Complete interior renovation of a 1980s split level house in the Virginia suburbs. Main level includes reading room, dining, kitchen, living and master bedroom suite. New front elevation at entry, new rear deck and complete re-cladding of the house. Interior: The prototypical layout of the split level home tends to separate the entrance, and any other associated space, from the rest of the living spaces one half level up. In this home the lower level "living" room off the entry was physically isolated from the dining, kitchen and family rooms above, and was only connected visually by a railing at dining room level. The owner desired a stronger integration of the lower and upper levels, in addition to an open flow between the major spaces on the upper level where they spend most of their time. ExteriorThe exterior entry of the house was a fragmented composition of disparate elements. The rear of the home was blocked off from views due to small windows, and had a difficult to use multi leveled deck. The owners requested an updated treatment of the entry, a more uniform exterior cladding, and an integration between the interior and exterior spaces. SOLUTIONS The overriding strategy was to create a spatial sequence allowing a seamless flow from the front of the house through the living spaces and to the exterior, in addition to unifying the upper and lower spaces. This was accomplished by creating a "reading room" at the entry level that responds to the front garden with a series of interior contours that are both steps as well as seating zones, while the orthogonal layout of the main level and deck reflects the pragmatic daily activities of cooking, eating and relaxing. The stairs between levels were moved so that the visitor could enter the new reading room, experiencing it as a place, before moving up to the main level. The upper level dining room floor was "pushed" out into the reading room space, thus creating a balcony over and into the space below. At the entry, the second floor landing was opened up to create a double height space, with enlarged windows. The rear wall of the house was opened up with continuous glass windows and doors to maximize the views and light. A new simplified single level deck replaced the old one.
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The Interior-Exterior Relationship In split number one a row of sliding glass doors leads from the kitchen and adjoining rooms out to a deck that stretches out all along the back of the home. These doors bring abundant natural light into the interior while allowing for the barefoot lifestyle many people cherish now.