Unique Spaces: Sears Bungalow Gets a Modern Makeover

  • August 2, 2011

by Jennifer Sergent

Almost a year ago to the day, Jennifer Sergent wrote about a 1923 Sears-kit bungalow owned by husband-wife architects Theodore Adamstein and Olivia Demetriou in DC’s Berkley neigborhood. The home, originally listed for $2.9 million, ultimately ended up selling for $2.6 million last November.

The article (see below) was part of UrbanTurf’s Unique Spaces series, where we take a look at properties that could be considered “one-of-a-kind” in the DC area. If you have a home that you think fits the bill, send an email to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). See all of our past Unique Spaces articles here.

The rear glass of 2318 King Place NW

Husband-wife architects Theodore Adamstein and Olivia Demetriou are the principals at Adamstein & Demetriou, the architecture firm whose modern designs can be seen in DC’s hippest restaurants, including Zaytinya, Poste, and Bistro Bis.

It would stand to reason, then, that they live in a similarly appointed home. And they do, but its vast open areas, clad in three levels of soaring glass, are nearly invisible from the street. Passersby in the couple’s Berkley neighborhood instead see a lovingly restored, circa-1923 Sears-kit bungalow (map). The couple purchased the house in 2003—for its location rather than its architecture.

“We were looking for a house on a street that had great views,” Adamstein said of the down-sloping site that offers panoramic views over the trees flanking the Potomac River to Virginia’s shore beyond. “There are not many [DC] sites that have great views and expansive sky.”

The front of the Sears-kit bungalow

Because the site was their main priority, they had to now make the house their own.

“We felt we could come up with a concept that would tie the new home into the old,” Adamstein said. “We preserved the bungalow piece, but you transition into the modern home with huge expanses of 14- and 15-foot ceilings”

Colors and materials delineate the new and old. The original structure has deep, chocolate hardwood flooring, along with original interior colonnades of the same color. The materials in the addition are a much lighter combination of wood and limestone, but chocolate accents maintain the connection, from a portion of wall in the sunken living room to the pergola and railings off the family room.

Living room

An addition on the home increased it to six bedrooms, 4.5 baths and almost 6,000 square feet of interior space. And because of the sloping property, Adamstein noted that they were able to almost completely hide the addition behind the original house.

The master bedroom and two other bedrooms (part of the addition) have high ceilings and modern edges, but the two bedrooms in the original house stay loyal to the bungalow style with dark moldings and sloped ceilings. A sixth bedroom on the lower level shares space in the new addition with a light-filled study and exercise/rec room, all of which open to a flagstone terrace below the living room.

Rear terrace

The limestone flooring in the living room, meanwhile, continues right out to a deck; when the glass doors are opened, the indoor/outdoor space can easily accommodate 200 people for a party.

The Adamsteins are avid cooks, so their 500-square-foot-kitchen has double dishwashers and separate zones for prepping and cooking, which suits family meals, small dinner parties and a catering crew for larger events.

The kitchen towards the family room

The new-old design of the house fits well into the neighborhood, which is known for its diverse architecture, Adamstein says.

“We think it’s just a fantastic site,” he adds, noting that he and his wife are selling because their two children are getting older, and soon, they won’t need as much space.

Former UrbanTurf contributor Jennifer Sergent is the brains behind the DC By Design blog, and is the marketing director of the Washington Design Center.

See other articles related to: unique spaces, editors choice, berkley

This article originally published at http://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/unique_spaces_sears_bungalow_gets_a_modern_makeover/2335


  1. Rachel said at 8:48 am on Wednesday August 4, 2010:


  1. CarolKane said at 10:39 am on Thursday August 5, 2010:

    This is a far more well appointed Sears home to what I used to live in.

  1. uk dress said at 3:45 am on Thursday September 16, 2010:
  1. Dogboy said at 9:59 pm on Saturday September 18, 2010:

    Ok I just want to be their friends. Seriously. I’m very entertaining. Just don’t mind if I gush compliments at every turn

  1. CCCREWMOM said at 1:40 am on Friday September 24, 2010:

    Years ago my husband and I were looking for a home and I used to drive around that neighborhood and spotted the bungalow and its awesome views just around the time that the sale was being finalized.  I drove or walked by it as they were renovating and at the time I was disappointed with their treatment of the old bungalow.  We moved so only now am I seeing the final product and my original instincts were correct.  I wouldn’t want to live in that 6,000 sq ft trendy luxury hotel as it’s going to age fast and it’s not a home!

  1. East_H said at 10:14 am on Wednesday August 3, 2011:

    Agree with CCCREWMOM. It’s gorgeous but who can live in a space like that? The skinny sink, for example, looks so cool—but how useful is it really?

    It’s form over function everywhere in this house. Maybe it’s a little sour grapes on my part, but it doesn’t look very livable.

  1. Kohler said at 12:01 pm on Wednesday August 3, 2011:

    That’s a high-end, extremely functional prep sink.  I imagine the kitchen has at least one additional sink (if not several more) for doing dishes.  A prep sink like that is extremely useful for a serious chef.

    I see no evidence that this house would be hard to live in.  Just because you do not understand a design choice or would not prefer it in your own home does not make it wrong, stupid, or frivolous.

    You can find examples of similar sinks here:



  1. NW_girl said at 3:54 pm on Wednesday August 3, 2011:

    Wow, way to totally wreck a sear’s bungalow. I would much prefer the cozy original to this!

  1. East_H said at 4:15 pm on Wednesday August 3, 2011:


    I have to disagree. High end, sure… highly functional, not so much, unless you mean for sweeping crumbs into. I’ve seen them in other properties and they just seem to splash water everywhere.

    Also, I don’t think anyone called the choices “stupid”.

  1. Kohler said at 6:35 pm on Wednesday August 3, 2011:

    If you are having trouble using our sinks in a safe and effective manner, please refer to the user manual that accompanied the product or step into your local showroom, where a member of our friendly sales staff will be happy to assist you.

  1. CCCREWMOM said at 12:36 am on Thursday August 4, 2011:

    I think the Kohler marketing department is going into overdrive:)  I stand by my opinion that this house as redeveloped doesn’t have much soul.  I’m not per se against marrying a modern addition to a traditional house and they did a good job of hiding and/or making it seem seamless but the architects’ background of doing restaurant work shows.  Looking at the photos makes me itch to say “Bartender” “Bartender” and order the latest apple-kiwi-or-whatever-tini…..
    and forget about even thinking my 3 kids could hang out there.

  1. NW_girl said at 2:55 pm on Thursday August 4, 2011:

    couldn’t agree more cccrewmom!

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