Mediterranean Revival Renovation
Along with the addition of a new wing, the owners of this 1920s “Mediterranean” sought to authenticate their home as a true Mediterranean Revival.
The new owners of this Washington, DC, home approached Barnes Vanze Architects with a desire to authenticate their 1920s “Mediterranean” as a true Mediterranean Revival while also adding a new wing to make it comfortable for their young family. They also wanted the interior layout to provide a neutral, backdrop for their significant collection of antiques, artwork, maps, and tapestries.
The architects first designed an exterior to befit the style. Inspired by Italian and Spanish Mediterranean examples, their façade was clad in hand-finished, mottled natural stucco. Double-hung windows were switched out for French doors on the main level, with casement windows above. Small, bracketed entablatures were added over the French doors, and decorative Purlin soffits under the eaves. An enclosed side porch was also opened up, creating an inviting outdoor living area right next to landscape designer Jennifer Horn's carefully orchestrated new pool and garden.
A designed addition had to work with the home’s placement on its corner lot: The façade faces the corner itself rather than one of the streets that intersect there. The addition of a kitchen, family room, mudroom, stair tower and master suite had to fit into a wedge shape behind the house. That created odd angles inside, which were resolved with architectural elements such as beamed and paneled ceilings whose gridding naturally guide one’s eye around the corners.
A white-oak column visually divides the expansive new breakfast area and family room. “It was a triumph to connect spaces at these funny angles and not look too weird,” principal architect Ankie Barnes says of his team’s effort. Also new is a groin-vaulted corridor that leads from the new kitchen into the library and a self-supporting circular stair made of limestone, enclosed in a belvedere tower, which leads to the new master suite.
The team paid homage to the tradition of vaulted ceilings in Mediterranean-Revival architecture with pecky-cypress paneling that crowns the master bedroom, and makes a repeat performance as a cathedral ceiling within the arched side terrace. Designer Andrew Law helped create a calming interior of neutral Venetian-plaster walls that act as gallery space for the family’s art and antiques—all within a revived and expanded structure that embraces the pool and garden.