Project Description

A mix of modern and traditional in a Capitol Hill Craftsman


Before a major whole-house makeover, this home suffered from many problems that plague older homes: lack of a defined entry area, steep dangerous stairways, and a low-ceiling in the unfinished basement. Upstairs bedrooms lacked head height in the front of the house, and in the rear, a very unconventional addition was poorly integrated into the house design. To solve the upstairs problems, new dormers were added in the front and rear of the home for three real-size bedrooms including a master suite, with adjacent bathroom and walk-in closet. Also added was a kid’s bathroom and family laundry area in a skylit center hall. To create a place for the kids to play, the basement floor was lowered and new french doors were added to access the back yard. A new office and bathroom were also added downstairs. To connect all the spaces together, an innovative stair layout was designed with openings between the floors that allow light and air to filter through the center of the home. Opening the windows at the lower level and venting the skylight upstairs allows for a natural convection of air to circulate through the home.

The design also extended to the landscape, with a new fence and trellis, patio, paths, rockery, and plantings.

Project Info & Tips

  • Don’t be afraid to mix old and new styles, but do so carefully. Creating a unified palette of materials and colors can help to keep the design cohesive
  • Locating skylights in the center of a house can turn what otherwise would be a dark and gloomy space into a bright sun-drenched space
  • Venting skylights can be a great way to allow hot air to escape from the top floor of a house. Natural convection will tend to draw hot air upwards and allow it to escape in the Summer, keeping the house cooler
  • Locating a laundry room (or closet) upstairs where most of the laundry is generated makes a lot of sense. When doing this, it’s a good idea to install a floor drain and waterproof the floor, in case of a leak
  • To learn more, see our article on Second Story Additions
  • Level of Design Services: Full Services
  • How do I Estimate Construction Cost and Design Fees?
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