“We love to build beautiful things, and sometimes it’s not economically the smartest decision,” Jawed says. “We probably had 20 different design options for the space, but we took a gamble on this to design a luxurious single-family home.”
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Built in 1906, the house — at 12th and T streets NW and listed at $3.38 million — has a distinctive turret that required special restoration.
“Some of the brick was failing around the turret, and there was some water damage inside from deferred maintenance,” says Charles Warren, a principal and co-founder of Teass \ Warren Architects, which designed the house’s new interior. “We worked with the Historic Preservation Review Board to follow their guidelines when we put in new windows, repointed the bricks and took off an old addition from the back of the house.”
The renovated interior’s modern features were chosen to complement original elements of the house.
“We wanted the interior to have a clean and modern layout yet also have a traditional feel with the elegant proportional windows, kind of a ‘soft modern’ approach,” Warren says. “For instance, the staircase is a little more ornate than in some contemporary homes, but not overly so.”
The staircase is in the middle of the house, behind the front door, and Warren says the design team wanted it to be a “core element, which gave us the opportunity to do something interesting and sculptural and then radiate the spaces out from the core.”
Warren and Jawed worked with interior designer Evelyn Pierce, owner of the Evelyn Pierce Design Studio, and consulted with real estate agents Nancy Taylor Bubes and Matt Ackland throughout the renovation. Pierce designed an aesthetically pleasing oval-shaped balustrade for the stairs. The house has four levels, including the basement, and the developers added an elevator to help future owners age in place.
Among the choices that Jawed says were a little risky is the layout of the kitchen, a modern space that’s clearly defined rather than completely open to the living areas. The kitchen also has an accordion-style glass door that can be fully opened to the outdoors.
“We installed white oak cabinets to match the white oak floor and meticulously designed the kitchen for entertaining,” Jawed says. “For instance, one of the cabinet doors can be pushed back so it becomes a bar, and the wine column [refrigerator] includes a freezer, so you have a second ice-maker.”
The living room and dining area are in the front of the house to take advantage of the rounded turret rooms, Warren says, with the kitchen in the back. The living room fireplace is set into a floor-to-ceiling marble wall flanked by built-in bookcases, a modern evocation of a traditional library, Warren says.
“We also decided to make one entire floor the master suite, so it has four closets and three windows in the bathroom,” he says.
On all levels, the house has ceilings that are at least nine feet high, but the basement doesn’t get as much natural light as the three levels above it. That was a factor in the decision to renovate the 4,200-square-foot house as a single residence instead of a pair of condos.
“We set up the basement with an open TV room that has a wet bar, extra storage and a guest room with a full bath, plus we connected it to the rest of the house with the elevator so it’s more functional,” says Jawed.
The redesign of the house added a roof deck, a smaller deck, a side yard and a secured, paved parking space that can be used for outdoor entertaining.
“All the exterior features of the house, including the doors and windows and the roof deck, had to be approved by the Historic Preservation Review Board,” Jawed says. “The roof deck couldn’t be visible from the street, so that required us to make it a little smaller than planned.”
Warren says that, while exploring the house, he climbed to the roof and instantly knew that he wanted to create additional outdoor space there, despite the need to carve a connection to the interior.
“That was one of the bigger challenges of this project, but it was worth it to get these amazing city views,” says Warren.
Features: The four-level single-family house has four bedrooms, six bathrooms, an elevator, a fireplace, a roof terrace and a secured parking area that can be used as outdoor living space.
Approximate square-footage: 4,200
Lot size: 0.03 acre
Listing agents: Matt Ackland and Nancy Taylor Bubes, Washington Fine Properties