As remodeling candidates, some houses offer architects more to work with than others. This one? Not so much. “It was the prototypical suburban brick house,” says architect Robert M. Gurney, who nevertheless incorporated the original shell in an expanded building that maintains friendly relations with its neighbors while far transcending its humble 20th-century roots.
“We really didn't want to disrupt the rhythm of the street,” says Gurney, who with project designer Claire L. Andreas tightened up the Monopoly-piece form of the original house, stretching its first-floor windows from floor to ceiling and wrapping the existing garage wing in patinaed copper. A lean steel-framed front porch ties the two elements, which conceal a substantial addition at the rear. Radically revamped floor plans erase every hint of interior clutter, while modernist detailing applies natural materials in broad, clean strokes. To expand the sense of vertical space, “everything goes to the ceiling,” Gurney says—windows, doors, cabinets, even the custom return air grills. “We thought about every inch of this house.”
Our judges deemed the result “a pretty dramatic transformation.” They were equally taken with the site plan—a tidy composition that culminates in an abstractly simple garden shed with what one declared “the most beautiful stonework we've seen all day.”
Entrant/Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Alexandria, Va.
Builder: Peterson and Collins, Washington, D.C.
Interior designer: Baron Gurney Interiors, Washington, D.C.
Living space: 5,300 square feet
Site: 0.17 acre
Construction cost: Withheld
Photographer: Maxwell MacKenzie.
Bathroom fittings: Dornbracht Americas, Hansgrohe, Speakman Co.; Bathroom fixtures: Agape, Kohler Co., KWC America; Bathroom cabinets: Franke Consumer Products; Dishwasher: Miele; Exterior siding: Wolf Distributing Co.; Hardware: Baldwin Hardware Corp., Von Morris Corp.; Lighting fixtures: ANTA Leuchten GmbH, Artemide U.S.A., BEGA/US; Oven/range: Wolf Appliance; Refrigerator: Sub-Zero; Skylights/roof windows: Dulles Glass & Mirror; Windows: Weather Shield Manufacturing