From the street, this 1876 rowhouse in Georgetown’s West Village looks much the same as its neighbors. All were built in a Second Empire style with Neo-Grec details. But behind its traditional facade lies a contemporary space well-suited to modern living.

The entire 3,600-square-foot dwelling was gutted and reconfigured in 2008 by Washington architect Robert M. Gurney. According to the architect’s Web site, the owners were attracted to the historical character of the home but wanted a house with modern amenities, spaces for their expanding art collection and a garden better connected to the interior spaces. It also had to accommodate their young children.

The original house was “a series of very small, compartmentalized spaces,” Gurney told the magazine, Residential Architect.

Gurney moved the center staircase to the side to open up the interior, creating a large living room with 12-foot ceilings, ebony-stained oak floors, white walls and recessed lighting. The room became a gallery space for the couple’s modern art collection.

He sought to maintain the home’s historic character while incorporating modern details. On the first floor, traditional elements found in the moldings, fireplaces, mantels and hearths were blended with contemporary features.

“It’s a synthesis of the new and modern with the old,” Gurney told Residential Architect.

An old addition on the rear of the house was removed in favor of a wall of steel and glass that connects the modern kitchen with the landscaped outdoor space and paints the area with natural light. The kitchen features white and gray marble floors, custom cabinetry by Bulthaup, thin-cut stone counters from Waterworks, a built-in Miele espresso machine, a Sub-Zero refrigerator and Miele wall and convection ovens.

The upper floors were rearranged to produce a spacious master suite on the second floor and two bedrooms on the third floor. The master suite includes a gas fireplace, one of four in the home, and a hallway of closets that leads to the master bathroom. The stainless steel sink and counters in the master bath were designed by the architect.

On the lower level, the floor was dug out to create more ceiling height. The two main living areas are connected by a hallway wet bar.

The two-story guest house has a similar design as the main house. The lower level is used as an exercise room, while the upper level has a bedroom, full bathroom and wet bar.

The home has been featured in several magazines and received several awards, including 2008 Award of Excellence in Architecture by the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects.

“It’s an extraordinary creation of what is normally a traditional Georgetown property,” said listing agent Nancy Taylor Bubes of Washington Fine Properties. “The owners and the architect had a great vision to put this together because often you can get great design, but rarely can you get interior decor to match — and this is a case where they are both a win-win.”

The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house is listed at $4.2 million.

Listing: 1418 33rd St. NW

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@KathyOrtonWP, @postrealestate

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