Our renovation of this home is the story of the tension and eventual marriage between the past and future of a 1900 Georgetown townhome. This project was a USGBC LEED for Homes Platinum level renovation with historic restoration for which we won the NARI CotY “Finalist” Award Winner 2009. The entire home was reconfigured and updated with all new floor plan, a basement dig-out and a three story addition at the rear.
Our renovation of this home is the story of the tension and eventual marriage between the past and future of a 1900 Georgetown townhome. This project was a USGBC LEED for Homes Platinum level renovation with historic restoration. The entire home was reconfigured and updated with an all new floor plan, a basement dig-out and a three story addition at the rear. Work also included all new systems, new windows and doors, a new roof and a new fire separation at the original party wall.
The home had gone through several renovations over the past century. With each of these renovations a piece of the original home was sloughed off and the fashion of the era erected in its space. Our mission was to restore the home’s best 1900 detail and blend this with modern building techniques and systems for an extremely resource efficient and healthy “green” home.
The design and permitting process required an extensive review by the Old Georgetown Board of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and then a sign off by the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB).
The HPRB mandated that the main original historic front facade could not be changed including the windows. They also wanted the rear addition, which was slightly visible from the side, to be constructed with brick rather than framing. After reviewing implications of rebuilding the existing windows, we and our customer decided to make major repairs to the windows including: replacing some sash cords and some panes of glass, new hardware and new weather stripping.
Due to cost, the upper sashes were simply sealed shut. High end wood storm windows were also installed. A blower door test completed at the end of the project demonstrated the window assemblies achieved a better than expected air infiltration grade similar to the new windows.
Within the last 50 years, a “modern” stair tower addition was constructed at one side of the home. This was better integrated into the front facade through a new historically appropriate front door with transom, exterior trim and a new window configuration.
The stair tower was better integrated into the space to feel more appropriate to the home. The stiar itself was changed to a more historically appropriate one with historically appropriate handrail and salvaged heart pine treads.
At commencement of construction nothing in the home was level or square. Furthermore, the home turned out to be somewhat wedge shaped from front to back. Care was taken to correct these idiosyncrasies of the home as much as possible. During design, a good deal of thought was taken to select and install materials suitable for the period of the home.
* We had molding custom milled using profiles appropriate to a Georgetown home of this era (Lumber was reclaimed by an urban forester.) This includes two-piece baseboard, window and door trim and crown molding.
* Floors throughout the main portion of the home are reclaimed heart pine.
* Solid wood five panel doors, in many cases with transoms, were chosen for their appropriateness to the home.
* The bathrooms and kitchens are updated. The kitchen was designed for a more modern lifestyle with a more open plan.
* The rear elevation uses modern materials with historically appropriate profiles.
* The exterior staircase was made of reclaimed white oak which will be allowed to weather elegantly.
* we installed a chandelier aesthetically appropriate for the period of the home.
* The front wrought iron handrails and flagstone walk were restored.
* At the end of the project, we needed to replace the water service out to the street. This entailed removing and carefully replacing historic cobblestones and brickwork. When we were done, one could barely tell that a huge trench had been dug.
* The entire house was insulated with Demilac opencell foam insulation. Not only does this contribute to the comfort and energy efficiency of the home, but ir also mitigates sound infiltration from the historic cobbled street out front.
The renovated home honors the elegant detailing and finishes of its origin. While above and beyond the historic restoration results of this project, it also achieved a high LEED for Homes Platinum rating. The house is more than twice as energy efficient as a home constructed to today’s energy code.
The homeowners and their kids living in the in-law suite below are very happy with their elegant home.