a thinned black paint, then buffed and sealed the floors.

Stair railings. We refinished the railings and balusters on all the stairs. We replaced the railing on the stairs from the lower floor with a wall. We covered the wall with wainscoting.


AFTER: The reconfigured powder room, the window in the old kitchen is now in the new powder room.




Front bedroom suite update:


We removed the framed opening between the rooms to make it feel more spacious and removed the built-in shelves. We installed new cabinetry in the sitting room for the TV/entertainment equipment and a small refrigerator. We left the built-in seating in the curved niche.

For the bathroom in the front bedroom suite:

The original bathroom was long and only about 3-feet wide with an entry in the middle of the room. In fact, the bath was so narrow, users had to leave the door open to use the sink!


We closed a second opening to the hall to be able to widen the bathroom. This allowed us to place a large deeper closet in the corner. The new bathroom has a vanity and large shower with fold down bench.


Rear Bedroom. We installed shutters and new lights fixtures in this bedroom.

AFTER. The door leads to a small Juliet balcony.

The shutters to the left of the bed do not cover a window, but provide the illusion of a window for symmetry.

Hall bath. We gutted and renovated the hall bath by removing the tub and replacing it with a corner shower, and moving the location of the toilet and vanity.

The glass-enclosed shower in the corner, though generous, still allows for a storage cabinet.



































The green arrow points to the second door to the room we closed off to enlarge the bathroom. The enlarged closet outside the hall bathroom now holds HVAC equipment.





















Master Bedroom. We performed mostly cosmetic updates to the bedroom, but completely renovated the bathroom.

  • Removed built-in shelving on one side of the fireplace and installed furniture-like cabinets on both sides for a symmetric look
  • Kept the original shutters, but repainted them
  • Installed new light fixtures and recessed lights

AFTER. Two new pocket doors. The one on the left leads to the bathroom. The one in the middle is the closet.


Master bathroom. We gutted the closet area and existing bathroom to create one large room. The clients wanted two sinks and a large shower. The new shower almost takes up the entire space of the existing bathroom!

The bathroom’s wainscoting adds rich wood tones and a traditional look. The panels were purchased from the vanity cabinet manufacturer to match. The countertops are honed marble Crema Marfil.

For historic purposes, we did not remove the existing window. However, since it is now in the shower, we did install a vinyl window with frosted, tempered glass over the existing window. We framed the opening with tile. We installed glass shelves so the window acts as a shower niche.

AFTER: This is the “hers” sink with a bow-front cabinet, oval sink, and flared light fixtures. The shower is almost the size of the original bathroom and has a large bench.

This is the “his” vanity with a square sink and square light fixtures. We shifted the door to the original closet/bathroom to one side. The door is now a pocket door. This allowed us to add a closet door from the bedroom next to the bath.

Top Floor Deck.

A door at end of the hallway on this level leads to a roof deck.

BEFORE: The deck had a metal railing with a taller wood privacy fence installed in front of it.


AFTER: We installed new cedar top rails and posts topped with copper caps. The balusters are metal and the decking is a composite material. We added wall sconces.











Created by

Armin Bondoc and interior designer Whitney Stewart

Completed on

January 14, 2017


Whole-House, Historic Design