This traditional row house in Georgetown was very spacious by urban standards, but access to its square footage was choppy. The clients, who are art collectors, tapped Bob Gurney to sort it all out while preserving the best of the original detailing. “I love those projects where there is something of the old and some of the new,” he says.
His clients do, too, and welcomed his bold solution: remove the staircase at the rear of the house and add a new, sculptural stair at its center. Eliminating the back stair solved a number of floor plan problems; chief among them was improving the connection between the kitchen and dining room. Also on the chopping block was a little-used parlor between the dining room and the double living room that thwarted the flow between those key spaces. That parlor and another above it, adjacent to the office, were annexed for the new central stair.
The steel-and-stained-oak stair is a striking art piece in its own right, somehow spanning centuries of style changes. “We wanted something that feels comfortable in classical and modern languages,” says Bob. “The raw steel has an almost bronze feel to it.” Indeed, it has an almost art moderne look to it. “And the fluted glass and custom steel door panels between the dining room and kitchen bridge traditional and modern.”
The stair is topped by a glass volume that brings light down through the core of the house, illuminating the new and improved connections between the major rooms of the house.
Custom Period or
Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect
Renovation on Cox’s Row
Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, principal in charge; Kara McHone, project architect, Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect, Washington
Builder: Peterson & Collins, Inc., Washington
Interior Designer: Sybille Schneider,
LSS Interiors, New York
Landscape Architect: Campion Hruby Landscape Architecture, Annapolis, Maryland
Structural Engineer: United Structural Engineers, Inc., Sterling, Virginia
Project Size: 6,600 square feet
Site Size: .10 acre
Construction Cost: Withheld
Photography: Anice Hoachlander
Entry Doors/Windows: Hope’s Windows, Parrett
Faucets: Waterstone (kitchen), Kallista (baths)
Lighting: Liminii, Delta Light
Lighting Control: Lutron
Paints: Benjamin Moore
Sinks: Julien (kitchen), Lacava (primary bath)
Plans and Drawings