This 95-year-old house was structurally unsafe, with sagging floors and rotting wood beams, when contractors Anthony and Elizabeth Wilder were asked to restore its structural integrity and create an open, fresh look without compromising the elegant charm of the original house.

Timothy Bel

The most dramatic transformation is the stairway in the foyer, which became the centerpiece of the renovation. Designers Steven Backus and Anthony Wilder eliminated the second-floor landing and raised the ceiling in the foyer on the first floor from 7 feet to 9 feet. To create a line of sight from the front of the house to the rear, they replaced the back door with French doors, making the first floor feel open and filling it with light. They also widened and arched the openings to the dining room, living room, and sunroom. The repeated arches provide balance and symmetry.

Timothy Bel

“It's an elegant interior,” said the judges, who appreciated the “beautiful trimmed jamb work.” None of the trim pieces is standard stock; each piece was milled specifically for this project, then scribed to fit the existing, out-of-plumb walls and ceilings.

“They created a formal sense of space with an excellent, clear plan,” said the judges. “They didn't have to rearrange the whole house to create a big impact.”

Category: Design/build, over $250,000
Location: Washington, D.C.
Contractors: Anthony and Elizabeth Wilder, Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Cabin John, Md.
Designers: Steven Backus and Anthony Wilder, Anthony Wilder Design/Build