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September 10, 2015
An artistic couple envisions a traditional home as a blank canvas.
Renovated DC Row House living room with white brick walls.

Given the homeowners’ request for an open-concept house with a fluid floor plan, Bloomberg first stripped the building down to its basics. Brick walls and a steel structure appeared; both became integral to the design. The architecture was not meant to be wholly decorative – that was the full responsibility of the bold furniture and art. 

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DC row house renovation with double height living room, UV and heat resistant glass.

Bloomberg describes the original house as having long, cramped hallways that looked “like a bowling alley.” So, she removed part of the second story and replaced it with a wall of glass to open up the space. The glass is U.V. and heat resistant, and an eight-foot industrial fan carries air throughout the home.

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Renovated DC Row House hallway with white steel treads.

Bloomberg wanted to mix raw and refined materials in the home, and she did so with the custom-designed staircase. White steel treads and frosted glass panels are supported by a black steel structure, which sits across from what she calls the “central core” of the home. Storage space and an elevator are hidden inside. 

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Renovated DC Row House dining room with sliding door and custom tables.

The homeowners regularly entertain and they asked for a dining table that could accommodate dinner parties – especially ones that could easily move outdoors. The architect designed two matching tables and benches on either side of the sliding glass partition.

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Renovated DC Row House kitchen with hidden storage.

It may look as though this kitchen doesn’t have many places for storage but that’s not the case. Cabinets run on the outside and inside of the U-shaped structure; a walk-in pantry is concealed in the home’s “central core.” 

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Renovated DC Row House backyard with Cor-Ten steel.

It was important to the owners that their home blend seamlessly between its outdoor and indoor spaces. Since steel is a featured material inside, Cor-Ten steel was featured in the backyard alongside plants like green beauty boxwood and variegated sedge.

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Renovated DC Row House bedroom with wood floors and Viroc headboard.

Viroc is a defining wall feature in the master bedroom. Another prominent detail is the wood flooring, which is original to the home. A bedroom on the third floor and a sleeping nook across from the master bedroom are for guests. 

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Renovated DC Row House loft space with Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair.

Egg chairs by Arne Jacobsen overlook the living and dining rooms on the first floor. When it came to choosing bold wall hues for the home – like the Benjamin Moore lime green shade on the loft’s sliding doors – Bloomberg remembers the discussion she had with the owners: “We said, ‘If we’re going to do color, then let’s do color.’”

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Renovated DC Row House bathroom with wheelchair accessibility.

The owners are in their seventies – they actually got married during construction at the site – and they wanted to have a home that would be accessible when necessary. The shower is equipped for a wheelchair, and so is every hallway in the house. 

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Renovated DC Row House living room with white brick walls.

Given the homeowners’ request for an open-concept house with a fluid floor plan, Bloomberg first stripped the building down to its basics. Brick walls and a steel structure appeared; both became integral to the design. The architecture was not meant to be wholly decorative – that was the full responsibility of the bold furniture and art. 

Architect 
Landscape Architect 

When a couple bought a row house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C., they aspired to live in their dream home of minimalist ease. But at first, eight-foot ceilings and dark corridors created quite the opposite effect. Janet Bloomberg, principal of Kube Architecture, felt that the best w­ay to achieve their vision – and highlight their love of art and entertaining – was to open up the home as much as possible. Exposed brick brushed in white and lines of black steel frame beloved paintings. Vibrant colors in the furniture and on the walls mirror those found in the artwork, and an unexpected two-story wall of glass carries light in from the backyard. Named the “Salt and Pepper House” in regard to the owner’s penchant for cooking, the property is now a comfortable place of cool simplicity. 

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