Wesley Heights

Wesley Heights, Washington, DC

This new house is sited on a steep Wesley Heights lot which overlooks Glover Archbold Park and backs to a wooded lot adjoining the Krueger Museum.

The in-town site offered a unique opportunity to build a home that was both glassy and private at the same time. The plan of the house is defined by two solid walls placed on the side lot lines, and open glass walls on the long sides facing Glover Archbold Park and the open wooded lot to the rear.

The glass walls facing the street open to a 5 foot deep terrace running the length of the house. This serves to open up the house during parties and to block the view of the road from inside the house. A low retaining wall in the rear defines a pea gravel open court which is used for outdoor dining. When the glass doors of the first floor are opened the front terrace and rear pea gravel court become outdoor rooms, making the first floor feel expansive and open to nature.

A minimal material palette was carefully selected throughout the house. The goal was to highlight the separation of vertical elements (stained wood walls) from horizontal planes (travertine floors and plaster ceilings). Stressing the floor and roof plane heightens the horizontal experience; the effect is a floating sensation above Glover Archbold Park. The open first floor plan is defined by cabinetry rather than walls, a sense of freedom is felt living in the house.

Photography by Maxwell MacKenzie

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