Architecture + Custom Building: Drawing Board

Light and Airy

Architecture + Custom Building: Drawing Board A dilapidated row house in DC’s gentrifying Shaw neighborhood desperately needed an overhaul. Architect Will Couch was tapped to create a light-filled, modern home; his plan transformed the stairwell from dark and cramped to bright and beautiful.

Then Now
The switchback staircase was narrow and inconveniently blocked off from the rest of the space by walls. The wide staircase faces the entry and is centrally located. The walls around it have been removed, creating an open floor plan.
There was no line of sight from the front entry to the back door, so the house felt closed off and dark. It’s easy to see around the stairs to the back of the house, where glass doors opening out to the backyard admit natural light.
The stairs were an eyesore, with a rickety old wood railing. The clean-lined staircase combines blocks of wood and a glass railing that emphasize their sculptural shape.
The stairs were too narrow and closed off to admit light from the second floor. Two skylights above the stairwell bathe the main floor in natural light.


Renovation Architecture: Will Couch, AIA, LEED AP, Foundry Architects, LLC , Washington, DC. Builder: Washington Landmark, Washington, DC. Photography: Stacy Zarin Goldberg.