Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor

by Lori Steenhoek

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 1

In Re-imagined this week, Lori Steenhoek helps brand new District residents envision a future in their newly purchased row house on the H Street Corridor. The couple, UrbanTurf readers who relocated from Alabama, wanted to imagine what the home would look like with fewer walls, exposed brick and a generally more open feeling. Check out some of the before-and-after images below to see what Lori came up with.

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 2

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 3
Currently: An Enclosed Series of Rooms

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 1

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 5
Re-imagined: An Open Floor Plan

The Living Room and Overall Downstairs

In the living room, weʼve opened up the floor plan by removing several of the interior walls and the associated pocket doors. The entry, living room, and dining area blend together a bit more, making the spaces flexible. We also re-exposed the brick walls where the fireplace was originally located and painted them white to go with the neutral, gray color palette that the new owners are considering for the walls. We added a working gas fireplace as a focal point of the seating area.

The staircase is now visible from the entire downstairs space. We tore down the red and wood paneled side wall of the house to expose the brick against the long wall that runs up the stairs. The entry into the home will now feel much more spacious and open.

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 6
Currently: An Enclosed Space

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 7
Re-imagined: Open to the Kitchen

The Dining Room

The owners wanted to add a peninsula to the area between the kitchen and dining room, so the first thing we did was knock out part of the wall to open up that space. We added a small stretch of countertop and cabinets to match the existing kitchen, and added some bar stool seating on the dining room side. The existing crystal chandelier is leaving with the seller, so we replaced it with something similar. The resulting room feels a lot more light-filled and spacious.

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 8
Currently: Hidden from View

Re-imagined: Opening Up in the H Street Corridor: Figure 9
Re-imagined: A New Peninsula and Opened Space

The Kitchen

In this view from the rear of the house, we can see the fully opened up space. The new peninsula adds more kitchen storage and counter space. The owners plan to leave the remainder of the kitchen as-is for now, simply replacing the electric stove with a gas one, adding some pendant lights over the new counter, and painting the walls gray. Overall, itʼs a pretty dramatic transformation that feels modern and allows for more living flexibility.

Lori Steenhoek is a Digital Artist with over seven years of experience creating architectural renderings. She is the founder of Capital Pixel, a DC-based rendering company, and is currently finishing her Masters thesis in Animation and Visual Effects. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Do you know of a home that needs some re-imagining? If so, drop us a line at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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See other articles related to: re-imagined, h street corridor

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/re-imagined_an_open_floor_plan_on_the_h_street_corridor/5993


  1. Ryan said at 6:16 am on Sunday September 9, 2012:
    From the "before" pictures, it looks like this home needs new furniture and maybe some different colored paint, but certainly not a total overhaul and a generic "open" floorplan. I hope the owners will see the beauty of this home's original features and the versatility of the traditional floorplan. You can make this home perfectly livable and versatile without knocking down all the walls and losing its character (and you'll save a fortune).
  1. jennifer said at 4:29 pm on Saturday September 8, 2012:
    Yeah, I agree with the above posters. The new modern scheme is not amazing, so it just removes the old character and creates blah. I would leave the living room intact and just open up that kitchen wall if nothing more creative is proposed for the entirely open scheme. plus, if they took out the entire bearing wall without thought. How is this to work? The entire ceiling is flush - its not going to look like that even if they do get a huge beam to carry the load. Are they thinking the old joists will span the entire space? Not likely. Or entirely re-doing out the second floor framing to use wood trusses? the old space has a great layout. with a few tweaks it could be amazing - its easy to make it look very modern with finishes, paint and a new fireplace (the one shown is not appropriate - it doesn't look classy enough for a townhouse - maybe more appropriate in a mid-century modern house, but the proportions are all wrong - should be more horizontal...its filling in the space where the old victorian mantle would have been.
  1. Heather S said at 9:36 pm on Friday September 7, 2012:
    To become another generic updated rowhouse?
  1. James said at 2:59 pm on Saturday September 8, 2012:
    A tacky bastardization of a cool old rowhouse. I'm all for modernizing a historic home, but entirely stripping it of any character with this awful overly-done wide open floorplan is horrific.
  1. IMGoph said at 6:22 pm on Friday September 7, 2012:
    Please, save all the original trim! Take it to Community Forklift
  1. rdhd said at 1:10 pm on Tuesday September 11, 2012:
    Add me to the camp thinking this is a waste of the original design. Just knock out all the walls and create one big bland room. It looks like there are pocket doors between the living and dining rooms. Going to just toss those? This trend is a real shame. And I'll add another complaint: what's the point of the bar stools two feet from the dining table? I see this in so many recently-renovated houses.
  1. Lane said at 2:55 pm on Tuesday September 11, 2012:
    So glad to see other commenters had the same reaction I did. All that beautiful old rowhouse trim and character (pocket doors!), with a highly versatile layout, and it's "reimagined" to look like a U Street condo. Also, I have a similar barstool-next-to-dining-room-table setup in my dining room and I can promise you no one will ever sit on or use those barstools.
  1. Tom A. said at 5:12 pm on Tuesday September 11, 2012:
    Funny, I was thinking the same thing about keeping the existing room structure and pocket doors, rather than making it all open concept. But I didn't say anything because I'm no expert. 😃
  1. Paul said at 10:45 pm on Monday September 17, 2012:
    I've been in the remodeling and renovation business for 30 years.I am happy to agree with all the neative reactions to the wide open design. That trend has become popular with the smaller cookie cutter houses built from the 50's through the 70's where building costs forced houses to be smaller for affordability but lacked sufficient space for descent furniture, etc. The beatiful H Street unit shown above predates the downsizing era I mentioned. Keep the rooms for their original grandure and maybe change the decor or furniture. You want abig open space? Buy an old warehouse.

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