Single Work

House Rescue in DC’s Forest Hills

Description

Our clients purchased this 1940s home thinking the rundown property just needed a cosmetic makeover. As it turned out, the brick walls were damaged in places, the plumbing and wiring was outdated, there was no insulation in the walls, no air conditioning, and drafty single pane windows. When our team saw it, they thought it looked haunted!

“Importantly, the entire Landis team was on top of developments and techniques in design and construction. They knew about available materials and trends (in design and function, e.g. energy efficiency). This was more than we could have asked for. And when making our choices throughout the process, they consistently honored our request to be cost-conscious. They respected our budget concerns and worked with us, routinely pricing out for us assorted options at different price points. We are Landis fans and recommend them highly.” — The clients.

The family of five also wanted to modify the layout to create a large open kitchen with adjacent mudroom, update all the bathrooms, and install a family room in the basement. The clients had an outline of a plan from a previous designer, but we had to significantly modify it and add repair work that we found during construction.

The family has three kids and both spouses have busy law careers. They entreated us to fully oversee the project and finish it as quickly as we could because they were closing on the sale of their previous home. We were able to complete the major renovation of 4,700 square feet in six months, accommodating the clients’ wishes. The clients now refer to this project as a “house rescue.”

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Infrastructure

The house is in a great neighborhood and had a solid foundation, but the infrastructure needed a lot of attention including:

  • Repointing brick in a few areas
  • Adding insulation in all the walls and spray foam in the attic ceiling to increase energy-efficiency
  • Install new siding and trim on two dormers on rear elevation
  • Install new siding on gable end of garage and wall section on main house above
  • garage
  • Install new PVC trim in profiles to approximate those reflected drawings provided from original plans dated 1939
  • Adding central air to all four floors
  • New plumbing and electrical systems
  • Install new interior doors where needed
  • All new Pella Proline windows that match the traditional exterior
  • Demolish and rebuild crumbling front steps
  • New front door, new frieze, crown, pilasters, columns and trim around front door
  • New dentil molding at front of home
  • New garage door
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Replacing the rotting structure and siding on the rear exterior.

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Replacing the crumbling entry steps.

The only part of the home that required just a few repairs was the slate roof!

In order to fast track the project, we quickly created a 3D rendering of the kitchen area for them to approve. We met every other week with the owners. In addition, they heavily used our project management software to electronically approve selections and make comments. Since there were not many structural/foundation updates, we were able to secure a permit in one day which saved us a lot of time. Our crew was ready to go as soon as we had the permit. Usually we use a more phased approach to finalizing plans and making selections, but in this case three members of our team worked on the project simultaneously. This is not our usual process, but we were able to make it work.

Kitchen

The biggest change to the first floor is the new kitchen. The existing kitchen, pantry, and dining room were three cramped rooms. We combined these three rooms to create one large beautiful kitchen and a mudroom that is central to the family’s everyday life.

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In order to be able to remove the bearing wall between the dining room and kitchen, we installed a steel beam with columns, all of which are hidden behind walls and in the ceiling.

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The owners wanted to honor the home’s style and create timeless look with neutral finishes that could be accessorized with art and furniture.

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The home did not have a great connection to the rear yard. We installed a door from the kitchen, as well as a sliding door in the new dining room to the right.

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We created an opening between the kitchen and existing living room for better flow. We kept the original floors, toothed in new pieces and sanded and finished all the floors. The neutral palette includes maple cabinetry with a white glaze, blue glass subway tile, and light quartzite countertops on the island with darker countertops on the perimeter. A practical beverage center sits on the wall between the dining room and kitchen.

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BEFORE – View from dining room to den. The dining room was incorporated into the new kitchen. The den is now the casual dining room.

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BEFORE – View from the kitchen, past the pantry into the dining room. All of this became the new mudroom and kitchen.

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Two closets flank the opening from the foyer to the kitchen. This is an elegant solution that creates a buffer between the two spaces and provides a coat closet for the entry and a broom closet near the kitchen.

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BEFORE – View from the dining room to front foyer. There are now two closets that flank this entry.

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The mudroom is located off the side entry where the original kitchen was located and is close to the garage. The exterior door lines up with the door from the mudroom to the kitchen for great sightlines. We used custom cabinetry to create lockers for each of the three children. We reconfigured the nearby powder room and there is also a small study at the end of that hall.

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BEFORE – The original galley kitchen is now the mudroom.

Dining Room

The den off the original dining room had been a porch that was enclosed in a past remodel. The structure was not insulated. The owners wanted to use it as a dining room. We added insulation, new hardwood flooring, two new windows for additional light and a sliding glass door to the patio. It is easily accessed from the kitchen.

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BEFORE – view from the den to the original dining room.

Entry Foyer

We installed a new front door with glass to bring light into the foyer. We sanded and refinished the original door trim and stair railings. Down the hall from the entry foyer, we removed two closets in order to reconfigure the powder room, mudroom, and to make the study a little smaller.

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BEFORE – the solid doors made the foyer feel dark.

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Baths

We gutted and updated all five the bathrooms in the house. We reconfigured the powder room on the main floor to fit next to the new mudroom. In the master bathroom, we enlarged the shower and removed the old tub to create a hall closet to house a stacked washer/dryer.

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BEFORE – The master bath was not just outdated, it was in dire need of rescue.

For the second floor hall bath, we closed off one door that opened to a bedroom, but kept the entry door to the hall. This bath was to be shared by three kids. We didn’t have quite enough space for a double sink vanity, so we selected a long trough-like sink and installed two faucets so two kids can use it at the same time.

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The long 36-inch trough-like sink with two faucets is a clever solution for a bath that is shared by three kids.

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Before: We closed off the door to the right of the sink that led to a bedroom.

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We completely reconfigured the original attic bathroom.

12a AtticBath Before 267x200 - House Rescue in DC’s Forest Hills The original attic bathroom had low ceilings and was not comfortable to use. We enlarged it into the adjacent sitting room and added a large shower. We replaced the window that is now in the shower, and used obscure glass for privacy. The floor tile and marble vanity top match the style of the original house.
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Basement

We reconfigured some of the storage rooms in the basement. There was a powder room in the basement, but it was in an odd location. We built a full bath with shower and placed it in a central area.

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Rear Exterior

We installed new railing, flooring, and French doors on the upstairs deck off the master bedroom deck. We installed a new garage door and siding on the garage gable and rear of the house.

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BEFORE – Rear exterior

We are proud of our contribution to bring a 1940 gem of a house back to life for a new generation!

Summary
Created by

Landis

Skills

Whole House

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