After living in their home for over 20 years, these Northwest DC homeowners desperately needed a new kitchen and more living space.
The owners’ had lived in their Chevy Chase DC house for more than 20 years always envisioning their dream kitchen, a small sitting room, all with a view to their the backyard. Having this dream realized was one of their goals in having a two-story addition designed and built on the back of their original 1916 Craftsman style home. The original plan was to expand their existing kitchen, but the final solution involved moving the kitchen and sitting room entirely into the new addition and using the original kitchen as a butler’s pantry/coffee making area.
They also wanted to add a little more square footage to a 2nd floor sleeping room. There was an existing two-story screened-in porch on the rear of the house that had to be removed. These two stories enclosed the couple’s 2nd floor master bathroom, which they wanted to keep intact. We kept the original foyer, parlor/living room, and dining room intact. As you come in the front door, you are met with the original stair foyer, but can see straight through to the backyard. This pulls you into the kitchen, but the circulation pattern does not go through the kitchen work spaces.
As part of being true to the Craftsman style of the house, on the interior we did some repurposing using a fifteen-light door from the second floor as the door into the new walk-in pantry off the kitchen. We echoed the original dark wood trim of the Craftsman house, using stained trim around the addition’s new windows and doors, as an accent on floating shelves and on a large light shelf for the kitchen’s clerestory windows. Although the kitchen cabinets came from a commercial manufacturer, we worked with a local mill shop to make dark trim around the cabinets and shelves throughout. All of the original interior details—the moldings and wood floors—had been maintained. We were successful in harmonizing the new addition with the Craftsman style of the house.
Our clients wanted to keep their existing upstairs master bathroom intact, but the bath was within the original two story screened-in porch that we were removing. Keeping it was important to them because of cost and not wanting to remove a bath that was in good condition. This necessitated our shoring up part of the 2nd floor bathroom, removing the rest of the 2nd story and rebuilding a larger two story addition around the existing master bath. We framed out the walls and floor system separate from the bath. This gives them the freedom to tear out the bath sometime in the future and create a larger master bathroom.
Supporting the 2nd floor bath, and dealing with the terracotta wall construction of the exterior walls posed a real problem in terms of getting structural bearing points. We needed to do this to make larger openings from the original house into the new addition. This was a challenge and required creative engineering.
• Before tearing off the existing screen porch structure, we installed a beam running the width of the house to support the existing master bathroom addition.
• Another series of beams was added at the existing first and second floors to provide stability and attachment for the new structure.
• Sections of the terra cotta blocks were filled with concrete to ensure a stable structure for the existing and new parts of the house.
On the exterior, in our effort to harmonize with the Craftsman style, we used natural materials and colors and we brought in a lot of horizontal elements to break up the materials of the addition. The exterior of the existing house is heavy rock stucco. We wanted something softer as the exterior cladding on the addition where the owners would interact with the back yard. We used both cedar shingles and Hardie siding. We introduced horizontal band boards into the exterior to break up the clerestory windows and the change of material. The dark band motif is repeated on both the interior and exterior.
Building the addition at the same width as the original house required two DC zoning variances. The original house, built in 1916, was within four feet on each side of the property line. Current DC building code requires an eight foot clearance. Only with the two variances were we able to keep the addition as wide as the existing house.
This relatively modest 2-story addition has transformed the rear of this home from drab and dreary to bright, exciting and fully-functional:
• The kitchen is a space that is inviting for both our clients and their guests to relax and enjoy.
• Variety of materials draws on a consistent color palette to ensure cohesion within the spaces and throughout the house.
• Simple warm palette provides the perfect backdrop to display the homeowners’ eclectic collection of brightly colored glassware and figures.
• By increasing the useable space within the kitchen and butler’s pantry, the homeowners now have a much more functional and aesthetically-pleasing space in which to enjoy their daily routines and special occasions.
September 10, 2013