Travel has the power to change outlooks and opinions, which was certainly the case with the owners of this ’20s-era Tudor home in DC’s Kalorama. We had renovated this home for a diplomat and his wife before he was appointed ambassador to a Scandinavian nation. But they were so inspired by that culture’s modernity that they came back with a completely new sensibility, which they wanted to express in their home.
They asked us to build a modern white orangerie, replacing a deck that had connected to the sunroom and living room. They wanted the new space to be an expression of minimalist Scandinavian architecture that would display the furnishings and accessories they had collected on their posting. The custom windows, doors and skylight were commissioned from an English conservatory manufacturer, but the pared-down styling looks northward.
This new lightness of being is an extension of what we started with the first renovation, to rid this Tudor home of its Tudor darkness. In that renovation, we replaced the solid front door with a custom design that features hand-blown rondelles framed in wrought iron, which allow more light into the foyer. We also built a new skylight directly overhead, which floods the entry and stairwell with natural light where there had been none previously.
As a final flourish, we had the glass in the skylight sandblasted to create a whimsical pattern—not unlike the fanciful stonework around the entry.