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AU Park Addition & Renovation

“Good Things come in Small Packages”

1. Explanation of Project and Scope

Built in 1930s, this 1595 SF three-­‐bedroom, three-­‐bath charming brick Tudor cottage in AU Park, Washington DC, NW was in need of an expansion, repairs and some updating to meet the owner’s needs. The home’s basement, HVAC systems, kitchen and second floor bath remodels had been completed in the 1990s. The one-­‐story rear addition completed in the 1970’s had the potential for a second floor above and the time was right for a master bedroom addition with en suite master bath and closet.

The existing kitchen was dark and lacked an eat-­‐in space. The suggested solution to replace part of the deck with a new faceted breakfast room with lots of windows and skylights was accepted. The breakfast room, which is approximately 140 SF, has an impact far greater than its size.

The existing HVAC systems were in very good condition and had sufficient capacity to service the additions if high performance energy efficient fenestration and insulation solutions were installed.

2. To what degree were the expressed needs of the client met? Describe the client’s needs and desires? Describe how those needs were met?

The client’s initial request was for a new bedroom and bath to be located over the existing kitchen and den. During the creative design consultation, the suggestion to add the breakfast space, with new master bed and bath location and improved access to [those] rooms was accepted. The client’s expectations were met more than 100 percent. The client now has a private, comfortable master bedroom and en suite bath and walk in closet, state of the art shower and a greatly improved circulation and traffic flow on the lower level.

3. To what degree does the project enhance the existing structure functionally? Do the room’s new floor plans function well? Is the counter space or work area adequate to perform necessary tasks? Is there good traffic flow? Is safety addressed adequately? Are the materials functional?

  • On the interior, the home had no designated dining area (part of living room had been portioned off for a small table); the new addition affords a dining room that serves as both a formal dining area and can be utilized for informal breakfast/dining with enhanced views of the rear of the
  • The second floor addition affords the owner a larger master bedroom, better closets -‐ the reconfigured second floor landing creates improved circulation in the
  • Kitchen/den door was relocated and the back door off of deck was also moved, resulting in improved circulation at the back of the house including access to detached
  • Exterior materials used matched existing elements and were also durable and low maintenance: brick clad exterior, wrought iron railings, Azek deck materials, synthetic slate roof with snow guard, high performance windows and door, vinyl siding and exterior window trim coverage assure that no paint is required for
  • Air stop caulking, spray foam insulation, waterproofing, energy efficient windows, insulated siding, and new ductwork and ventilation all contribute to achieving a high level of comfort and energy performance.
  • New foundation walls with insulated crawl spaces provide durability and comfort which will last for many years.
  • New waste, vent and water piping were installed for the bathroom, with separate shut off valves.
  • New electrical wiring and lighting service the additions. Structural engineer designed foundation and framing were installed.

4. To what degree does the project enhance the existing structure aesthetically? (i.e., line and rhythm, continuity and repetition, texture, color and contrast, symmetry and balance, emphasis.)

  • The breakfast room with brick exterior and roof angles, combined with second floor rake extensions, provide architectural compatibility with the home. This was accomplished without sacrificing yard space.
  • Steep pitch gabled lines of the home were replicated in design elements of the new rear of addition of the house. Clean, strong lines similar to contemporary British Tudor design were introduced with the breakfast room

5. Describe the craftsmanship used. (i.e., moldings, woodwork, stairs, cabinetry, countertops, tile, glass, marble, metal, stone, masonry, other.)

  • Moldings, stairs and doors were selected to closely match style of existing elements without the expense of custom
  • In the bath, top quality tile and stone counter tops, dark finished Kraft Made cabinetry, and porcelain tile in steam shower were utilized to achieve a rich, contemporary effect
  • An ornamental wrought iron deck railing style [was]utilized for compatibility with period of the home.
  • Custom framing of compound hip in breakfast room

6. Outline the innovative uses of material and / or methods of construction.

  • Two styles of brick were custom blended by mason to match existing brick pattern; a custom mixed mortar was also utilized to achieve the appearance of aged mortar on the existing brickwork.

7. Describe the difficult obstacles overcome on the project.

Achieving this transformation would involve meeting distinct challenges for both the first and second floors.

  • The stairs did not provide direct access to the new master bedroom, existing door to roof was in hall bath and would require tear out of remodeled bath.
  • The rear floor plan ignored the homes spectacular view of the rear yard with magnificent oak tree.
  • Undersized ceiling joists on one story previous addition along with insufficient structural connections, foundation and rotted framing due to water
  • Drafty kitchen floor with wood post and beam foundation, crawl space insulation falling
  • The older home featured period touches and materials could not be replicated with an off-‐the-‐shelf standardized approach.

8. Unusual constraints or challenges.

The property’s tight access due to backyard configuration and size in a densely built residential neighborhood was the chief challenge: there was no room for a dumpster; back alley access was utilized to bring in project materials. Tolerance for error was very small due to size of project.

9. Creative solutions to the challenges.

The project goals and objectives were to:

  • Creatively reconfigure the stairs to access the new master bedroom with master bathroom and walk-­‐in closet. Provide privacy as well as dynamic views and natural lighting with window and skylight placement.
  • Create a breakfast room that allows an eating area, unencumbered circulation between kitchen and the adjoining den, access to reconfigured deck, while bringing in more daylight and enhancing the rear yard view.
  • Create a rear addition that complements and enhances the homes style and charm, maintains access to garage without losing yard space.
  • Create a high performance energy efficient, comfortable space and not replace the existing HVAC systems.
  • Repair and upgrade the existing exhaust ventilation.
  • Recycle existing fixtures and features while using environmentally preferred materials, finishes, and colors that are architecturally compatible with the home’s period and style.
  • Update the kitchen foundation, framing, plumbing and electrical systems.
  • Both new and existing crawl spaces and attics were insulated with spray foam and are now within the homes thermal envelope. Breakfast room walls and roof were also insulated using spray foam.
  • The new second floor walls were insulated with a dense fiberglass batt insulation.
  • Energy efficient windows and an insulated siding were installed.

10. Overall results of the project.

The new master bedroom suite and breakfast room were built with meticulous workmanship to create the new spaces.

  • The project design kept in mind the efficient use of space achieving maximum comfort and style while enhancing the home’s architectural style.
  • The master bath shower lives up to the “Good Things come in Small Packages” headline. It is a comfortable size shower with bench. With a simple touch of a finger the shower becomes a steam room with aromatherapy and fiber optic lighting to suit mood. The three body sprays will help massage your stress away. The humidistat sensor controlled exhaust fan runs automatically to eliminate excess moisture in the bath. The steam unit empties itself after each use to reduce corrosion internally -­‐ smart technology at work.
  • Daylight shines into the new breakfast room from skylights and windows creating an ongoing concert of natural light, complementing the spectacular rear yard view.
  • Over 535 SF of new living space, which under “normal” or “standard” or “code compliant” standards, would require an additional 1.5 – 2 tons of air conditioning to cool -­‐ is kept very comfortable with the existing equipment.

The owner has commented [that] his energy bills were the same or less than before the renovation and that his home is now very comfortable in any weather. The addition and renovations accomplish the project goals and objectives from design through finish.

Bigger is not necessarily better – smarter, more efficient, more comfortable and built to last – is better.

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