A ram­bler ‘witch house’ gets new life with a mid­cen­tury flair

The Progress-Index - - REAL ESTATE - By Scott Sow­ers

Alex and Karin Hod­jatzadeh did not need an­other house. They owned a per­fectly fine Colo­nial-style home in Rockville, Mary­land that they bought from Alex’s fa­ther.They’d lived in it for 20 years and re­mod­eled it, but some­thing was miss­ing. They pored over list­ings look­ing for a new abode that would meet their de­sires to live in some­thing more mod­ern. Karin, 46, who serves as the CEO of the house­hold, says:“We were al­ways in­ter­ested in mid­cen­tury, so we looked and looked. This one had so much charm, it had the bones, the trees, and the neigh­bor­hood.” The Hod­jatzadehs grew up in Aus­tria, where Alex’s fa­ther was an ar­chi­tect. The fam­ily, which now in­cludes two daugh­ters, walked through the house on a Satur­day in Fe­bru­ary 2013 af­ter see­ing it in a list­ing and made a full price of­fer the next day, which was Su­per Bowl Sun­day. Sec­ond thoughts im­me­di­ately be­gan haunt­ing the deal. Karin’s par­ents re­ferred to the 2,800-square-foot, two-level home, which is also in Rockville,as“a witch house.”There was no garage,no cen­tral air, an un­tamed gar­den out front and a ma­jor de­sign flaw as soon as you walked in. “When you opened the front door, you were al­most fall­ing down the base­ment steps,” says Ar­chi­tect Damian Trostinet­zky, a prin­ci­pal at RT Stu­dio in Bethesda, Mary­land, who met the fam­ily by way of his daugh­ter go­ing to the same school as the clients’ daugh­ter. Trostinet­zky and his part­ner Gadi Romem tend to spe­cial­ize in mid­cen­tury makeovers. The fam­ily knew they would be re­mod­el­ing when they bought it, but the good news was the pre­vi­ous owner had up­dated the kitchen in 1998. The pre­vi­ous owner had also planned fur­ther im­prove­ments and had com­mis­sioned draw­ings that con­veyed with the sale. Alex noo­dled on the draw­ings, hired an­other ar­chi­tect for a con­sult but then fired him af­ter meet­ing Trostinet­zky and walk­ing through the de­signer’s own re­mod­eled mid­cen­tury home. “What we saw in Damian’s house was his vi­sion in how he was able to pre­serve a ram­bler and con­vert it into a beau­ti­ful mod­ern, prac­ti­cal liv­able space, which is ex­actly what we were look­ing for,” Alex says. - - The mid­cen­tury mod­ern pe­riod lasted from the early 1930s through the mid-1950s. The move­ment gave us Le Cor­bus­ier, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. It also left us with small bed­rooms and baths, tiny clos­ets and fixed glass pan­els in­stead of func­tional win­dows. The Hod­jatzadehs, who had moved from a large Colo­nial with a full base­ment, now found them­selves rent­ing stor­age space and hav­ing their cars bom­barded by wal­nut trees hang­ing over the drive­way. “I told Damian, ‘I want a garage, a din­ing room and more stor­age,’ “Alex, 46, says. The ar­chi­tect said he ini­tially was hes­i­tant about the project. “Usu­ally if a client says, ‘I need more stor­age and a garage,’ I’m not tak­ing the job,” Trostinet­zky says. “But we saw the pos­si­bil­i­ties and I thought I could do more than a garage and stor­age. They bought into it, so it was good.” Trostinet­zky came up with a scheme that ex­panded the house by adding the re­quested din­ing room and a large coat closet off the front en­trance that also pulled the front door away from the base­ment steps. The house sits on a hilly, odd-shaped lot, which forced the garage to the back of the house with a new drive­way con­nect­ing to a dif­fer­ent street than the one the house faces. Alex did his home­work by mak­ing sure he could get an ease­ment for the new drive­way be­fore clos­ing the deal. Even though a new master suite was not on the wish list, the ar­chi­tect pro­posed one that would sit on top of the garage but an­gled to add in­ter­est. A cor­ri­dor would con­nect the new master suite and garage to the orig­i­nal house. But­ter­fly-style roofs would shel­ter the new sec­tions of the house, an homage to mid­cen­tury de­sign. The home­own­ers signed off on the plans and then re­vealed that Alex in­tended to serve as the project’s gen­eral con­trac­tor, a path that can be fraught with peril.“I’ve done it be­fore - I did it on the other house - so I had the ex­pe­ri­ence,” Alex says.