NE Capitol Hill Residence

Designed and built by Bebb and Mendel in 1909, this Capitol Hill manor has seen many alterations over the decades, losing much of its original character in the process. The new owners of this home approached us with the goal of restoring and preserving period details while melding those original characteristics with a more contemporary aesthetic and improving the functionality of spaces for a modern family. To minimize the intrusiveness of our work and allow the clients to continue living in their home, the project has been spread out over several consecutive phases.

First on the block were bathrooms, specifically updating and expanding the 2nd story guest bath and adding an entirely new bathroom to the 3rd floor. In both spaces, original stained glass windows, clear wood trim and antique cabinets were paired with wall-to-wall travertine tiles, marble slabs and bold colors to fuse the old and new.

The existing front porch has seen heavy weathering over the last few decades and made for a poor and dreary transition into the home. We tore out every aspect of the porch including one of the existing kneewalls, the stair and stoops, all of which had rotten out. The ceiling was replaced with clear fir and a radiant heater was set into it to keep the area comfortable later into the colder parts of the year. The deck itself was done with tongue-n-groove cumaru, a Brazilian hardwood similar to ipe. We were able to bring back some of the original character by saving and patching original wood lap siding which we discovered still in place under the existing metal siding. The stair leading up to the porch was rebuilt with steel stringers to support custom made concrete treads with cumaru risers to compliment the porch's decking.

The existing kitchen may have seen many new appliances over the last century, but the layout had not changed significantly since the time of employing a full staff to serve the home. Cramped and disjointed, the existing kitchen contrasted sharply from the grand scale of the rest of the house. Expanding into the existing mud room, removing the dropped ceiling and allocating space from the existing butlers pantry gained us 30% more floor space. This extra area and height allowed for new amenities such as a walk in pantry, built-in breakfast bar, a large black-walnut island and more, all of which contributed to transforming the kitchen into one of the more pleasant and significant gathering areas in the home.

The narrow, underused dead-end hallway that was the butlers pantry became the new mud room and now let out into the backyard instead of into to the wall of the garage. The new point of entry was complimented by the addition of a small deck designed as a transition space and to match existing details and style. The structural concrete deck is finished out with an acid etched slab with integral color for longevity, easy maintenance and to further compliment the substantial architecture of the house. The back yard received an extraordinary transformation by N.W. Bloom with a series of terraces that tied together both the new and existing north deck and culminated in a stone fire pit with accompanying pizza oven.

After discovering the original lap siding while working on the porch, the decision was made to completely strip the house of its current metal cladding and completely restore the original, much tighter wood lap. This intensive work restored not just the siding, but all of the trim, panelling and intricate plaster corbels as well. Many other areas such as the powder room or the butler stair were renovated or restored while other craftsmen worked to restore original details such as the various leaded stained glass windows found throughout the home. Smaller amenities such as wood storage built into the new deck or the cabinet in the butler stairwell to house all of the home's internet and miscellaneous gadgetry were meticulously designed and precisely built to fit seamlessly into this classic home.

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