The Veiled House

The owners of this narrow two-story rowhouse wanted to expand the structure, and ensure that it stood out among the army of cookie-cutter house flips in the bustling Park View, DC, neighborhood. One third-floor addition later, and this home stands transformed into a two-family showstopper that embraces the modern while staying respectfully anchored in its history.

While the rear of the structure allowed for more flexibility, zoning regulations required that we maintain the original front façade. Working to compromise, we salvaged and stitched together metal screens from a recently razed 1960s-era elementary school in a nearby neighborhood.

The resulting veil provides layers of texture and color – a truly eclectic element – while also acting as a privacy screen for the balconies and homes’ interiors.

The building’s front apartment spans two levels in its intimate one-bedroom/one-bath design. Exposed brick paired with plywood-faced walls create a distinctly urban mood, and high ceilings allow maximum light flow for a bright and spacious retreat.

On the second floor, the bedroom opens to the surrounding streetscape by way of a new balcony carved into the existing masonry façade.

The larger two-bedroom unit spans the back of the structure, extending up and over the front unit to include the entire third floor. An iron and oak staircase carries up through the unit to the top floor, opening the space to additional light flow while creating beautiful and surprising geometric moments.

The unit’s front-facing third-floor bedroom opens to the main street by way of floor-to-ceiling glass and a generous balcony – all subtly obscured by the veil draped in front of the façade. Floor-to-ceiling glass in the kitchen opens out to the back patio and garden space, echoed by ample windows in the upper two rear-facing floors of the unit.

The back of the building and the third-floor addition are clad in cork, which will age over time from its natural color to a silver-gray patina.

Front view – Before renovation

Rear view – Before renovation