When the new owners of this 1930s structure asked, “Can you make this home livable for us?” architect Charles Moore was intrigued by the challenge.

Known for his talent reviving homes that seem past their useful life, Moore faced a home that was charming but cartoonish, blemished by poorly constructed additions, awkward circulation, and insufficient space. Restrictive zoning precluded tearing down and rebuilding.

Stripping the home down to its simple saltbox shape gave direction to the addition’s mass and enabled the space to be rearranged. Moving the stairway and kitchen to the center created an axis around which the pantry, family room, powder room, mudroom, living room, dining room, and study circulate. Four bedrooms and three bathrooms now fit easily upstairs, where new dormers maximize space and light and emphasize the home’s original lines.

The judges admired the home’s modesty and consistency, noting its tastefully detailed connection to indigenous materials. These include a plinth of locally quarried stone that seems to anchor the structure to the earth, Virginia soapstone countertops, and flooring made from reclaimed oak cider vats.

Location: Alexandria, Va.
Designer:   Moore Architects, Alexandria, Va.
Contractor: G&M Contracting, Vienna, Va.

See list of all 2008 RDA winners.