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A Row House Renovation for Modern Living in DC

Do you feel your row house could use a renovation to better fit your contemporary lifestyle? Row houses in Washington, DC are typically charming and full of history, and though most were built during the Victorian era (1860-1900), some even date back to the Civil War! Despite their place in architectural history, row houses were designed for people with different lifestyles than we have today. Even row houses built in the 1970s no longer fit a modern homeowner. Wentworth, Inc. can modernize your house in the Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia area with the perfect row house renovation that matches your design preferences and lifestyle!

A Washington, DC home remodel designed to fit the needs of a modern homeowner can be challenging and requires a thoughtful design, especially for row houses. As most DC area row houses range in width from 13′ to 20′ – with the average row house ranging 16′ to 18′ wide – row house renovation requires creative and intelligent design solutions.

Zoning in, Adding on, Building Up

When it comes to row house remodeling and expansion, zoning issues are critical to the design. In some instances, the land is large enough and the row house small enough that local zoning laws will allow for a rear addition. If the zoning laws allow for an addition, it will be necessary to build firewalls at the opposing property lines. As windows cannot be installed in firewalls, natural light will be limited to the rear and front façades, so to get maximum amount of natural light, a row house addition should consider the positioning of windows. Occasionally the design of a row house’s interior can be reconfigured to accommodate a vertical light shaft capped by a skylight, bringing natural light to the interior of the home.

Depending on whether your row house is in a historic district, zoning laws will sometimes accommodate a vertical expansion of a row house. If vertical expansion is an option for your row house renovation, a third floor addition could be an efficient way to add more space to your home. A third floor addition is sometimes a viable option in historic districts if the rooftop addition is set back far enough from the street to minimize its visibility.

Whether a rear addition or a vertical expansion turns out to be better for your row house renovation, each addition should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for its zoning and design. The Wentworth team has worked on numerous row house additions in the Washington, DC area and understands the intricacies of building an addition on a small lot within the confines of zoning restrictions.

Open Up to a New Floor Plan

For a renovation on a smaller lot, zoning laws may not accommodate additions. In order to maximize space without an addition, a new design should reconfigure interior space in the most efficient way possible. The Wentworth team often finds that modern lifestyles are best suited to an open floor plan, one where the kitchen, dining and living area are arranged on the same floor with no walls separating them. An open floor plan is typically the most efficient use of space and is also an ideal floor plan for both entertaining and spending time with family.

Work With Your Existing Floor Plan

An open floor plan works in many row house remodels, but not all. If a house is architecturally and historically distinctive, and the original structure remains intact, it may be wiser to retain the original floor plan. The older, compartmentalized floor plans are often better suited to a small family, a couple without children or single people. In this case, altering the interior space is a personal choice, and we can walk you through the various design options. Even minor changes – from widening openings between adjacent spaces or creating a row house version of a proscenium arch between a kitchen and dining room – can go a long way towards changing the flow and livability of your row house. With the right design-build team, you can find a great design solution that caters to your lifestyle and needs.

Row House Remodeling in DC and the Surrounding Areas

Feel free to look through our photo gallery to see remodels we have completed in Maryland, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. If you’re ready for your row house renovation, contact the experts at Wentworth today!

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“ Thank you so much for the very thoughtful gift and card you sent to welcome [our son] home. He has been following the baseball standings with great interest, and is looking forward to many messy meals with his Red Sox bib and bottle. And whether he realizes it or not, his meal times have been made much more pleasant - and his parents are much happier - because of the fabulous new kitchen you designed and built for us. It was really kind of you to think of us at this special time in our lives. ”

Amelia & Mike M.
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