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House on Poplar Avenue

McInturff Architects


Alan Kanner


  • Mark McInturff FAIA, Colleen Healey


  • General Contractor: Added Dimensions
  • Structural Engineer: Neubauer Engineers
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Project Description


This project involved the conversion of a tiny mid-century modern house into a small modern one. What had been a one-story box on a walk-out basement is now a two-story modern box on a walk-out lower level. While simple and economical in construction — straight-forward framing, no new footings or foundations — the three small original bedrooms have now moved up and out of the main level, freeing up much-needed space for a reconfigured, generous open plan for living, dining and kitchen. Because the client is one of Washington's most accomplished builders and served as contractor, we were able to selectively indulge in highly crafted elements, such as specialized cabinetry and an articulated stair. A simple exterior shape now gives way to an interior of surprising richness and complexity. On the exterior, a simple black metal form is elaborated with a series of colored attachments that make a two-story projected window bay, an entry canopy and frames for window groupings. The colors are inspired by one of Richard Diebenkorn’s Ocean Park paintings.

Jury quote: "Fun and beautifully crafted. A powerful addition to an existing house that provides a bold counterpoint to its natural setting."

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