It's hard to see now, but this 57-year-old Ranch had many of the problems that often afflict that genre: poor circulation, a rabbit warren of chopped up rooms, insufficient storage, and poor daylight, to name a few. Architect David Jameson's renovation scheme replaced the negatives with good planning and stylish design for what the judges termed “a clever transformation of a problematic Ranch house.”

Jameson's first move was to transform the existing garage, which occupied a prime location near the pool, into a glass-walled master suite oasis. Then he rationalized circulation by moving the front door to the center of the house and forming a gallery hallway that provides balanced access into various rooms.

Though the roof height couldn't be altered, Jameson avoided the “dastardly expanse of never-ending 8-foot ceilings” by creating “fissures of light” within the framing. Two 5-by-12-foot skylights were inserted into the ceiling to fill the open kitchen/ dining/living area with natural light. At night, glowing spots artificially brighten the recessed boxes. Jameson addressed another bane of Ranch houses—a lack of storage—with walls of steamed beech built-ins that line the gallery, living room, and master bedroom. He saved more space with a 5-by-8-foot custom sliding wall between the master bedroom and bath. The beech-and-sandblasted glass partitions permit the movement of light while maintaining privacy. A similar idea was applied in the kitchen where sliding opaque glass and brushed zinc panels conceal or reveal different sections of the upper cabinets at the owners' whim.

Project Credits
David Jameson Architect, Alexandria, Va.
Builder: Sabra Design, Kensington, Md.
Living space: 2,400 square feet
Site: .25 acre
Construction cost: Withheld