Great Room Remodeling DC | Home Renovation | DC Architects
living room with lit fireplace

Great Room Remodel in Washington, DC: Pt 2

A Cleveland Park Townhouse Gets a Great Room Makeover

Great Room Remodeling

In part two of this great room remodeling blog series, we continue to discuss what the project entailed (if you missed part one, be sure to read it!).

Fireplace Wall Gets New Design

The 21 foot tall tower of brick at the fireplace wall was not a proper design solution. The brick chimney mass projected 24 inches from the wall and rose to the ceiling where the brick corbelled out in a feeble attempt at architectural detail. We decided to eliminate the brick, and the wood burning fireplace was easily converted to a gas log.

To create an appealing design, it was decided to fur out and clad over the brick in new drywall with a stone face. To keep the mass of the chimney minimal, the old corbel bricks were cut off, which allowed us to create a new crisp rectangular form from floor to ceiling. With a bit of research, we selected an appropriate stone, Silver Travertine, for the new facing and hearth. Installed with its grain horizontally, it helps offset the vertical dominance of the room.

Careful elevation studies helped us determine the stone face of the fireplace should be 13 feet. To avoid the clunky intersection of wood baseboard with travertine marble, an unobtrusive recessed metal base was detailed. In addition, the stone slabs are set off by being recessed 2 inches back from the face of the drywall, allowing each material to enhance the other with the articulation of a plane change. The new facing of drywall and travertine conceals the old brick, and provides an elegant material, sophisticated intersections, and ideal proportions for the great room.

New Balcony Wall Receives Harmony

One of the messy features of the space was the interior wall with its four differently sized openings. Nothing was organized or harmonized. The rear living room was built with a two story volume space (ceilings were 21 inches high). The upper level dining room was built with the intention to overlook the great room. However, the builder’s poor design of the dining room’s two upper balconies had a solid 36 inch high wall, and upon that was another 36 inch high picket railing. From above, one could not experience the sense of space or view intended. From the great room, the wall appeared a jumble of punched openings.

Living Room Remodel

The first design priority was to make sense of the varied openings and silly railings. It was decided to cut the openings down to floor level and make the widths of the openings align at the first and second floor. Within the resized openings, new metal railings were installed to enhance a proper balcony experience from the upper level dining room. Oak flooring finishes and oak nosing complete the detail for the new openings. Now, when one takes a step back to look up at the balconies, the wall, with its four openings, makes sense.

Check back soon—part 3 of this great room remodel spotlight is coming next, with information about the remodel itself and the award Wentworth won!

“ Wentworth Studios turned our boring box into a beautiful, functional living space. They listened to our needs and ideas and gave us graceful solutions that far exceeded our expectations. Wentworth's cost was told to me upfront and there was never a deviation from that cost. It is a joy every day to live within the practical and elegant spaces Wentworth designed and built for us. I would strongly recommend Wentworth. ”

Mary D., Alexandria, VA