Ina Lane
mclean, virginia

Explanation of Project including scope:

Built in 1965, our client’s property was a one-story rambler with a basement approximately half the footprint of the first floor.

The design program included reconfiguring the entire first floor to consist of a new master suite, home office, gourmet kitchen, entry porch, and double-volume living spaces. Even at the single-volume spaces it was our client’s desire to increase the existing ceiling height from 8 to 10 feet.

An entirely new second floor with 3 bedrooms, each self-contained with its own bath and walk-in closet, was to be added to the existing structure.

Also, the existing 2-car garage which was integral with the house was to be replaced with a new detached 3-car garage.

Unusual Constraints or challenges:

Introducing a new 2,000 sq ft floor with its associated live and dead loads on an existing structure originally designed to carry only loads from a roof was the first major challenge.

The next was to increase the ceiling height by 2 feet where the new second floor was to be constructed over the first floor which brought up the issue of how to structurally connect the existing brick veneer exterior wall to the new second floor exterior walls.

The existing 2-car garage space which was to be integrated into the first floor as part of the new living spaces was 18-inches lower. However, our client wanted all of the spaces on the first floor to be aligned and at one level with no ramps or steps.

Existing access to the basement was via a set of stairs which was located at the rear of the house. Redesign of the new remodeled home required relocation of this rear access point to the front of the house which worked better with the proposed entry porch and hall.  The new stair well would provide at one location, access the basement, first floor and new second floor thereby eliminating two different sets of stairs located at different parts of the house, one to the basement, the other the second floor. This new set of stairs required making a new ‘hole’ in the existing first floor structure.

Creative solutions to the challenges:

The structural integrity of the existing brick veneer exterior walls was maintained by not touching them at all. A new 2-story balloon frame was built at the interior of the space along the perimeter of the existing exterior walls. This way, we were able to increase the ceiling height to the desired 10-ft with a new second floor system without tampering with the existing exterior walls.

Instead of demolishing the existing concrete floor slab and building a completely new foundation and crawl space, we preserved this slab and built-up a new wood frame structure on it to align with the level of the existing first floor.

Collaborating with our engineers GMA introduced new components to structurally stiffen and strengthen the existing floor system where the new stair well was created.

Our client did not want to walk through the elements from the new detached 3-garage to the main house so we designed a new breezeway to connect these two parts of the home. The breezeway also doubled as a mudroom with tons of built-in cabinetry and storage solutions.

Overall results of the project:

The home has been tremendously improved in terms of property value, livability, functional use of spaces and aesthetics! Again, the results are there for all to see!


g. manu & associates - architectural design & build

g. manu & associates - architectural design & build