April 22, 2021
Unlike the typical traditional Washington, D.C. home, Case Architects and Remodelers’ clients came to them with a 1980s-dated home done in the contemporary style of the time. Along with unusual rooflines and an open but drab basement, the kitchen and dining room had 8-ft. flat ceilings that concealed an empty space above. The master bathroom also had a strange layout that was dysfunctional for the modern couple. Instead, the clients wanted a full remodel of their kitchen, master bathroom and the basement to better suit their needs and tastes.
Overhauling the Kitchen
According to Ellen Linstead Whitmore, director of the architectural studio at Case, the goals for the enclosed kitchen were to open it to the living area, vault the ceiling and instill a more up-to-date contemporary style.
“It had to be functional and beautiful, warm and inviting and not too clinical and stark,” said the designer, adding that the team modeled the spaces in Sketchup and 2020.
The first issue in the kitchen was the low and flat ceiling. Because of the empty space above, it was a simple solution to install a large beam at the roof level and remove all the interior walls in the kitchen, dining room and living room. The second problem was the existing floor framing, which had sagged over the years and had to be tediously leveled to save the original hardwood floor.
With the kitchen area opened and level, the design team accommodated the needs of their clients – who are active home cooks – with quartz countertops and a 48-in. professional range. The full-wall tile backsplash introduces textural interest, along with the gold-toned faucet, light fixtures and cabinet hardware. The base cabinets and island add warmth with a custom dark blue hue.
“This color is very striking in the space – it’s a blue gray that has a touch of green in it, without being teal,” said Whitmore. “This dark color choice helps ground the base cabinets with the medium-dark wood floors.”
Revitalizing the Master Bathroom with Contemporary Style
The original space had a strange layout that sported a sink in the closet, a tight shower and outdated tile. Instead, the owners wanted a larger, open glass shower as well as plenty of storage and counter space. After taking down the divisive walls, there was room for a larger vanity and a medicine cabinet with integrated LED lighting to complement the space’s new modernized look. The team then brought character in through the tile choice.
“While visiting The Tile Shop, we were inspired by their Milas Lilac marble, a beautiful stone with unusual purple veining,” said Whitmore, adding that they decided to use this tile on the main floor, shower floor and at the shower niche. “The slightly oversized 3-in. hex tile has a contemporary style that is perfect for this house.”
The medium-gray painted cabinetry and soft white and gray quartz countertop are subtler choices that allow the marble to take the stage. The brushed-nickel faucet and hardware continue the cool and spa-like palette.
Creating the Man Cave Bar
The basement originally had an outdated wet bar and an overall drab appeal. The team removed the existing bar and planned to create the “man cave” space the client wanted. This included matte-black cabinetry with black hardware and a contrasting white quartz countertop and backsplash. The old brick fireplace was refaced with dark stacked stone for a contemporary style.
“The client has painted the walls a moody dark color and installed two very large screen TVs for gaming and sports viewing,” said Whitmore. “This is a very personal and well-loved space now!”
Design Team: Case Architects & Remodelers
Ellen Linstead Whitmore, Director – Architectural Studio
Neil Shaut, Director of Project Development
Loren Sanders, Project Manager
Photography: Stacy Zarin Goldberg
Backsplash: Ann Sacks
Sink Faucet: Delta
Main Floor, Shower Floor & Shower Walls: The Tile Shop
Toilet: American Standard
Basement Wet Bar
Refrigerator: Fisher & Paykel