Twin Peaks Residence
Originally built as a modest two-bedroom post-World War II brick and block rambler in 1951, this house has assumed an entirely new identity: assimilating the turn-of-the-century farmhouse and early century Craftsman bungalow aesthetic that makes up most of the Arlington County Maywood Historic District neighborhood which literally begins across the street. This house, as well as the twin immediately to the right, has for fifty-two years been the odd house in a neighborhood developed generations earlier in a carpenter style of honest wood houses.
The program for this project was tightly linked to aesthetics, function and budget. The owner had lived in this plain brick box for eight years, making modest changes which included new windows, a new kitchen addition on the rear, and a new coat of paint. While this helped to lessen the stark contrast between his house and the wonderful Craftsman style houses in the neighborhood, the changes weren’t enough to satisfy the owner’s love of the great American bungalow. The architect was called back to create a house that truly fit the neighborhood. The renovated house had to: 1) fit the bungalow style both outside and inside, 2) double the square footage of the existing house, creating new bedrooms on the second floor, and reorganizing the first floor spaces, and 3) fit a budget that forced the total reuse of the existing structure, including the new replacement windows and new kitchen wing from the previous project.
The existing front wall of the house was pulled forward three feet to maximize the existing front yard building setback. A six foot deep porch that stretched across most of the new front elevation was added, pulling the house closer to the street to match the front yard setbacks of other local early twentieth century houses. This cozier relationship to the street and the public made for a more comfortable and less imposing siting. The front rooms of the house became new public spaces, with the old living room becoming the Inglenook and entry foyer, while the old front bedroom became the new living room. A new stairway was positioned on axis with the new front door, but set deep into the house adjacent to the reconfigured dining room. The kitchen at the rear that had been opened up during the 1996 modifications was closed down again, creating clearly defined spaces, but spaces that are connected visually from room to room.
At the top of the new stair to the second floor is a short efficient hall with a twin window view to the rear yard. From this hall are entrances to the master bedroom, second bedroom and master bathroom. The new master bedroom located on the centerline of the front of the house, fills the entire front dormer with three exposures of windows facing predominately east to catch the morning light. Off of this private space is a study and walk-in closet tucked under the roof eaves of the new second floor. The new master bathroom, adjacent to the master bedroom with an exit to the hall, has matching pedestal sinks with custom wood medicine cabinets, a soaking tub, a large shower with a round-river-stone floor with a high window facing into the rear yard, and wood paneling similar to the new wood paneling on the first floor spaces.
Because the old brick house had to be preserved, some painted brick is still visible in the palate of exterior materials. The new front wall of the house is covered in double-layered cedar shingle. The side gables, rear elevations and dormers are covered in combinations of cedar shingle and 4” exposure lap wood siding. The exterior detailing of the house employ reinterpretations of the Craftsman tapered columns and door trim, large overhangs, strong timber outriggers and appropriate wood trim. The house was painted using a collection of warm colors that accentuate the different materials and textures.
The strength of the design of this renovated house has changed the neighborhood, significantly increasing its appropriateness and appeal, while also satisfying each programmatic requirement of the owner, including last but not least, increased market appeal and financial value.