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Updating a century-old house with modern amenities while respecting its history.

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Architect: Anne Decker, Anne Decker Architects, Bethesda, Md.
Contractor: David Brown, David J. Brown Construction Co., Cabin John, Md.


  • Brighten the dark, worn interior by admitting more natural light
  • Update the century-old house with modern amenities while respecting its historical features


The homeowner felt that the dark interior of this American foursquare was in need of freshening up. A rear addition and new porch bring natural light into the expanded kitchen and connect the living spaces to the outdoors.

The design borrows existing details to maintain the history of the home. New vertical paneling matches existing wainscoting and new beams and millwork add warmth to the living room. Doubling as a transitional element between old and new, the paneling was also added to the kitchen hall and powder room. Design details, roofing, and massing also pay tribute to the home’s history.

Judges’ Comments

“They managed to freshen it up by using dark floors and beiges and whites above that in creative ways. It looks crisp and strong; the sparseness of details shows it was built now.”

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