Brookland House Before/After

Post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

Last summer we completed the renovation of our Brookland House project, with J.Allen Smith Design/Build as the General Contractor. It was a complex project. The age of the house and the fact that it was balloon framed presented some challenges, but all is well that ends well.

We recently stopped by for a pre-shoot. A more comprehensive professional photo shoot will be done in the Spring once the landscaping phase is completed.

Here are some before/after shots illustrating the transformation that the house underwent


At the front of the house, windows, front door and siding were modified/replaced, the front porch was updated with cedar trim and wider steps.


At the rear of the house a new kitchen/family room and master suite were added, to replace a 1950's addition. The footprint of the house did not change, however, which simplified the permitting process.


A two foot wide unsafe stair was replaced with a centrally located stair that became the organizing element of the new house.  An existing long front hall and compartmentalized spaces were transformed to an open plan through the removal of several load-bearing walls which we replaced with new flush beams.

A retro kitchen was replaced with an efficient new kitchen opening onto the family room and new exterior deck (note the pantry under the stair landing).

See more photos of the finished house, renderings and construction photos HERE!



post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

While visiting a job site this morning we stumbled upon a nearby vacant building. Inside we found a cathedral of sorts: an almost empty shell, most of the floor framing removed, and the unique opportunity to experience a row house as a single volume with light piercing from various directions. The building will likely be converted to cookie cutter condominiums and the sublime nature of its current condition erased forever.

While we certainly have nothing against renovations, we wish there were more opportunities for maintaining some of the inherent beauty of these empty shells.


post by Catarina Ferreira, AIA

Our recently completed roof deck renovation in Washington DC's Adams Morgan neighborhood is an illustration of why design matters. By 'design' I don't mean just what meets the eye, but all aspects of the project, from the inside out.

An unusually small lot in a dense neighborhood made having a roof deck a necessity. The lot occupancy in this case is 100% (a variance was obtained to make that happen) and there is no other outdoor space to speak of. Unfortunately, the original roof deck was poorly built, with pressure treated framing directly on top of the roof membrane and permanent decking boards, which quickly led to serious problems. Many leaks developed, causing damage to the interior of the townhouse. We were hired to fix the problems by replacing the roof membrane, recommending repairs, and rebuilding the roof deck in a technically appropriate manner, while maximizing its usability. Accomplishing all of this was no small task, given that the project is in a historic district and there are strict zoning restrictions.

The new roof deck is a pedestal system on an extra thick TPO roof membrane, a more durable, accessible, and ultimately more repairable solution. A pergola was added, with built-in seating and an outdoor kitchen/bar. An existing hot tub was relocated and made more private, an outdoor fireplace and landscaping were also added along with slat screens around the rear of the deck (facing neighbors windows) for privacy screening and sound attenuation.

The new outdoor kitchen and lounge area, with green wall as privacy screen in rear.

Slideshow of Before Photos

A green wall designed by archi-TEXTUAL and constructed by Impact Construction.

Relocated hot tub + pergola makes better use of corner space.

The new pergola with green wall as privacy screen and built-in seating.


Here at archi-TEXTUAL we are grateful to have five house renovation projects under construction! We stopped by each one today to take a look at their various stages of completion.

Project 1: Brookland DC

full gut renovation + rear addition

Project 2: Petworth Rowhouse

full gut renovation + new basement apartment

Project 3: Takoma Park Bungalow

full gut renovation, construction by owner

Project 4: Petworth Townhouse

full gut renovation + new basement apartment

Project 5: Petworth Semi-Detached

full gut renovation + carriage house addition

In addition to these five, we have two more projects entering demolition phase, and will soon be under construction!