Captured Modern

Home Alterations in Falls Church, VA

Captured Modern: Repurposing and reinventing space

Architect: Christiane deJong AIA, Builder: T.W. Herren

Getting Acquainted

Cara, Will*, and their two kids are a vibrant, young, creative, DIY family living in Falls Church, Virginia. When they found their “diamond in the rough” mid-century modern Holmes Run Acres home in the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington DC they fell in love. They knew it would be a process to make it shine, and they committed to the elbow grease required. After a few years of tackling smaller projects, they needed help for the larger projects from an architect that specializes in mid-century modern home alterations and renovations. The challenge for them was addressing the carport-turned-florida-room-turned-front-entry. It was dark and foreboding, filled with bikes and playthings, and didn’t serve as a proper entry. They wondered what home alterations they needed to help this space better suit their needs and they began looking for the best architect for their project.

Identifying Needed Home Alterations

Cara and Will began their architect search by asking friends and neighbors for architect recommendations. Then one day they went to a Holmes Run Acres “Open Homes” party where they saw the work of deJong Studio up close and heard glowing reviews from friends. This made their choice for the best architect clear and they approached deJong Studio shortly afterwards. After initial introductions we began discussing the ideas they had in mind defining needs and distinguishing wants. It was clear, in talking, that the practical needs for storage would be a top priority. Only once the bikes and boots had a home would we be able to look at creating a proper foyer. In doing so we also saw, within the ample florida room footprint, an opportunity to capture new interior space in the form of an addition for the family. Thus began the conversation about a new dining room.

Interior view of roomy, modern, light filled, mid-century modern dining room and cathedral ceiling

Occupying the space of the former florida room, the new light filled dining room and entry way add generous and lively space to the front of the house

Creating flow between this sunken, exterior florida space and the rest of the house became essential to converting it into a usable interior. Adding exterior walls and raising the floor to the main house elevation immediately made the space available for other uses. A clever switch, Christiane next suggested that if the existing dining room were relocated to the new space it would be possible, with minor existing home alterations, to add a new entry more towards the middle of the house. Moving the entry over and setting the new dining room back would create a distinctive front door with overhang and the couple loved this idea. This singular move added the inviting, modern entry that is a critical part of the mid-century modern lexicon found in so much of our work.

View of exposed structure and new floor to ceiling windows that make for a very inviting, very open mid-century modern entry and dining room

Exposed structure and floor to ceiling windows make for a very open, inviting entry and dining room

Developing the Design

Christiane enhanced this arrangement by turning the front door perpendicular to the street. This turn would allow us to create a foyer that offers that critical “pause” upon arrival. With the left over space in the former florida room area we were then able to include a second entry/mud room for those boots in the new home alterations.

When discussing material qualities for the new home alterations and addition Cara and Will expressed appreciation for their home’s original floor-to-ceiling windows. They provided a wonderful connection to the natural environment at the rear of the house. They also lend the living room an expansive sense. Responding to this, Christiane incorporated full-height windows in the front facade as well. This glazing increases the home’s front-to-back transparency and offers a view into the woods beyond. In addition to this new work, Will has restored the original cedar cladding, and added a new driveway with landscaping. This Falls Church, Virginia family home is now an inviting social oasis beautifully embedded in both nature and the neighborhood. The couple is now looking forward to their next home alterations with deJong Studio: a lively, open kitchen.

*Names have been changed to protect our clients privacy.