You know “that house” you pass by every day?
The DC Metro Modern Home Tour is your chance to GET INSIDE and meet the architects, builders and designers that made it happen – and maybe even ask a question or two about your own project playing around in the back of your mind!
It’s as easy as:
2) About 24 hours before Tour day begins, check your email for our printable map and any last minute instructions
3) Starting at 11AM on Tour day, visit the homes in any order you wish and at your open pace. Meet the architects and designers, and find inspiration for your own modern lifestyle!
Dual Modern: This renovation and addition to the Architect’s own 1950 mid-century modern house, designed by Charles Goodman, included 2 phases. The existing Goodman structure was renovated 5 years ago, with new kitchen, bathroom, finishes, windows, mechanical, and electrical. The floor plan was preserved, kitchen opened up to living space, and bedrooms/bathrooms renovated. The rear addition, recently completed and featured in this presentation, includes a new den, office, and kids’ hangout space, with 2 new full bathrooms and a laundry room. Flexibility was designed into the house, with flow between spaces and sliding walls that allow for future change of use. The separate entrance allows for the possibility of an accessory dwelling unit, or in-law suite.
The addition, set half a level up the natural slope of the site, is separated from the existing house with a courtyard between the two. The addition utilizes the same basic tenets of Goodman’s architecture: large expanses of glass, exposed structural elements, and an indoor- outdoor relationship. It follows the size and proportions of the existing pitched roof house but is comprised of two shed-roofed volumes that flank a central walkway. This walkway, connecting the new to the old, serves as a gallery for art display on the lower level, and widens out to a seating area on the upper level. A “landscape wall” defines this space from the outside, as a contrast to the glass-paneled wall of the existing living room.
The pitch of the addition’s shed roofs allows for clerestory windows in all rooms, offering views of the many large trees on the site, all of which were preserved during construction. Each room in the addition also has a wall of full-height glass on the end, and both ends of the central walkway are glass, so the landscape serves as the main focal point. Sliding doors that pocket into the walls join the central walkway to the surrounding spaces. A green roof on the connecting walkway serves as a focal point from the new addition, while collecting water runoff from the existing house roof. A small basement accessible from an outdoor stair contains all mechanical equipment and the electrical panel. Ductwork runs underground to the new concrete floors, providing a highly efficient air supply system. Metal roofing wraps down the side walls of the new structure, draining water to linear gravel troughs along the perimeter – so no downspouts or gutters are needed.
From the homeowner/interior designer: Sixteen years ago, my father-in law lost his battle with colon cancer. In looking for comfortable accommodations for his palliative care, my husband’s family of 9 children realized that none of their homes could accommodate his needs for walker/wheelchair accessibility, sleep, bathing and care on the first floor of their homes. Six years ago, a friend’s son’s diagnosis of osteosarcoma, followed by the loss of his leg, highlighted the same issues for them. And finally, my husband’s long-time work and mentorship of wounded-warriors who would visit us for dinner, made us more acutely aware of the many limitations and obstacles faced in most homes. These personal experiences, as well as my professional work and research illustrated to me that homes in the US are not designed for the aged or disabled and certainly not designed for the life-events many of us face. We started the design of our home utilizing universal design principles, concepts for multi-generational habitation, age-in-place living and required wheelchair accessibility for visitors and residents on the first floor. We believe it was, and is, the right thing to do.
Being a firm believer in creating spaces for continuous improvement and flexibility, our home is designed with a high level of functionality and can be sectioned off for the various needs of visitors, family, children or parents who may move in with us. The first floor contains and accessible bedroom suite. Its open plan can accommodate entertaining for large groups up to 100. A basement theater and music-room accommodate our collection of over 1000 vinyl albums and a first-floor media closet with controls and speakers installed throughout the first floor allow music to become part of our everyday living. Custom-designed lighting allows us to create various “themes” based on lighting colors/hues/levels/settings to change the various experiences we create for us and our visitors
Garrett Park, designated as a national arboretum and located just 12 miles outside of Washington DC, nestles our home in a mature wooded lot. Due to the confined trapezoidal shape or our lot, a modern design was a natural outcome. We incorporated multi-level decks and patios to enjoy out-door living and entertaining. A butterfly roof allows for maximum light and views. Care was taken to put most our resources into extra insulation, high-quality windows and siding creating a solid envelope for the home. We incorporated architectural artifacts and art that we’ve collected over the years including a pair of 700-year-old chinse doors and a carved marble fireplace mantle.
