Single Work

Restoring an Historic Capitol Hill Row House

Description

This three-story row house had great bones but the interior had been changed over the decades. In the process of a complete renovation, we gutted most of the interior. That enabled us to modernize the systems, including plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. As the house is located in a historic district, we could not alter the exterior shell, so we had to work around the window locations and work within tight tolerances on the interior. The home was to be used as a residence for a UK-based company where the CEO stays and entertains while conducting business in Washington. The company was dedicated restoring the interior back to its 1890s style.

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The historic features we restored on the exterior included:

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  • We replaced all the vinyl windows that had been installed over the years with historic board-approved Pella Architect Series wood windows.
  • The slate roof on front dormer was original, but had to be fixed/cleaned
  • We repainted the pink brick exterior with a more muted beige and used blue for the horizontal stone bands and window accents.
  • We removed the metal steps and sent them to a specialist to strip, repair and repaint.
  • We refinished the original wood double front doors and repainted the house number in the arched transom above.
  • We fixed the sagging bay windows on the back of the house.
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After: Rear sagging bay window fixed.

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After: Metal steps restored.

Ultra liv fire 8 8 18 055 683x1024 - Restoring an Historic Capitol Hill Row HouseThe historic features we restored on the interior included:

  • We fixed the existing bowed heart pine floor on the first level, then refinished them.
  • We fixed the sagging wood on the stairs and refinished the treads. We stripped layers of paint off the newel post, revealing a beautiful carving, and refinished it in a natural stain.
  • There were two sets of 9-foot tall pocket doors on the first floor. One set stayed in the original opening, but we made the doors operable by updating the original scissor mechanism (something our crew had never seen before!) with modern hardware. We moved the second set of doors into a new opening between the living/dining room and kitchen.
  • We found several fireplaces that had been covered up. We restored two of the brick fireplaces – one in the living room and one on the second floor. They are too shallow to be operable. We installed a new mantel in the living room.
  • We added crown molding, medallions, casings, base trim, and crowns to match the original moldings. We restored trim and rosettes around second-floor French doors. We added wainscoting to be compatible with the design of the period.

Most of the operable transoms throughout the house had been replaced with fixed glass. If we reconfigured the size of the doorways, we updated the fixed glass, but framed it to match as close to the original as we could.Ultra conf door 8 8 18  238 1024x683 - Restoring an Historic Capitol Hill Row House

After: Restored casings and transoms.

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Restored 9-foot pocket doors and newel post.

First Floor

The first floor had been three separate rooms. We took down walls to create one large open living/dining room. We exposed the original brick fireplace and added a mantel.

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BEFORE

We built a new opening between the kitchen and front living/dining room. We moved a set of original pocket doors into this opening to allow closing off the kitchen for parties. We refinished the original heart pine floors on most of this floor but used new flooring in the kitchen. The kitchen has white Shaker cabinets.

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With the pocket doors closed.

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We widened the doorway from the kitchen to the hallway to create a more comfortable areaway to the back yard.

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BEFORE

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The kitchen has a coffee station with cabinetry and built-in coffee machine. We built custom covers like this for most of the radiators throughout the house.

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Second Floor

The clients wanted a home office, so on this floor, we converted the middle and front bedrooms into an office with separate conference table. We reconfigured and renovated the existing full bathroom. We installed new wood floors in the hallway and offices.

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We exposed one of the brick fireplaces in the house.

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BEFORE: The original fireplace was converted into storage.

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BEFORE

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Second floor hall bath.

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Second floor hall bath.

Third Floor

We converted three existing rooms and closets into two bedrooms with en suite baths. We had to add a new bathroom in a closet off the front bedroom. We reconfigured and updated an existing rear hall bath for the second bedroom. Closing off the hall door to that bathroom allowed us to install a laundry closet on this floor. We installed new wood floors in the hallway and bedrooms.

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BEFORE

 

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Rear bath has one section of window closed off because the window is in the new shower

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BEFORE

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The previous owner’s mother planted this fig tree from a seed. Our clients asked us to save it during the backyard renovation. We repainted the exterior, replaced all the windows, and added a flagstone patio.

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BEFORE

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BEFORE

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BEFORE

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