Category: Whole-house remodeling, over $300,000

Location: Potomac, Md.

Contractor: Carl Mahany and Mike Kanze, Macon Construction, Kensington, Md.

Designer: Richard Leggin, Richard Leggin Architects, Glen Echo, Md.

In this era of the makeover, radical transformations are de rigueur. Restraint, however, while perhaps not the word of the day, still proves its value in projects like this one. Given its cookie cutter tract beginnings, this house may have seemed a likely candidate for an overhaul. But the homeowners, having decided against moving in part because of their love for the neighborhood, didn't want to make too loud a statement.

Kenneth M. Wyner

For architect Richard Leggin and remodelers Carl Mahany and Mike Kanze of Macon Construction, that meant modest improvements that substantially improved both the function and aesthetic of the house without departing from the scale and style of neighboring homes. On all these counts, Leggin's addition succeeded beautifully, adding extra living space over three floors (including the basement), as well as a deck and screened-in porch.

The design's real artistry however is concentrated on the street-front side of the house; there, subtle tweaks and touches entirely revitalize the façade without adding to the scale or altering the colonial style.

Straddling the original with scissor trusses raised the pitch of the roof, allowing room for the addition and improving the verticality of the façade. The east wing was expanded to balance the altered proportions and perfect the face the house presents to the neighborhood. Other features include a portico on a bluestone base that ties the structure to its graded site, perfectly scaled in proportion to the width of the house.