This DC rowhouse in the Shaw historic district had been the victim of many poor renovations throughout the years. Nearly all of the original historic details had been removed and replaced with ad-hock, clumsy interventions completely lacking in design.
Our goals were threefold: We brought more light into the house with windows, skylights, and large openings between spaces; We renovated the entire house with quality and sustainably-sourced materials; And we developed an architectural language which is reminiscent of the era of the original house while still streamlined and forward looking.
Spaces throughout the house were connected and reconnected with large cased openings, pilasters and beams, and other architectural details. The result is that each room has it’s own spatial definition, but the large openings and connections allow for easy flow throughout the house. The existing fireplaces were restored and redesigned to once again be focal points in each space. Built-in cabinets were then designed to compliment these ornate fireplace surrounds in order to enhance and relate to the architecture of each area.
Doors, wood fireplace surrounds, stair parts, and hardware were reclaimed and re-purposed in order to capitalize on embodied energy. New energy-efficient windows and skylights were used in concert with modern insulation to enhance the efficiency of the thermal envelope. Many building materials were locally-sourced and used at various stages of construction.
The back façade of the house was redesigned to bring in more light, while new brickwork picks up on the details of the front of the house through it’s corbels, arches, and brick patterns. The result is a pleasantly scaled garden façade which relates to the adjacent exterior space and creates a new garden entry into the house.
Photos by Stacy Zarin Goldberg 2020