reorienting the front entrance in Columbia Heights

Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. In Columbia Heights, a tall, elegant row house with the typical front entrance: main stair to the front door, with an extremely narrow side stair in the center of the property down to the basement entrance. In addition to a narrow entrance, this layout also limits light and air in the basement unit because the front window is at grade, and very small.

Aggregate redesigned the front of the house so that a light and transparent steel stair rises in the center of the property to the front entrance, and basement access is repositioned along the western edge of the property line (at right in photos/renderings). A large area is carved out in front of the basement, allowing for a full-height window and a locked storage compartment. At ground level, the yard is resurfaced with slate pavers on a new concrete slab, making room for an outdoor seating area, and enclosures are built for trash cans and locked bicycle storage. The property is fenced in teak-stained wood to match the new enclosures, to complete a modern look. Overall, this minor architectural intervention greatly improved the basement unit, allowing the homeowners to set a higher rent, and transformed a formerly unused outdoor space into a beautiful seating area AND extremely useful storage area.


Builder: Spectrum Design Build, Inc.
Project status: completed Autumn 2015