Located near the buzzing Brookland neighborhood, the story of this 3,282 square foot three-level house is inspired by the 1930’s railroads, the Streamliner Era. Located across the streets from the Amtrak’s tracks, this new house is tucked in a quiet street with gorgeous tall trees that give the impression of being in the country side.
The existing one story plus basement brick house lacked care and did not meet the demands of today’s housing market. With a simple design and clear program, MAP retained the existing foot print of the house on the lot but doubled its square footage by adding a second story that cantilever from all four sides.
Doors and windows were relocated throughout the first floor to inundate the spaces with natural light, allow generous natural ventilation, exchange moments with nature and the outdoors and create multiple views that would communicate to the owner the location of the sun throughout the day.
The staircase was designed to create a sequence of natural events between the basement, first and second floor. Opened and filled with light through skylights, the staircase doesn’t separate each story but wraps them all together creating one continuous space. The private quarters on the second floor share a simple geometric layout with 4 bedrooms, one on each corner of the house with great views of the mature trees surrounding the site. Three ample white bathrooms with generous light and air instill serenity and frame nature to color the rooms.
The wrap-around deck is also reminder of the 1930’s period. A hallmark of the American farmhouses, it spans three sides of the building and invites you to travel from the main entrance to the rear yard and discover the site. The soft reflection of the aluminum material selected for the second floor skin is an element that honors the age of industrialization where iron and steel were often used in construction. When the sun is out, the shadows of the tall Elm tree seating next to the entrance are reflected on the aluminum creating a soft dance between nature and architecture.
The exterior recessed lighting located under the second floor overhang reinforces the feeling of lightweight and floating in the air. After sunset, the exterior lights and the aluminum siding give the impression that the second floor is levitating. Three scuppers located above the rear façade windows shoot water from the roof creating a water fall that reminds the owner of the constant presence of nature. It offers contemplating views on a typical DC fall rainy afternoon.
Through poetry of movement, MAP skillfully brought the feel of speed and travel from the period of railroad development to 3116 Elm Street, NE. Today, the neighbors have embraced the new house and proudly call it “the Mushroom house”.
Located in Brookland, Washington D.C.