“There was no way I was giv­ing this to a GC [gen­eral con­trac­tor]; I didn’t trust any­body else.The de­sign was too in­tri­cate. Any­time I showed the draw­ing to any­body they got scared.” Even though Alex had stud­ied ar­chi­tec­ture in col­lege and grew up with a fa­ther who could de­sign and build, he was also work­ing full time as the se­nior di­rec­tor of fi­nance for Time Warner Cable. But he did have a plan. “I was able to work from home for a good chunk of that time,” he says. “The most im­por­tant part is to stay or­ga­nized. I would get up 5 and make a punch list, then make all my calls be­tween 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., then up­date the list ev­ery day.” Am­a­teur GCs are at a dis­ad­van­tage when it comes to hir­ing subcontractors be­cause they don’t know the build­ing busi­ness and they are hir­ing for only a one-off project as op­posed to a builder with sev­eral projects go­ing. Alex hedged his bets. “I talked to be­tween 100 and 150 con­trac­tors. Of those, I in­ter­viewed 80 to 90 sub-con­trac­tors on site, so I had a num­ber one pick, a num­ber two and a num­ber three in case one of them dropped out.” Clearly, the plan worked, as the project was com­plete in less than six months. To make room for the new en­try­way, trees were cleared. A new wall was built with func­tional win­dows il­lu­mi­nat­ing the din­ing room. Alex found a floor­ing con­trac­tor who was able to match and seam in new floor­ing with the ex­ist­ing white oak. Although the kitchen was com­pletely func­tional, the team refaced the red brick fire­place with dry stacked stone and moved one bank of the cherry cab­i­nets to im­prove flow in the cen­ter of the room. The added cor­ri­dor leads to the now spa­cious master suite com­plete with a walk-in closet. The new master bath was ren­dered from neu­tral colors and a pleas­ing puz­zle of geo­met­ric shapes. All the fix­tures and fin­ishes came from Porce­lanosa.The tub is a free­stand­ing soaker style with a sep­a­rate shower. A left­over frosted glass panel from the project was used to cre­ate a half wall around the toi­let.To con­fig­ure the van­ity the way they wanted it, the de­sign team com­bined a dou­ble van­ity with a sin­gle unit and tied them to­gether with a cus­tom coun­ter­top. All of the sur­faces in the bath are made from Krion, a non­porous, solid sur­face that feels like nat­u­ral stone. A dark ac­cent wall of dry stacked, brushed black lime­stone an­chors the space and pro­vides pri­vacy. The ex­te­rior of the house looks dif­fer­ent de­pend­ing on where you are view­ing it from and uses a mix of ma­te­ri­als to con­ceal the ren­o­va­tion. The house was orig­i­nally sheathed with T1-11, a grooved ply­wood that was es­pe­cially pop­u­lar in mid­cen­tury de­signs.The home’s new skin in­cludes an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing mix of ce­ment board, stucco, stacked stone, nat­u­ral fin­ished wood sid­ing and brick. For the garage, Alex took note of some frosted glass pan­eled doors at a BMW deal­er­ship and mim­icked the de­sign.The frames of the pan­els echo the trim colors on the house. Alex pi­loted a Bob­cat and a back­hoe while over­see­ing the fam­ily’s dream project and cites the ex­ca­va­tion phase of the project to be the big­gest chal­lenge. He had to change the slope of the drive­way on the fly, move a wa­ter line and had mul­ti­ple dis­cus­sions with the tub man­u­fac­turer. Trostinet­zky butted heads with the struc­tural en­gi­neer on the project, who in­sisted on an ex­pen­sive steel beam struc­ture over the garage to sup­port the master suite. Alex de­clined to dis­close the bud­get for the project, but says: “If I sold it, I would make out like a ban­dit. I could eas­ily dou­ble my money, but it would take a unique buyer; it’s not for ev­ery­body.”

Alex and Karin Hod­jatzadeh’s re­mod­eled home in Rockville, Mary­land. The fam­ily knew they would be re­mod­el­ing the 2,800-square-foot, twolevel house when they bought it in 2013 and set­tled on an ar­chi­tect af­ter tour­ing the de­signer’s own re­mod­eled mid­cen­tury home. (Deb­o­rah Jaffe — The Wash­ing­ton Post)

“When you opened the front door, you were al­most fall­ing down the base­ment steps,” says Ar­chi­tect Damian Trostinet­zky; he came up with a scheme that ex­panded the house by adding the re­quested din­ing room and a large coat closet off the front en­trance that also pulled the front door away from the base­ment steps.

The house was orig­i­nally sheathed with T1-11, a grooved ply­wood that was es­pe­cially pop­u­lar in mid­cen­tury de­signs. The home’s new skin in­cludes an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing mix of ce­ment board, stucco, stacked stone, nat­u­ral fin­ished wood sid­ing and brick.

Trostinet­zky and his part­ner Gadi Romem tend to spe­cial­ize in mid­cen­tury makeovers.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.