Launch Slideshow

The firm used salvaged materials and reused as much of the elements in the building as possible. BELL tightened the envelope, restored the millwork and the original windows, and exposed the beams, among other moves.

bell architects

Washington, D.C., firm known for preservation and adaptive reuse transforms an 1880s-era row house into its new office space.

bell architects

Washington, D.C., firm known for preservation and adaptive reuse transforms an 1880s-era row house into its new office space.

  • The firm used salvaged materials and reused as much of the elements in the building as possible. BELL tightened the envelope, restored the millwork and the original windows, and exposed the beams, among other moves.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp4F27%2Etmp_tcm48-369965.jpg

    true

    The firm used salvaged materials and reused as much of the elements in the building as possible. BELL tightened the envelope, restored the millwork and the original windows, and exposed the beams, among other moves.

    600

    Anice Hoachlander

    The firm used salvaged materials and reused as much of the elements in the building as possible. BELL tightened the envelope, restored the millwork and the original windows, and exposed the beams, among other moves.

  • Located in a rapidly changing area of Washington, D.C., the office space of BELL Architects is easily identified by its electric blue door.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp4F24%2Etmp_tcm48-369938.jpg

    true

    Located in a rapidly changing area of Washington, D.C., the office space of BELL Architects is easily identified by its electric blue door.

    600

    Anice Hoachlander

    Located in a rapidly changing area of Washington, D.C., the office space of BELL Architects is easily identified by its electric blue door.

  • A local millwork specialist crafted the new custom reception desk on the first level.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp4F26%2Etmp_tcm48-369956.jpg

    true

    A local millwork specialist crafted the new custom reception desk on the first level.

    600

    Anice Hoachlander

    A local millwork specialist crafted the new custom reception desk on the first level.

  • Tucked into the innards of the historic townhouse is a slick, contemporary kitchen with paper-based and stainless steel countertops, and a sliding barn door.

    http://www.residentialarchitect.com/Images/tmp4F25%2Etmp_tcm48-369947.jpg

    true

    Tucked into the innards of the historic townhouse is a slick, contemporary kitchen with paper-based and stainless steel countertops, and a sliding barn door.

    600

    Anice Hoachlander

    Tucked into the innards of the historic townhouse is a slick, contemporary kitchen with paper-based and stainless steel countertops, and a sliding barn door.

Two years ago BELL Architects was running out of room for its 14-person staff, so firm leadership felt the time had come to buy a building. The Washington, D.C.–based architects specialize in preservation and adaptive reuse with a sustainable focus, so naturally, they bought a 4,500-square-foot, circa late 1880s row house. “We had our choice of five buildings that were available,” explains principal T. David Bell, AIA, LEED AP. “This one”—located in the city’s newly revitalized Northwest section near the convention center—“was in the worst condition, but we chose it because it already had power.”

Using a combination of salvaged and reuse strategies, BELL tightened the envelope with foam insulation, restore the staircase with replicated pieces, renovated the original windows, refinished the pine floors, exposed the beams, and commissioned a new reception desk. A sleek kitchen contains a document storage area with paper-based and steel countertops, and for added flair, the front door is painted an eye-catching electric blue. Says Bell: "We wanted to be historic, but we also wanted to be bold."