This exuberant Queen Anne held a nasty secret. As we moved forward on an already-massive renovation and restoration of the 19th-century beauty in DC’s Cleveland Park, we were puzzled by a sagging roof and mysterious bumps and dips of up to 4 inches in some of the floors. The answer became clear as we started to gut the interior: A major fire had run up the entire house during a renovation in the 1950s, and the builders had merely patched it over. The weakened structure, under the heavy load of its tiled roof for more than half a century, had been stressed nearly to the point of failure.
Repairing the fire damage was one piece of a larger puzzle. While rebuilding the structure, we sought to preserve the home’s most important architectural elements, such as the pagoda-like entry tower, a gambrel roof, and the large, curved openings into the dining room. We played off these details as we designed a cathedral-ceilinged family room with exposed timbers and accented the dining room entry with Balinese columns—a lovely complement to those arched windows.
We demolished an ’70s-era addition that was a visual distraction from the historic portion of the house and its dramatic entry. We replaced the addition with a more sympathetic structure that contains a mudroom, family room and guest suite. We touched almost every other part of the house, too, from simple paint jobs to major rebuilds (see above), and thorough renovations of the kitchen and bathrooms.
The house wears all its history with renewed grandeur, providing its owners with a large, comfortable home—and a great conversation piece.