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A Dupont Circle apartment embraces open living with a private twist.
It took years for the plan to take shape. After purchasing a one-bedroom unit in a Dupont Circle-area apartment building, the owner bided his time and eventually bought two neighboring efficiency apartments on the same floor. He rented out the studios while preparing to combine all three units into one home for himself long term.
When the time was right, he looked to Mark McInturff of McInturff Architects in Bethesda, Maryland, to unite the 1960s era spaces. Known for highly crafted contemporary projects, McInturff’s firm executed both the architecture and the interior design, employing its trademark modern approach. One key task was optimizing an impressive wall of windows created by the merger. It stretches 65 feet along the building and offers prime views of the historic area.
“I suggested creating an arrangement of spaces that would give him extensive vistas and the feeling of one continuous space, particularly along the window wall,” explained McInturff.
However, since his client wanted to be able to close off certain sections while entertaining, the architect included a variety of sliding pocket doors to create discrete rooms throughout the floor plan.
“The client lives alone, so the spaces are open to one another most of the time, but when guests are over, he can close off the kitchen from the dining room and also the bedrooms from the living areas,” added McInturff.
The walls of the original units, filled with extensive plumbing and wiring that could not be altered, were transformed into thick walls of natural stucco. Pale cement grey in color, they are purposefully unobtrusive, present but passive in stature. McInturff’s team “sculpted” them into more interesting space divisions with spare but strategic recesses and projected wood shelving.
Meanwhile, a bold blue wall, crafted of Venetian plaster, stretches between the master bedroom and the dining room, drawing the eye from one space to the next.
“I wanted to add an element that traveled through more than one room,” noted McInturff. Similarly, a bright yellow wall anchors the living room—both plaster creations are waxed for a subtle luster.
The kitchen’s white lacquered cabinets and black granite countertops satisfy the owner’s vision of a black-and-white color scheme. A natural gas commercial stove and stainless steel refrigerator offer the latest conveniences in appliances. Supported on one end by a steel pipe, the island extension floats above the rich wood floor and is privy to extensive views—that is until guests arrive, when large white pocket doors fully close off the space from the neighboring dining room.
The master bedroom and guest bedroom suites are on opposite ends of the apartment, separated by public spaces for maximum privacy. Set behind the bedroom is an office; in order to assure outdoor views from the desk, McInturff improvised with a window-sized opening between a set of storage cabinets and the blue plaster wall. The opening looks through the bedroom and out towards the windows.
“There is so much pleasure in crafting the smaller details of a project like this,” said the architect of the completed design.
The pocket door integration “was a challenge,” he continues, but it ultimately allowed for the best of both worlds: dedicated living spaces that flow together into a unified whole.