100 Quay Street

Photo Credit © Judy Davis, Architectural Photographer

Alexandria, Va.
Designed by Conkey | architects

What started out as a simple window replacement to take advantage of spectacular views of the Potomac River blossomed into a completely transformative renovation. This home, one of eighty-three built in an early 1970’s neo-colonial style development common to that era, was never meant to have a river view when it was originally designed. Expecting a large development on the land between this house and the river, the land instead became Founder’s Park, forever cementing the unobstructed views of the Potomac and presenting a tremendous opportunity for adding an abundance of natural light and opening the home’s interior to the views outside.

Photo Credit © Judy Davis, Architectural Photographer

As part of the Old and Historic Alexandria District, any exterior modification to this home is subject to approval by the Alexandria Board of Architectural Review (BAR), adding a layer of complexity and presenting an enormous design challenge. Bound by what the BAR would or would not approve, the design started modestly and morphed over several years and phases.

The first design concept increased the size and number of windows to help balance unbalanced facades and improve views outward. Limited by both the BAR and zoning, only a small amount of square footage could be added by-right, with the kitchen and small second floor study being beneficiaries of the added space. 

The second design notion adds visual interest to the exterior with touches of ornamental metal work. The homeowner’s love of art by Piet Mondrian and the exterior window patterns inspired the custom metal work on the exterior Juliet balcony, flower box railing, and front entry stoop. In contrast to these decorative elements, simple glass railings replace cluttered metal picket railings at the interior stairs and at the raised rear terrace allowing unencumbered views throughout the home, letting the art shine instead.

Photo Credit © Judy Davis, Architectural Photographer

In addition to the aesthetic modifications, the homeowner sought to improve the home’s energy efficiency. The first home to have solar panels approved by the BAR and installed on its rear roof, the panels power the home’s systems and are one of many energy-efficient strategies incorporated into the design. Geothermal wells now inhabit the front driveway, a fortuitous condition given the tight lot and limited access to any other location for the drilling rig to access. The entire home was air sealed, and insulation added improving energy efficiency. An electric car charging station was installed in the garage powered by the home’s solar array. The home’s energy usage dropped by 60% post-renovation.

Visit the Conkey | architects website: www.conkeyarchitects.com.

Published: 02/13/2024
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