Up Scale Condo

During the last decade we have seen a substantial increase in the number of condominiums found throughout the city, many of them on Capitol Hill. The condo collection is composed of existing apartment buildings that were converted to condo, new construction projects, and adaptive reuse of older buildings - such as schools, hospitals, and churches. Many condo owners find themselves with aging kitchens and baths, or a poor-quality fit-out that ought to be upgraded, which makes condo remodeling a growing segment of the remodeling market.

This was the case for a homeowner in the Watergate Condominium which was constructed in the 1960’s. We first remodeled their two-level apartment Watergate residence in the 1990’s. Last year, for health reasons, they moved to a more modest one-level apartment within the same building. We were pleased to provide design and construction services for the remodeling of their new kitchen and master bath. Combining architectural, interior, and construction skills for an appreciative client is always a pleasure.

The apartment’s original 1960’s Watergate kitchen was inefficiently arranged, lacked a kitchen table space, was cut off from the living space, and generally did not fit a modern lifestyle. The old kitchen had poor quality cabinets and appliances and did not meet the homeowner’s high standards. It had to go.

We gutted the existing kitchen to reconfigure the layout. The new design includes space for a two-person bullet-shaped table with stools. An existing hall, formerly an under utilized passageway to the kitchen, was redesigned as a butler’s pantry with 12" deep cabinets, and a new wall opening visually links the living room for natural light. Within the new wall opening we installed hand crafted decorative ironwork to embellish the design.

Custom wood cabinets were painted a buttery yellow because it reminded the client of a childhood home. Stippled glass installed in the cabinet doors obscures the cabinet interiors, and provides the illusion of lightness and space. Crown molding and flat panel doors provide an up-scale transitional look without excessive detail.

Granite countertops and backsplash were selected for their beauty, durability and ease of care. The bullet-shaped table was specified in dark cherry to complement the granite and provide visual warmth. Continuing the theme of hand crafted ironwork, a twisted wrought iron leg was designed to support the table top. Black polished granite floor tile provides contrast with the yellow cabinets and is sympathetic with the mottled color of the granite countertop.

Planning for the long-term, the homeowners insisted upon quality appliances. We recommended a 27" wide Sub-Zero refrigerator along with several separate Sub-Zero under-counter freezer drawers to maximize the storage. For a minimalist look we specified a Miele hood with curved glass because it does not obscure the beauty of the stone backsplash. The dishwasher, also by Miele, was chosen for its quiet operation. The Thermador brand was selected for a cooktop and oven as functional and attractive.

The master bedroom space contained ample closets and a generous vestibule leading to the bedroom. The master bath was small and opened directly onto the master bedroom.

To increase the size of the master bath, we reconfigured the bathroom and closets. Moving the bath entrance to the vestibule area freed-up bedroom wall space for a dresser. Rearranging the closets enabled us to make the bath larger without sacrificing closet space.

Two large vanities were placed within the bathroom, one for a sink and one for makeup. Both have generous storage. Good lighting and well-placed mirrors keep the space practical. A large corner shower stall with a bench and frameless glass enclosure become sculptural. Marble tile enhances the floor, walls and countertops.

The newly remodeled apartment home is a well designed sanctuary within an oasis called the Watergate.

photos by Ron Blunt

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