We knew this house well by the time our clients called, having already done a renovation for the previous owners of this early 20th-century, English-style house at the edge of Rock Creek Park. It was an honor to return to this home, which is built with solid granite quarried from the park, and whose exterior walls are two feet thick.

We had significantly upgraded the infrastructure and mechanical systems the first time around, in addition to renovating the bathrooms. This time, the new owners wanted a better flow throughout the house and more space to host frequent visits from their children and grandchildren. They also wanted to age in place, so they requested an elevator to access their home’s four levels.

We gave the kitchen a major upgrade, squaring the space off from a previously awkward alignment and adding a rear pantry to house the ovens, microwave and warming drawer in addition to plentiful storage. A new rear entrance provides direct access from the driveway into this busy space. We also transformed an adjacent, enclosed porch into a breakfast room, creating arches from the granite over a heated limestone floor. The kitchen itself, meanwhile, enjoys much more natural light since we enlarged the bank of windows over the sink.

Elsewhere on the main level, we replaced the fireplace in the living room with a new, protruding structure that’s got enough heft to live up to the room’s existing coffered ceiling and arched entries. The mirrors above the fireplace conceal the television.

We made room for a four-story elevator by taking out an old service stair in the rear—and then added a “belvedere” stair tower to enclose new risers; the top floor of the new tower rewards the climber with three banks of windows that look out into the park. We also upgraded the master suite on the second level, adding new French doors and restoring the small balcony outside.

The final frontier was an unused attic. Bizarrely, the finished space had beams laid along the floor, creating a tripping hazard for anyone brave enough to go up there. The refreshed (and beamless) space is now home to a large workout room that looks out over the back patio through a bank of new dormer windows.

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Ankie Barnes, Melanie Giordano
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