Maximizing Space in a DC Townhouse Remodel
From Online Remodeling Book Chapter 13 “Room to Grow”
The final outcome of a remodeling project is sometimes very different from the original idea. When I first met the owners of a 13-foot-wide townhouse located near DC’s newly hip U Street corridor, their kitchen wasn’t even on the agenda. Instead, they were eager to gain some living space with an upper-floor addition at the rear of the house. With one infant daughter and another on the way, their city home had gone from snug to much too small.
Since they didn’t wish to move, the addition was a natural choice. They had several ideas for it, including some sketches from an architect friend, and had approached my studio to develop a fully realized design that we could then build. Unfortunately, however, as I soon learned from the city’s zoning office, adding on was not an option. Any addition would interfere with a required setback behind the house.
As I discussed this major disappointment with the owners, I realized just how much they wanted to keep their home, a three-story brick Italianate townhouse from the 1880s. They loved their neighborhood, their street, and even their block. They relished the urban hustle and bustle and saw Washington as a very livable city.
Finding Space, Not Building More
The owners’ real goal, in other words, was not to build an addition. It was to find a way to stay in the house. With this in mind, I proposed a new approach. The ground floor of their small townhouse included just two rooms—a kitchen and a dining room—laid out in a way that wasted an extraordinary amount of space.
Download our eBook to see how we remodeled the home to maximize space, with the kitchen playing a central role!