Good old-fashioned snail mail can still get the job done. When Christopher Schriever, owner of a boutique marketing company, and Edward Palmieri, a director at Facebook, were having trouble finding a property in DC’s trendy Shaw neighborhood, they staged a letter-writing campaign to the potential sellers of homes that caught their eye—and snagged the perfect house.
“We used to live in a Logan Circle condo,” says Schriever, “but we were expecting twins and needed a larger home. Proximity to downtown and Metro were important to us, as was lot size. This place had great potential.”
However, the existing circa-1900 row house was problematic for the couple, who anticipated the needs of their growing family. They enlisted architect Patrick Brian Jones, with whom they had worked before, to mastermind a renovation that would give them their dream home. On the wish list: better flow and functionality, improved storage and an airy, open floor plan with plenty of room for hosting friends and accommodating family. “We wanted spaces that were as naturally lit, expansive and family-friendly as could be achieved in a row house,” says Schriever.
In order to gain square footage, Jones absorbed a dogleg at the back of the property—a typical row-house feature—into the floor plan. “I was able to square off the interior to go from property line to property line,” he explains. This alteration added 315 square feet to both stories of the house—including a bump-out that accommodates a mudroom on the first floor and a sitting area off what is now the twins’ bedroom above it. The renovated, 3,000-square-foot home comprises three bedrooms and three-and-a-half-baths.
When Schriever and Palmieri bought the house, the kitchen was closed off in the back and there was no family room. In his renovation plan, Jones removed the wall separating the kitchen, and installed a wall of fixed and operable Jeld-Wen windows at the back of the house to flood the interiors with light. “This created a strong visual connection from inside to out,” the architect notes.
A new glass-and-steel stair rail adds to the home’s open feel.The powder room was moved from its location under the stairs to make way for additional storage. “Having plenty of storage was key, especially with twins,” Schriever observes. “Our aesthetic is clutter-free and it’s important for us to be able to put toys away when needed.”
In the reworked layout, a new kitchen connects the living and dining areas, with a family room area located at the back of the house. The kitchen boasts Ikea cabinets in white laminate and walnut, a waterfall-edge island topped with quartz and stainless-steel GE Monogram appliances. A wall of freestanding cabinets separates the kitchen from a butler’s pantry featuring ample storage and a wet bar. The powder room, now tucked in beside the pantry, opens inconspicuously into a pass-through created by the wall of cabinetry.
“The butler’s pantry is great because it offers a place to stash dirty dishes when entertaining,” says Jones. “The kitchen is very functional, but it’s also in the center of the house. It’s the first thing you see when you walk in.”
In a custom touch, Jones clad the base of the island on the barstool side in hot-rolled steel—a durable and aesthetic choice. “I love hot-rolled steel,” he enthuses. “Though it’s a cold material, it has a lot of organic movement and warmth to it. I also used it as a privacy panel to screen the pantry from the dining room and as a fireplace mantel in the living room. And it wraps the banquette in the eat-in nook.”
French milled-oak floors in a rich honey color and plenty of exposed brick—revealed in select spots such as the fireplace and kitchen accent wall—add warmth to the cool, contemporary look and crisp, white palette. “Though we mostly wanted a calming, all-white house,” Schriever explains, “we also wanted to retain a hint of the historic row house.”
Jones, who also designed the interiors, completed the furniture layout during the schematic phase. “I like to ensure how a space will function with furniture from the start, taking into account what homeowners own and what they might need,” he explains. He and his clients selected pieces in a range of price points—and in a comfortable, chic and minimalist style inspired by the clean Mid-Century Modern vibe that Schriever and Palmieri favor.
“The kitchen and family room are our daily hangouts, so we chose durable, practical pieces, like the plastic Drop chairs in the eating area,” says Schriever. “The front of the house is more adult. There, we sourced interesting, sophisticated pieces like the Mayor sofa.”
The couple chose other iconic modern pieces as well, such as the whimsical Wegner cowhide chair by the fireplace and the acrylic Philippe Starck Ghost chairs in the dining area, which keep the views open to back of the house. The Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams ottoman/coffee table in the living room is upholstered in child-proof Perennials fabric.
The palette is mostly neutral, with color coming from the couple’s extensive collection of contemporary art. Stylish, strategically placed light fixtures bring spatial definition to the open-plan space, with a linear LED fixture above the island and pendants defining both the dining and eat-in areas. Recessed LEDs throughout the house provide overall lighting when needed.
The couple are thrilled with the finished home. “It’s extremely livable and comfortable,” Schriever says. “We love how everything turned out.”
Renovation & Interior Design: Patrick Brian Jones, AIA, Patrick Brian Jones PLLC, Washington, DC. Contractor: J. Allen Smith Design/Build, Ijamsville, Maryland.
Contractor- jasdesign-build.com. Flooring- Wire-Brushed European French Oak. Stair Railing: ar2designstudios.com. Rolled Steel: metalspecialties.biz.
Ottoman/coffee table: mgbw.com. Risom Chair: knoll.com. Arne Jacobsen Mayor Sofa: andtradition.com. Leather Easy Chair & Hans Wegner Shell Chair: dwr.com. Rug: matthebasics.com. Floor Lamp with Acrylic Base: pablodesigns.com through dwr.com.: dwr.com. Side Table & Lamp: westelm.com. Mirror Wall Art: cb2.com. Console by Door: theodores.com. Tryptic over Console: mike-weber.com through longviewgallerydc.com. Art by Fireplace: lourdesanchez through searspeyton.com.
Table: West Elm. Art by Dining Area: Christopher Schriever. Chest beneath Art: Hans Wegner through dwr.com. Bar Cart: Vintage from former General Motors Factory
Cabinetry: ikea.com. Countertops & Backsplash: caesarstone-usa.com. Appliances: monogram.com through adu.com. Table in Breakfast Nook: lievorealtherrmolina.com. Arne Jacobsen Drop Chairs: dwr.com. Fixture above Table: rh.com
Sectional: westelm.com. Canvases behind Sectional: michellepetersonalbandoz.com through longviewgallerydc.com. George Nelson Coffee Tables: hermanmiller.com. Mudroom Chest: Giulio Lazzotti for dwr.com. Pillows on Sectional: westelm.com, crateandbarrel.com.
Toddler beds: babyletto.com. Loveseat: mgbw.com. Light fixture: Herman Miller through dwr.com. Shelf: westelm.com
Bedstead: Custom design by patrickbrianjones.com. Round Night Table: dwr.com. Square Night Stand: westelm.com. Eero Saarinen Womb Chair and Ottoman: knoll.com. Upholstered Chest: owners’ collection. Upholstery: knoll.com. Art over Bed: Newton K. Malvessi.
Soaking Tub: signaturehardware.com. Floor Tile: daltile.com. Shower Enclosure: ar2designstudios.com.