Managing a teardown to build a dream house

A Maryland couple targeted on what they’d acquire by the method

David Medine and Carol Weil razed their existing house in Bethesda, Md., and built a new one on the same land. The rear patio contains an open section for plantings.
David Medine and Carol Weil razed their current home in Bethesda, Md., and constructed a brand new one on the identical land. The rear patio comprises an open part for plantings. (Anice Hoachlander)

David Medine and Carol Weil had been planning their future round single-level residing however had been putting out. “We looked for two years and could not find anything that we loved. But the process was valuable because it defined what was important for us,” says Weil, 62, who retired as a program director with the National Cancer Institute.

While they had been looking out, they walked by a home on the market in Northwest Washington that got here near hitting the mark. The developer instructed Medine and Weil that the home was designed by Kube Architecture based mostly in D.C., which wasn’t right.

“The developer kept telling people we designed that house, but we didn’t do it,” says Janet Bloomberg, principal of Kube. Despite the confusion, the owners and the designer talked on the cellphone and hit it off, which led to a social invite. “We went to their Halloween party, and it was love at first sight,” says Medine, who’s 68 and a retired knowledge safety skilled.

At a extra critical sit-down and web site go to, the design group discovered that the household was residing in a two-story Colonial with an hooked up storage in Bethesda, Md. They purchased the home in 1992 for $473,480 and raised their household. They’d achieved a couple of small renovation tasks through the years however to get the principle suite, residing space and laundry on the identical flooring was going to go manner past a bump-out.

Resurrecting a uncared for neighborhood property

“One of the big issues even before going into the house was how high they had to climb to get up the driveway, it was very steep,” says Andrew Baldwin, mission designer at Kube. “They wanted to remove that challenge and the steepness of the site.”

The home backs as much as a wooded part buttressed by a brick retaining wall. The owners additionally needed to benefit from nature views. To make the yard extra accessible, handle the driveway and get every little thing on one stage, the prevailing home needed to come down.

Rather than wrestle with the emotional trauma of demolishing the household house, the owners targeted on what they’d acquire by the method. “The teardown was an opportunity to do something we wanted to do, which was to have a more contemporary house,” Medine says. “It was a great house and a great neighborhood, but it was also a chance to do something that was in the back of our mind.”

Teardowns can typically increase issues in established neighborhoods when a McMansion out of the blue arises in a set of bungalows. The design group didn’t need that to occur. “We didn’t want it to look like a UFO just landed in their yard,” Bloomberg says. “We looked at scale, proportion and massing.”

Starting from scratch, the designers labored throughout the confines of the location and started presenting conceptual drawings that ultimately grew to become actuality. “Janet laid out three floor plans, and we picked the one we liked the best,” Medine says. “It was a back and forth with her throughout — we didn’t have to go to Home Depot once.”

Demolition began in May 2018 with the owners shifting right into a rental home inside strolling distance. They used a neighborhood salvaging firm to take the prevailing home aside piece by piece and recycle the parts. As excavation received underway, the design group found one thing that no person deliberate for. “There was a lot of rock on the site,” Bloomberg says. “Solid rock, which is probably why they put the driveways in the way they did.” Removing rock created delays and ended plans for excavating the basement stage to extend ceiling peak.

Construction lasted 18 months with the household returning in November 2019. The transformation begins on the driveway. A delicate slope changed the steep climb as board-formed retaining partitions assist protect a beloved silver maple tree within the entrance yard whereas providing simpler entry. The new house adopted the identical proportions relative to width because the outdated one with the storage and the entrance door in the identical areas.

Entering by the entrance door presents a glance by the home and into the yard. “The kitchen and dining are pushed off to the side and as soon as you get in the front door, you’re hit with the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out the back,” Baldwin says. “We worked on having that axis when entering the house.”

Former embassy turns into a classy residence

Turning left reveals a proper eating room occupying the entrance of the home that’s sufficiently big for giant household gatherings. “We did a custom dining room table in there,” Bloomberg says. “It’s nearly impossible to find a dining table that will fit 12 people.”

Fabrication on the only pedestal, glass-topped desk was dealt with by Steve Prudhomme of Metal Specialties based mostly in Lorton, Va. A floating glass sideboard presents extra room for meals.

Turning proper from the entrance door results in a coat closet, powder room, laundry, mudroom, an workplace giant sufficient for each owners and the principle suite. Because all of the lively areas for the house are on one stage, the principle bed room and bathtub had been purposely positioned on the far finish of the home. The most important bed room features a sitting space with views and entry to the yard. There’s additionally a low-profile gas-fired hearth for cold evenings.

The most important bathtub is within the entrance of the home. To usher in pure gentle, excessive home windows had been reduce into the outside partitions that present views to the surface whereas nonetheless making certain privateness. The toilet flooring and partitions are outlined by shades of grey tile from Stone Source. There’s a curbless, doorless, two-headed bathe and a free-standing, resin soaking tub from Allene. The two-station vainness is topped with Dekton and features a make-up station.

The basement format incorporates a second household room, exercise room, storage, full bathtub and a second workplace. The steps main upstairs are illuminated by handrails and a vertical wall panel powered by color-changing LEDs. Upstairs are three visitor rooms, a shared full bathtub and a half-bath. Thinking forward, the household left room for an elevator that may be put in that may join all three flooring if wanted. They additionally went with geothermal heating system that works by way of radiant flooring warmth.

The coronary heart of the house is the principle residing space, which works on a number of ranges. There’s a moist bar simply previous the lobby, which might be hidden by floor-to-ceiling pure wooden panels. The similar panels additionally shut off the mudroom as wanted. The smaller, casual eating space floats in the midst of the area. A butler’s pantry full with backup fridge, storage and counter area is adjoining to the principle kitchen.

The kitchen home equipment embrace a Sub-Zero fridge, Thermador cooktop, Miele oven and steam oven. The cupboards got here from the German Kitchen Center in D.C. and the counter tops are a mixture of darkish Dekton and white Corian. The flooring on the primary stage are all engineered wooden. The kitchen island features a sink and a lower-level peninsula sufficiently big for morning espresso and a laptop computer.

Moving from the kitchen into the lounge reveals a wall of glass with a nod to Mondrian’s patterns of rectangles searching to the yard and a shed-roof ceiling remedy that expands the view to the outside in jaw-dropping style. The hearth dealing with is constructed from a mix of customized millwork and Viroc. A TV hides behind the ornamental panels.

The yard was resculpted by including a concrete retaining wall that terraces down from the unique brick, which frames a nested patio. All the landscaping was dealt with by Campion Hruby Landscape Architects based mostly in Annapolis, Md. The builders had been Peterson and Collins, based mostly in Bethesda, Md.

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“Everything feels very scaled,” Bloomberg says. “It has a warmth to it even though it’s a very modern house — there [is] lots of wood, which helps make it very warm and welcoming.”

The owners say they’re proud of the result and grateful there was no neighborhood backlash.

“We didn’t build it as an investment, we built it as our forever home,” says Medine, who declined to reveal the renovation prices. “We didn’t go through that same calculus that you might have if you were planning on living in some place for two years and selling it. We were budget-constrained just like everybody else, but the return on investment in the short term was not our major consideration at all.”

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