2023 RDAA | Renovation | Riggs | Robert M. Gurney Architect

When Bob Gurney’s client approached him with this renovation project in downtown D.C., there was almost nothing left to save of the 1890s building, part of a row of 13 built through the decade. “It had not been occupied for 8 or 10 years, and there was water pouring down through the roof. Typically, if there are nice historic elements to blend in, we will. But this house was in shambles.”

There was little to salvage, and yet the local neighborhood council insisted on a high level of restoration on the exterior, including window muntins and lights, brick patterns, and the original front door that had had panels punched out. Fortunately, builder Ted Peterson was more than up to the task, and the front and rear elevation now look better than new.

Inside, the firm had carte blanche to reimagine levels, functions, and flow. An existing basement was lowered by 16 feet and transformed into a workspace with separate entrance. An open living, dining, and kitchen area occupy the main level; the primary bedroom takes up the whole second level with a new addition; and a guest bedroom suite crowns the top floor. 

Our jury admired the aesthetics and livability of the interiors, offering special praise for the wide metal and wood stair that conveys natural light from a skylight down through the main levels of the house.



Robert M. Gurney, Architect

Washington, D.C.

Project Credits

Architect: Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, principal; Kara R. McHone, project architect, Robert M. Gurney, FAIA, Architect, Washington, D.C.

Builder: Ted Peterson, Peterson & Collins, Inc., Bethesda, Maryland

Interior Designer: Therese Baron Gurney, ASID, Baron Gurney Interiors, Washington, D.C.

Project Size: 3,668 square feet

Site Size: 0.043 acre

construction cost: Withheld

Photography: Anice Hoachlander

Key Products

Cooking Ventilation/Ovens: Miele

Cooktop: Wolf

Countertops: Custom; Corian

Dishwasher: Bosch

Entry Doors/Windows/Window Walls: Pella; Dynamic Fenestration

Faucets: Dornbracht; Fantini 

Fireplace insert: Ortal

Lighting Control: Lutron

Paints: Sherwin-Williams

Refrigerator/Wine Cooling: Sub-Zero

Roofing: Green roof system by LiveRoof

Sinks: Franke; Kohler; VIGO

Toilets: TOTO