Category: Old-house renovation

Location: Washington, D.C.

Contractor: Carl Petty, LifeCraft, Washington, D.C.

Designer: Stephen Muse, Muse Architects, Washington, D.C.

Robert C. Lautman

Impressive as they are, the towering front elevations of this historic home say little about its latest renovation. To see what architect Stephen Muse and remodeler Carl Petty's LifeCraft accomplished, you have to begin in the back. There, standing on the spread of bluestone tile in the newly landscaped garden, you can see the sunroom addition, scaled to complete the downward stepping succession of existing massing and matching the original brick exterior and mansard roof design.

Stepping inside, you find that Muse's challenging program also called for a complete interior renovation to undo a previous owner's ill-conceived remodel and restore beautiful but deteriorating historic elements.

It's here, our judges said, behind the imposing facade, that the project really glows.

“The interior,” one judge gushed, “is flawless.” From the garden, through the arched sunroom entry and its twin at the entry to the renovated kitchen, to the remodeled library with its classic built-in bookshelves, “the details are carried through in every room,” said the judges.

New casework and an abundance of skillfully installed crown and baseboard moldings also testify on behalf of the architect's and remodeler's dedication to craftsmanship. The judges also praised LifeCraft's interior restoration work, such as the steel reinforcement of a historic curving stairway in the foyer. “All the upgrades look historic,” one said.