Powhatan Street
arlington, virginia

Explanation of Project including scope:

Our clients lived in a typical ‘Arlington Box’ built in 1944, which was not only outdated but small at approximately 1,344 square feet. Being a young couple with a child, expecting another and with two pets, our clients were faced with two choices; find a new, larger and more modern house, or renovate and add to the square footage of the existing house. They chose the latter. The existing two-bedrooms with tiny spaces for living, cooking, dining and bathing was simply not enough.

Unusual Constraints or challenges:

Existing site conditions vis-à-vis the project budget was the biggest challenge. Topography of the existing property sloped very steeply towards the front of the house. Any proposed addition to the front and rear called for extensive excavation, grading, water management systems and other site works; all with serious cost implications.

Given the site conditions and our clients’ request of at least doubling the size of the existing footprint, it would have been much easier to tear down the existing building and rebuild a completely new house. However, a very tight project budget meant GMA had to preserve and incorporate existing structural components into the overall modern design. This required very careful coordination and design integration analysis as a major priority of our clients was to make sure the result didn’t look like an addition or a remodel.

Creative solutions to the challenges:

To minimize the extent of excavation and costly site works, Team GMA provided a preferred design solution that had majority of the new addition ‘sitting’ on the footprint of the existing building. The roof of the existing building was removed and an entirely new second floor was created. This also allowed the new two-level rear addition to seamlessly integrate with the existing footprint without being visually obvious that a rear addition had been tacked onto the building.

The entire basement structure and first floor exterior walls were preserved and incorporated into the new design. This design strategy yielded cost savings and allowed our clients to appropriate funds to other areas of the project.

Siding on existing building was removed and new siding systems were installed to unify ‘existing’ with ‘addition’ to create one ‘whole’ fresh look.

Overall results of the project:

Without prior knowledge of the history of the building, it is impossible to tell that our clients’ brand new home is a remodeled house.

Very easy to think and believe this is an entirely NEW and modern house! Wink wink!


g. manu & associates - architectural design & build

g. manu & associates - architectural design & build