2022 RDAA | Renovation | Red Maple House | Colleen Healey Architecture

Constraints are almost a cliché on urban lots these days. But here the solutions are anything but ordinary. A dilapidated carriage house sat on an 11,000-square-foot flag lot—which seems large until you plan for the looming red maple near the center and the need for privacy from seven adjacent neighbors. 

In response to the family’s request for informal, light-filled spaces and indoor-outdoor areas for entertaining, Colleen Healey, AIA, devised a roughly U-shaped scheme that bends around the maple. The carriage house was transformed into a bright, lofted kitchen, dining, and living area that spills out to a terrace, while a main entry around the side of the great room finessed the small frontage. Two en suite bedrooms and a flex room were added behind the great room. And a thin art gallery connects the great room with a primary suite and office on the other side of the lot that gaze into the red maple canopy. 

“I had to create an almost enveloping scheme that would shelter them from the surrounding properties,” Colleen says. The clients’ love of color led to punchy, painted fiber cement cladding combined with crisp white board-and-batten siding and charcoal-colored wall planes that ground the composition.

Its joyful freshness was not lost on the judges. “On a flag lot, the house develops a strong character in a different way from just the strong rigor we tend to gravitate toward as architects,” one said.



Colleen Healey Architecture

Red Maple House

Bethesda, Maryland

Project Credits

Architect: Colleen Healey, AIA, Colleen Healey Architecture, Washington, D.C.

Builder: Cabin John Builders, Cabin John, Maryland

Lighting consultant: Illuminations, Inc., Washington, D.C.

Project size: 3,300 square feet

Site size: 11,000 square feet

Construction cost: Withheld

Photography: Jennifer Hughes Photography

Key Products

Cabinetry: Stuart Kitchens

Cladding: Stucco and HardiePanel

Entry doors/ Windows: Pella

Faucets: Broan, Kohler, Hansgrohe

Insulation: Huber ZIP System Sheathing

Lighting: Progress Lighting

Lighting control systems: Lutron

Paints: Benjamin Moore

Range: JennAir

Security systems: Ring

Sinks: Blanco, Kohler

Skylights: VELUX

Structural weatherization: Blueskin

Toilets: TOTO

Tubs: Kohler

Ventilation: Panasonic Whisper

Window shading systems: Lutron