If These Walls Could Talk: A Recently Completed Remodel

By Bruce Wentworth, AIA

When meeting with new and potential clients, I’m often asked about past remodeling projects, recent design challenges, and the Wentworth process of remodeling a home. I thought a blog would be a great place to walk readers through a project from start to finish and shine some light on the detail, craftsmanship, and creativity involved in a Wentworth remodel.

A Home Office and Row House:

Recently, the Wentworth team completed a sophisticated home office remodel in a charming neighborhood of Northwest DC. Every adult needs a home office; a place to work on a computer, pay bills, do a craft project, and perhaps find a little solitude. Our client, Karin Lohman, a scientist with N.I.H., wanted to remodel her circa 1923 row house to add a home office that included an area for a variety of projects. Like many row houses, the master bedroom was created by enclosing a sleeping porch, and was linked to another bedroom for more space. The bedroom was sunny with a wall of windows overlooking the garden, but the adjoining internal room was dark and windowless—a common problem in a row house.


After living in her home for seven years, she felt the windowless area of her master bedroom, with its limited storage, had deteriorated into a junk room, “a dark, messy cave” that she passed through to reach her bedroom. She had hoped to make improvements herself by adding bookcases and painting, but a busy work schedule, and a serious illness, prevented her from getting to it. While recuperating she decided it was time to invest in a home office with a project space that she could love and enjoy. She was tired of using her dining room table for projects. This is when she sought the Wentworth team of remodeling professionals to help her design and build it.

The first problem we needed to solve was getting more natural light into the interior space. This was accomplished with a new skylight and a new ceiling that sloped gently up to the skylight. The existing ceiling was cut out and reframed with a slope that increased the ceiling height by about 12” and admits more sun light because of its minimal skylight well. The office is now a bright transition from the second floor hall to the rear master bedroom.

After, Office Overview

The room had a large boxed-out chimney flue from a fireplace on the first floor. The flue divided the wall in half where we planned to build the new bookcase. The design called for concealing the flue within paneling, embellished with a wall sconce, and flanked by bookcases. Closed storage in the bottom of the built-in, and adjustable shelving above provides ample storage. Even the narrow columnar ends of the bookcase provide extra shelves to maximize storage. At the desk area a cork board was integrated and plenty of electrical outlets were provided. Crown molding, applied panel molding, and painted woodwork finish the custom details.

After, Desk Area

The former bulky old radiator was removed and a thin German designed, Runtal radiator unit was installed opposite the bookcase. An unnecessary second closet door was closed with drywall to free up wall space. Teal walls and white trim provide ample paint color contrast to the formerly dark space.

We even took care of an heirloom table built by the Ms. Lohman’s grandfather that she wanted to use for craft projects. A walnut table with turned walnut legs on casters had a worn out top and one of our exceptional carpenters fabricated a new walnut table top. Now it can be rolled out when needed for a project.

The client herself says it best when describing the project:

“My room has been transformed from an office/junk room to a gorgeous office with lots of light and plenty of storage space plus a project area (as in Martha Stewart crafty projects).”

1 comment:

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Great remodeling of this office house. It is really better than the old one.

Deirdre G