The Redpaths renovated earlier this year to create spaces that meet the needs of their daughter Helena, 4, and son Thatcher, 2, and still reflect their hip tastes.
Their secret? Lots of storage and two family rooms: a hangout space adjoining their super-contemporary kitchen and a second-floor sunroom where the preschoolers can jump and play on a huge modular sofa.
The two family rooms are within earshot of one another and are connected by a new staircase at the back of the house. “It’s great to have both, especially when we entertain,” says Renee Redpath, 36, a part-time risk management consultant. “The adults can relax downstairs in the kitchen-family room, but we can still hear and have easy access to the kids playing upstairs.”
Their vision of using the space to create this dynamic was a factor in the Redpaths’ decision to purchase the 1973 brick Colonial in 2008 from its original owner. “It had no curb appeal, but we liked its large size and solidness,” says Tyson Redpath, 34, a lobbyist. “We knew our family would expand, and we wanted the room to grow.”
After moving in with toddler Helena, the homeowners replaced the old kitchen appliances and tore out carpeting to expose the parquet floors, but waited to overhaul the other rooms within the 4,500-square-foot home.
In 2010, son Thatcher was born, and two years later, the Redpaths decided to undertake a major renovation with the help of Jannsen Design, a District design-build firm discovered by Renee Redpath on the Chevy Chase community e-mail group.
“The project was ambitious from the start,” says the company’s owner, Neil Jannsen. “Most people would have just put in a new kitchen, but they changed the entire house while still living in it.”
To help Jannsen visualize her ideas, Renee compiled aspirational design photos into a digital scrapbook on the Web site houzz.com. “The beauty of renovating after living in the house for four years is that we knew what we wanted — a clean, modern look,” she says.
Topping the homeowners’ agenda was taking down walls to create a continuous flow of spaces on the main level. “The house used to be compartmentalized and super-dark,” Renee recalls. “It was a shrine to 1973.”
To make the ground-floor rooms seem more spacious, a hallway leading from the front door to the kitchen was demolished. That allowed the dining area to be enlarged by opening it to the foyer.
The kitchen, in turn, was combined with the family room and expanded into the space once occupied by the attached garage. Another part of the garage was turned into a mudroom, with an entrance leading to the backyard and the swing set.
Upstairs, in the rear sunroom that was turned into a family room, sliding glass doors were replaced with new windows and a wet bar was added along with the refrigerator, dishwasher and faucet from the homeowners’ initial kitchen remodeling. During the renovation, the room served as a temporary kitchen for the Redpaths.