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