Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA
Location: Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA
Project Architect: Claire L. Andreas
Contractor: Peterson and Collins Inc.
Interior Designer: Therese Baron Gurney, ASID
Landscape Architect: Lila Fendrick Landscape
Engineer: D. Anthony Beale LLC
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Maxwell MacKenzie Architectural Photographer
Located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, this project involves a complete renovation and substantial addition to a familiar, simply massed brick “colonial”. The original, gable shaped volume fronting the street is minimally altered in an effort to retain the scale and massing of neighboring houses. Tall windows are incorporated into the existing façade. A copper clad, vaulted volume is integrated into the composition with a new front porch and wide stairs, invoking the nostalgic porches found throughout the neighborhood.
To reduce the massing as seen from the street, the majority of new space is added to the back of the house. Living spaces are relocated to the “garden” side of the property, away from the street.
A new terrace and rigorously designed landscape elements, including walkways, walls and plantings become an integral part of the design. A garden structure, constructed of dry-stacked stone, mahogany, steel and copper roofing anchors the composition and provides privacy from adjoining properties. The entirety of the lot is incorporated into the design of this project.
The light filled interiors are ordered and open, crisply detailed and minimal while retaining richness and warmth. Quarter-sawn white oak cabinetry and millwork, dark stained oak flooring, and mahogany screens are combined with travertine, black granite and limestone to comprise the majority of the material palette. Furnishings are selected to be harmonious with finishes and spatial composition.
Today, too many houses are immediately discarded and demolished in favor of inflated, poorly detailed, badly massed structures that overwhelm their sites. This project demonstrates an attempt to provide the spatial requirements desired for a current lifestyle in a manner that retains much of the existing building fabric and a significant amount of the site to incorporate landscape and garden.