Empty Nest

With their children grown and out of the house, this couple was ready to re-imagine their 1960s ranch-style home in suburban DC as a place to enjoy their golden years. The original layout was choppy, with lots of small rooms and a staircase that monopolized the entry. The clients wanted more open space for entertaining, with a sightline straight to the backyard. Extending the living room and adjacent bedroom over the existing patio helped do just that.

To avoid modifying the entire floor plan, the addition was carefully designed, almost fitting the existing house like a missing puzzle piece. The adjoined exterior creates an interesting architectural detail with large-panel, fiber cement siding that echoes the original siding but with a more modern look.

With the clients’ affinity for gardening, an open floor plan with big windows was high on the wish list. Oversized windows now let in ample light while offering expansive views to their lush surroundings.

A pair of ceiling-height horizontal punches mirrors the entry’s geometric custom door, with frosted glass to allow light in but retain privacy. Natural white oak flooring throughout creates a cohesive whole.

A partition wall separates the bedrooms from the main living space, with a hallway behind to keep visiting grandchildren nearby but separate. A clever cutout showcases the animated wall art on the television―a digital display created by the couple’s tech-savvy son.

A small powder room off the foyer now serves as the main guest bath. The polished shelf-like faucet dispenses a graceful waterfall for cleansing. The sculptural basin rests elegantly below, contrasting against the natural wood counter for a spa-like setting.

The galley-style kitchen connects the foyer to the dining space, making cooking and entertaining one seamless flow of energy. The island with built-in sink provides plenty of clearance for multiple cooks and lots of convenient storage.

Frosted glass cabinets echo the front door design and keep cherished glassware safe but within reach. Dual cylinder stainless steel hoods whisk away cooking fumes with the touch of a remote control, while the delicate LED fixture provides targeted task lighting.

With the decision to forego a microwave, two ovens―one conventional, one steam―were must-haves for these foodie homeowners. Contemporary and resilient gray-brown cabinets in simulated wood hide the refrigerator, freezer, and temperature-controlled wine coolers inside.

Ample natural light and clear views to the surrounding landscape are now possible from every room—including the enlarged master bedroom.

In the master bath, ceramic tiles mimic the look of wood planks but are easily maintained. His-and-her vanities in neutral veneer cabinetry coordinate seamlessly with the quartz counters. Slim mirrors and contemporary LED lighting complete the serene setting.

Thanks to a linear drain, the dramatic corner shower requires no threshold for effortless entry. The rain shower head promises a soothing cleanse, while the separate hand shower allows comfortable reach from any angle. The soaking tub sits to the right, its dual-purpose quartz bench extending into the adjacent shower as a convenient resting place.

The warm wood staircase strikes a modern, elegant tone, with LED lighting beneath each step for effortless navigation. The stainless steel cable railing lends a strong linear element while mirroring the exterior deck railings for a cohesive look.

A dated mixed-brick wall gave way to a contemporary quartz fireplace in the downstairs media room.

Expanding the living room above created an outdoor alcove on the ground level. A simple, sculptural ceiling fan and slatted wood screen keeps the space cool and uncluttered.

The new deck provides the perfect place for the couple to enjoy a morning coffee or host a backyard barbecue under the property’s natural green canopy.

Sliding doors from the living area to the deck make inside-out entertaining a breeze.

Contemporary stainless cable railings keep the natural scenery visible from inside while providing a durable, safe solution for the deck and stairs.

Empty Nest

Photography by Anice Hoachlander