This project was a very collaborative effort between the design team and the client. The home is as much a reflection of the Architect's philosophy about space, light and relationship between building and landscape, as it is a reflection of the client's life, professional interests and their personalities.
As scholars of African and African-American art, music, and linguistics, their collections (painting, photography, artifacts, books) helped guide the design process, including the spatial, lighting, and organizational strategies of the renovation.
MTA maintained the original structure and street facade of the house, while restructuring the traditional service spaces in the rear of the ground floor into an open kitchen, family room and dining area that opens to the large south facing garden through a ribbon of mahogany windows and doors.
The traditional small rooms and service stair in back of the house where removed and reconfigured to create a Master Suite, opening the room to the wooded and sunny landscape of the backyard with another line of mahogany windows.
The homeowners also enjoy entertaining, and their numerous gatherings with friends and family made the design and functionality of the dining room, family room and kitchen the top priority.
Contemporary sliding doors allow for closing the dining room from the kitchen, family room and living room for formal dinner events.
The rooms in the front were updated and transformed into a formal living room downstairs and studies upstairs where the professors showcase their art and book collection in a contemporary space while maintaining the traditional detailing of the 19th century house.

Renovation instead of tearing down: use the embedded energy of the building
Opened dark rooms of the existing interior to the south garden in a way that brings a lot of daylight deep into the interior, promoting less energy consumption from artificial lighting.
All new windows were insulated low-e argon-filled glass
New storm windows in all existing windows improve thermal performance; reduce heat loss and drafts, which reduces energy consumption.
New operable windows at the top of the stair volume promote stack effect in the summer for natural cooling.
All existing walls were re-insulated with blown-in insulation to replace the old horse-hair insulation.
Existing wood floors from demolished rooms downstairs were salvaged and reused in upper bedrooms

Photo Credits:

Anton Grassl/Esto