With the death of Florence Knoll last month, it seemed fitting to devote this week’s column to a home that reflects the forward-thinking design aesthetic that informed her work and which remains visually and functionally relevant and appealing today.
The white brick mid-century modern restoration at 2908 Ellicott St NW embodies all the elements associated with this architectural style: bold geometric lines, open, multi-level interior spaces and large windows and skylights that offer grand views of the outdoors. The house, built in 1959, now offers 4400 square feet of living space on two floors and includes four bedrooms, four-and-a-half baths, fireplace and custom walnut built-ins.
A bright yellow door framed by glass sidelights, rhomboid-shaped transoms and black trim opens into a small foyer that’s separated from the main living/entertainment space by a vertical narrow-slatted room divider. Straight ahead is a glass-walled staircase that seems to float down to the lower level. A skylight lends extra light and lift.
To the right is an open living room, dining area and kitchen, boasting a twelve-foot high vaulted ceiling, a wall of vertical and clerestory windows with unobstructed views of the rear terraced garden, built-in walnut cabinetry and a charcoal grey stone feature wall surrounding a contemporary gas fireplace.
A black branching tube chandelier (France & Son) defines the dining area, echoing the shape of the trees outside while adding a touch of industrial glam.
Facing the entertainment center and fireplace is the open galley kitchen, a sleek, bright space with a clerestory window and skylight, cabinets, marble backsplash and counter tops and a large island with a walnut table extension.
Stainless and integrated appliances include a Miele side-by-side refrigerator and freezer, microwave, convection oven, gas cooktop, hood; Bosch dishwasher and Frigidaire under-counter beverage cooler. There are also Grohe and Danze stainless fixtures.
Off the kitchen is a hallway lined with additional floor-to-ceiling cabinets and a powder room with Calacatta gold marble flooring, white marble and single sink vanity and Waterworks fixtures.
To the left of the living room is the step-up bedroom wing, which houses two guest rooms with ample closet space, a hall bath (in shades of grey and white with light walnut double-sink vanity and quartz counter) and owner’s suite—a cool retreat featuring a custom-fitted walk-in closet, large bedroom and spa-worthy en-suite bath with grey herringbone-patterned flooring, double sink vanity and “wet room” that combines a Badeloft freestanding tub and multi-head shower enclosed in one frameless glass space.
Down the glass staircase is an equally spacious and airy secondary entertainment/living space with a family room (with walk-out to the rear garden); rec room and wet bar (Summit refrigerator, Frigidaire beverage cooler, Bosch dishwasher, Marvel icemaker and textured wallpaper that would make Florence Knoll proud); den/office; two baths (hall and en-suite) and bedroom with a private entrance. There is also a laundry room with
Whirlpool washer/dryer and sink.
While the home style is thoroughly mid-20th century, the home tech is strictly 21st. It features built-in speakers, recessed LED lighting, three-zone HVAC and Blu-tooth locking system.
The MCM is located in Forest Hills, a neighborhood bordered by Connecticut Avenue to the west and Rock Creek Park to the east. It is an easy ride to Chevy Chase or points south and is within walking distance to the restaurants and retail attractions of Connecticut Ave, including Politics & Prose and the Hillwood Museum.
The four-bedroom, four-and-a-half bath Mid-Century Modern at 2908 Ellicott St NW is listed with Washington Fine Properties. For details, including offering price, contact Robert Hryniewicki, Adam T. Rackliffe and Christopher R. Leary at HRL Partners: 202-243-1620 or
Robert.H@wfp.com. For a virtual tour, visit http://spws.homevisit.com/hvid/219967.