It took over 20 years of trying to launch this project and being side-tracked by life but we feel like the wait was worth it. We created a home that can accommodate our life, our friends, family and the many things we can, and cannot anticipate about the future.
Design decisions of Note:
This project involved the conversion of a tiny mid-century modern house into a small modern one. What had been a one-story modern box on a walk-out basement is now a two-story modern box on a walk-out basement.
While simple and economical in construction — straight-forward framing, no new footings or foundations — the three small original bedrooms could now move up and out of the main level, freeing up much-needed space for a reconfigured, generous open plan for living, dining, and kitchen.
Because the client is one of Washington’s most accomplished builders and served as contractor, we were able to selectively indulge in highly crafted elements, such as specialized cabinetry and an articulated stair. A simple exterior shape now gives way to an interior of surprising richness and complexity.
On the exterior, simple black metal form is elaborated with a series of colored attachments that make a two-story projected window bay, an entry canopy and frames for window groupings. The colors are inspired by one of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park paintings.
Architect: Paola One Design LLC
Photography: Tod Connell
The project started with a typical 1950s brick rambler and the desire to preserve its footprint. The original 30ftx45ft home was expanded to a 45ftx45ft square footprint with a two-story addition in the back. The project features a unique master suite with a rooftop garden and balcony and an open Arclinea kitchen overlooking the backyard. An impressive steel and glass staircase connects the two main floors and is brightened by two large skylights.
The home is a gold-level Green Choice Home.
Newly constructed modern contemporary home in a leafy high-end suburban neighborhood in the DC metropolitan area. Elements of minimalistic style and modern aesthetics were incorporated from an initial design that started on a napkin by husband and wife as their dream house. This was eventually passed on to the designer Hyun Kim who rendered the design + plan to the homeowner’s vision almost perfectly on first shot. This vision was made into reality by the custom homebuilder Kevin Kaminski of KCI over a period of a year and a half.
The open floor plan with white bamboo hardwood flooring creates an airy floating effect as you walk around the house. Natural lighting pours in through the multiple windows and patio doors.
The three-story house sits on five acres atop a small hill at the end of a winding drive in the Great Falls area of Virginia, a suburb of Washington D.C. The clients were familiar with Marc’s (Marc Whipple, AIA – whipple russell architects) West Coast work and wanted his talent for framing vistas brought to their view of treetops and distant valleys. They also wanted an economical, modern house of a certain size, and left Marc to design a floor plan that was simple, beautiful, and livable.
The 6,700 sq. ft., 4 bedroom, 4½ bath house is organized around a central volume filled by the solid walnut staircase which goes from the main floor up to the master suite, and down to the two teenager’s bedrooms on the lower level. Due to the sloping grade, the house is entered from the street side onto the main level but exited on the lower level at the back of the house onto the patio and pool area – a.k.a. “walk-out” basement.
The overall design is a modernist play of thin horizontals and sturdy verticals alternated with glass, perfectly balanced over the sloping terrain. The effect is at once eye-catchingly bold and harmonious with the surrounding landscape.
A Tenleytown jewel, designed by Travis Price Architects, to house and display art using a single shipping container. This accessory building was added in 2016 to the rear of the original row home and featured on HGTV’s “Container Homes” show. The container was designed to serve many uses. Today it is an art gallery, tomorrow it could be a studio apartment, office, or in-law suite.
It’s easy! Just buy your tickets, then about 48 hours before the Tour you’ll receive an email with links to your Tour map. Then, on Tour day, start at any house and proceed in any order at your own pace to the homes that interest you the most – or to all of them!
Unfortunately due to repeated issues, we must request that no children under 10 attend the Tour. This is a new restriction for 2019, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience. However, we do realize that some of our best guests are aspiring architects and designers and we therefore invite kids 12 and up to learn about the exciting world of architecture and design!
Giving back to the communities and homeowners that so generously welcome us every year is one of the most important things we do. That’s why we partner with a housing or education organization in every Tour city, and why we are working to establish a scholarship fund for aspiring architects and designers.