The Real Deal

Our single family residential projects are typically owner occupied. One has become an exception to that rule: the Bethesda Renovation/Addition. In this total gut renovation and addition project, a non-descript 1950's house was radically transformed. You may recall this blog post about the project, written during the design process.

The house is nearing completion, and is now a gracious 4,500 sq 5 bedroom,  4 bathroom contemporary home on cul-de-sac in Bethesda's exclusive Fort Sumner neighborhood, minutes from Washington DC.


Although in love with their new home, after an unusually long construction process due to a change in contractors, the owners have decided to sell the property. That decisions presents potential buyers with the rare opportunity to own a brand new, custom designed residence that was not a quick-flip led by developers, but a carefully designed, sourced, and constructed luxurious residence. 5006 Wyandot Ct, Bethesda MD, is a truly unique home, and is being offered at the price of $2,000,000. For the official listing, go here.

In addition to bright, spacious rooms throughout, the nearly finished home includes several unusual perks such as a gourmet kitchen with cabinets from Zampieri Cucine and high quality appliances (Miele ovens and built-in coffee maker, Wolf induction cooktop, and Liebherr built-in refrigerator), high end LED lighting throughout, 2 fireplaces, a large master suite with open dressing room and master bath (which includes a steam shower, soaking tub and custom concrete sink), several integral plaster accent walls, a large lower level recreation room with direct access to the backyard at grade, a large home gym/playroom. In addition, sustainable materials and practices were used throughout this home.

Some finishing touches still need to be applied, but the first open house took place on 7/15/17. Interest is already high.

Backwards Dog Leg

Post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

The term "dog leg" refers to the narrowing of the rear portion of a row house, to allow more light and air to penetrate interior spaces. In most row houses, the dog leg is located on the same side of the entrance door and stair, also allowing 3 bedrooms to occupy the 2nd floor: master in front, 2nd bedroom in the middle, with the dog leg providing an egress window, and a 3rd bedroom at the rear.

We are currently working on the renovation of a historic row house in Washington DC in which the opposite occurs: the dog leg is on the opposite side of the entrance door. In the original house, the stair was located in the center of the floor plan, not directly in front of the entry door, and L-shaped. It started off perpendicular to the length of the row house, came to a mid-point landing, then split off in two different directions: to the master bedroom at the front of the house and, with another set of steps, to the rear bedrooms. As a result, the owners could not walk from one end of the 2nd floor to the other, or from the master bedroom to the rear bedrooms, without going up and down stairs. It also created a very compartmentalized 1st floor and  occupied a larger than necessary amount of real estate, with its double upper runs. Hard to believe, right?

Our clients came to us with a floor plan in mind that reflected a typical row house renovation layout: single run stairs directly in front of the front door, living room and dining room on the other side of the floor plate, kitchen at the rear with access to a small yard and parking area. This plan presented two major problems: the 'bonus' window created by the dog leg would be mostly blocked by the new stair, and the location of the stair itself would eliminate the possibility of ever having 3 bedrooms on the 2nd floor, despite the fact that there was just about enough space for 3 bedrooms.


Well, flipping the dog leg would be a major effort... Instead, we flipped the stair to the other side of the row house. 


Although not as obvious at first, this layout choice solved all of he problems listed above. In addition, it created a design opportunity: the stair would now be a highly visible sculptural element upon entering the row house, not just something to walk by or up and down. It also helped to open up the floor plan visually, and improved circulation. Of course the stair had to be special. In this case, it is also the backdrop for the dining area, so more than a standard railing was desirable. We proposed a wall of see through shelving with a double life as a guardrail instead. This move also created a nice backdrop for the dining area.



By focusing on the project TEXT, and keep the options open, we were able to turn a minus into a plus.

With this simple layout improvement, the value of the property will be significantly higher, due to the possibility of making the 2nd floor study into a 3rd bedroom with minimal construction. For now, our clients will keep it an open room, but isn't it nice to know you can add several tens of thousands of dollars to your property value simply by adding a wall and a door? That's just one benefit, though: the interior spaces are also brighter and more unique as result, and until they sell, our clients will surely enjoy them more.



Not Modern Enough?

Post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

For an architecturally conservative town, Washington DC and  surrounding cities have a decent stock of mid-century architecture, especially homes. A lot of them are desperately in need of a face-lift, sometimes a total overhaul. Mid-century renovations are one of our specialties at arc-T. 

In the case of our Courtyard House renovation, our clients had purchased a 1950's home near Mount Vernon in good condition, specifically because it was a modern house, a few years before I met them. Bit by bit, their the house started to feel a bit dated, and no longer modern enough...

The house pre-renovation

I met them on a Saturday morning a year or so before they actually became clients, to talk about how they could make their dream of owning a true modern house come true, and encouraged them to buy a mid-century house in need of a renovation. After searching for a few months, my clients decided that, ironically, the home they already owned was the best candidate and gave me call. The budget was tight, as is often the case. We needed to devise a plan for transforming the house into a more up to date, comfortable modern home as efficiently as possible.

Most of the house received only a light face-lift inside and out. The big moves involved converting a small garage into an extension of the living room, raised one half of the existing gabled roof in the new living room, and adding a new garage, creating an entrance Courtyard, and added a screened porch. On the interior a new kitchen (w/ Zampieri Cucine cabinets, of course!), a new master bath and dressing room, a new hall bath and powder room were provided, in order to bring the house up to 21st century standards. 

We are giving our clients a little time to settle in, but we hope to be able to share professional photographs of this project with you soon.