2005 Southern Home Awards: Second Chance to Shine

Robert Martin

Best Restoration
As far as rescue stories go, this one's a doozy. Once divided into apartments, this row house was so neglected and unloved that restoring it to its former glory seemed almost impossible. Almost. See for yourself how a room-by-room overhaul gave the historic dwelling a chance to enjoy better days again.

From Rags To Riches Again
Built in 1817 as one of five Cox Row Houses in Washington, D.C.'s Georgetown district, this four-story residence spent most of its first century as a high-style address. But by 2001, the property was in sad shape. "Builder John Richardson and his crew repaired the nearly 200-year-old brick walls and reframed the dormers that sagged from prior fire damage," explains project architect Douglas Rixey. John's crew also refurbished the exterior stucco finishes and the slate and copper roofing.

Putting It Back Together--and Then Some
With the exterior work underway, Douglas and interior designer Elizabeth Hague tackled the maze of rooms inside. Down went a structural masonry wall separating the two front parlors. Classical Doric columns and an elaborate entablature (built-in, boxed enclosure at the ceiling) now conceal necessary steel posts and beams. A new passageway connecting the parlors and stairhall creates one grand gathering space. "The new opening, columns, and entablature are finished in a hand-applied glaze," says Elizabeth.

Details such as these impressed our judging panel, especially interior designer Jeannie Krumdieck. "The soft, muted palette of interior colors allows the architectural details and period-appropriate materials to shine," she says.

With striking improvements both inside and out, this row house is set to gracefully withstand another century or two.

SOURCES:
Pages 158-160: Architecture by Rixey Rixey Architects, contact Douglas Rixey, AIA, Washington, D.C., (202) 333-2626; John D. Richardson Co., Ltd., contact John Richardson, Washington, D.C., (202)342-7424; interiors by Elizabeth Hague Interiors, Inc., contact Elizabeth Hague, Washington, D.C., (202) 333-0039; Crowther & Associates, contact Gay Crowther, Annapolis, Maryland, (301) 858-5015 or (410) 267-9437. 

"2005 Southern Home Awards: Second Chance to Shine" is from the October 2005 issue of Southern Living.