Single Work

Combining Condominiums in a Historic Building


Grand Award – Residential Interior, $250K to $500K, 2014 NARI Metro DC Chapter Capitol CotY Award

The owners of a one-bedroom condominium in the historic Watergate building in Washington D.C. purchased an adjacent apartment, which was a mirror of their apartment. We took down the wall between the two apartments and created a large central living area with an open, contemporary kitchen.

The couple often has children and grandchildren visiting, so the additional square footage of the adjacent apartment would provide a second bedroom for guests. They also needed a larger living area for entertaining. Another important goal was a semi-private office that they both could use.

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Our designer maintained that open space because it highlights the best feature in the apartment—the wall of windows that overlook the Potomac and flood the space with sunlight. The kitchen is open to the living area, which helps maintain that great room feel.

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The designer had to work within two curved walls of the historic building—the outside curve with a window wall and the inside curve. For the kitchen peninsula, he opted to mimic the curve of the walls. Our in-house crew had to customize the Ikea cabinets to fill in the gaps created by placing the straight line cabinets on a curve. We purchased trim panel pieces that the crew cut on site in a trapezoidal shape to fill the gaps. The quartz countertops follow the same subtle curve.

The kitchen has an adjacent pantry that was going to have a doorway to the kitchen. However, this was not possible because the crew found the plumbing runs horizontally in that wall. We redesigned the doorway into a pass-through with an opening and countertop that allows the owners to easily convey items from the pantry to the kitchen.

A small bar is located in a niche between the pantry door and kitchen peninsula, is ideal for entertaining and has a small sink, a wine refrigerator and glass shelves for stemware.

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The owners tasked our designer to be creative with ideas for carving some space for an office from the open room. Our designer took into account that they needed office storage and a coat closet, and came up with the idea to build a wall that has file cabinets and shelves on one side and six closet units on the other.

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The wall unit was custom crafted by a cabinet maker to fit the space and storage needs. The wall helps create a foyer and a circulation path into the main body of the apartment. The closet side is painted glossy black and the doors have hidden magnetic latches.

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The shelves and file drawers on the office side are painted gray.

Two four-foot by eight-foot glass barn doors create privacy in the office as needed. These glass doors and the transom above the storage wall allow natural light to flow into the apartment interior. The hardware for the sliding glass doors had to be mounted into the concrete ceiling.

In the master suite, we reconfigured the original bath and made it larger, then create a galley closet outside the bathroom. The master closet drawers and shelves were also made by our cabinetmaker. We removed the existing tub and installed a large shower on the other side of the bathroom. We had to fit the P-trap under the shower drain but could not drill through the concrete floor, so we created a step-up shower floor. A new vanity provides plenty of counter space for the couple.

The homeowners did not want side tables by the bed, so we create a niche in the wall above the bed to store books and other items.

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Completed on

March 14, 2016