I do loves me some history, especially historical homes, and I figure if you’re gonna live in Washington, DC you’d have a pretty fair shot at getting something with a past. But howsabout something different? Howsabout something named after a drink I have after dinner and a drink I have during the meal?
Ladies and gentleladies, I give you Brandywine, located near Rock Creek Park and with easy access to the shops and restaurants on Connecticut Avenue in Northwest Washington, DC.
While it appears almost monolithic, it was designed to respect both the scale of neighboring houses and the rhythm of the streetscape. The house aligns with adjacent homes yet retains the vast majority of mature trees and green space located between the street and the house.
In addition, the materials used on the façade — stone, wood and stucco — mirror the façades of those more traditional homes nearby. Brandywine seems almost solid when viewed from the street due to strategically placed windows to insure privacy from the roadway.
The “L” shaped house is organized around the outdoor living spaces and swimming pool, and towards the large, south facing rear yard. Floor to ceiling expanses of glass provide ample visual and physical connectivity to the terraces, the swimming pool and the wooded landscape beyond; a screened porch, covered deck, roof top deck and balconies add to that indoor-outdoor feel, while a small bridge and stone path lead from the house and into wooded, less manicured landscape at the rear of the property.
All the glass, along with wood elements, keep the interior, while large, warm and cozy; limestone and granites add to a rich material palette. The addition of several skylights creates changing light conditions that activate the interior.
And yet, despite the relatively large size of this house and all that glass, Brandywine remains incredibly energy efficient. While the windows and skylights provide generous day-lighting, computer programmed shading devices modulate solar gain. A geothermal HVAC system, including hydronic heating, combines with solar hot water tubes and photovoltaic panels with the goal of providing a net zero energy house.
It is both kind to its environment of those homes nearby and still cautious of the environment in which we all live.
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