When this family bought their home in Reston, they bought it because of the site. Beautifully wooded and south-facing, it was indeed extraordinary. But the house, built in the 1970’s, had very few windows, and little access to the outside. After living in the house for ten years, the family decided it was time to bring the site into the house.
They also wanted to update the master bathroom and closets, enlarge the kitchen and dining room, add a guest bedroom and two-car garage, and make the house more attractive from the outside. They were concerned that the renovated house be energy-efficient.
Because the changes they envisioned were so extensive, we considered all alternatives – from tearing the house down and starting over, to finding another house, to building a new house on a new site. But in the end, everyone agreed there was something connecting this family to this house and this site, and they didn’t want to just replace it. Instead, we extended the house by ten feet to the west, enlarging the existing living room and dining room downstairs, and creating walk-in closets, a yoga room and a home office upstairs. We took down the existing carport and added a guest suite and garage. We enlarged and reconfigured the kitchen, and added lots of windows on the rear of the house to take advantage of the southern sun and the woodsy views. We added an extensive deck and a front entry porch and clad the entire house with natural cedar siding.
What is most instructive about this process is the importance of this client’s ability to prioritize what was critical for the success of the project. The job was done on a tight budget. It required tough decision-making by the owner and careful estimating by the builder. Our clients deliberated at every step of the way about what was essential and what could be sacrificed, from switch plates to siding. In the end they made lots of compromises, but got all of the things that they really cherished. The remodeled house keeps the simple lines and clean spirit of the original – nestling into its setting – and letting the light and beauty of nature come pouring into the house.
This project is published in Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big Remodeling.
- Date July 26, 2014
- Tags Remodeling and Additions