Category: Old-house renovation, over $300,000

Location: Washington, D.C.

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

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

Robert C. Lautman

Often the most glaring flaw in a poorly designed addition is that the new work screams out its newness; it shamelessly calls attention to the place where one designer's vision ends and another's begins. This addition to a Second Empire home, on the other hand, creates a whole new house.

Architect Stephen Muse and remodeler Carl Petty's LifeCraft not only added space but reshaped the existing structure to complement the addition. The result is a house greater than the sum of its old and new parts.

The design centers around a one-story addition that reorients the interior west, toward newly landscaped gardens, and bridges the space between the old house and another new wing, this one two stories. In place of a massive two-story addition, Muse says, this “hyphen” connects the two larger wings while allowing each to read separately, reducing the overall scale of the structure.

Inside the one-story space, Muse relocated the dining room, previously isolated on the east side of the house. This room opens up onto a terraced garden, improving the tie between house and site.

Also, Muse had room to raise the ceilings in the one-story space, creating a relieving openness. Extending an existing wood porch across this façade helps creates a consistent, whole-house feel.