Inspired by a magazine picture of a small Provencal chateau, our clients hired us to renovate and expand a one-story cottage they had purchased in DC, which had been rented for several years and needed work. We started by gutting the cottage, which was clad in painted cinderblock and board-and-batten siding. The new design would double its size, but still look modest from the street.
The small façade gives way to a generously open house on a deep site sloping gently down to a large forested ravine. To blend the architecture with its surroundings, we used earthy colors and tactile materials such as wrought iron, natural stucco, antique wood and Venetian plaster.
Huge, mahagony-framed windows open the house to its leafy grounds, and a skylight above a new central staircase brings natural light into the front rooms on the main level. Interior designers Jose Solis Betancourt and Paul Sherrill—our collaborators from the start—infused the décor with their warm yet spare, modern aesthetic, putting a fresh spin on the Provencal style.