Our old kitchen was big- but it was just plain nasty," recalls the owner of a stucco turn-of-the-century house in Chevy Chase. The couple's answer it and start all over with a bright, airy two-story room designed for eating and entertaining.

One easy solution might have been to gut the existing room and add a wall of windows. But the couple wanted a place with character and imagination, so they created a fanciful glass room of windows that range from floor to ceiling and of skylights above. A hole 26 feet wide by 12 feet tall was cut out of the back of the house where a screened porch used to sit. In its stead a new one-and-a-half story glass room (16 by 26 feet) was added.

To avoid the often-jarring contrast that a new room presents when attached to an older home, designer David Mathes of Ramsey Engineering & Construction used pine paneling inside, oak gingerbread railing and multi-paned windows. The impression is at once old and new. The working portion of the kitchen is on the first floor of the house with a table overlooking the lower level, which opens onto the garden. The owners of the house have all but abandoned their traditional dining room, preferring to entertain in the glass room. For parties, they fill the garden level with tables and serve dinner on both levels. Says the owner: "It's wonderful -- we turned the whole room into a restaurant and our guests love it."