Row House Gets Modern Makeover

Designer Andreas Charalambous transformed this uninspired row house into a modern marvel, infusing light, art and elegance.
Modern Living Room With Sectional Sofa and Orange Accents

Modern Living Room With Sectional Sofa and Orange Accents

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Hodgdon

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Hodgdon

Despite the fact that the homeowners were living in South America at the time, designer Andreas Charalambous was able to coordinate with them over the phone and online in order to make their D.C. row house the modern home of their dreams.

Describe the homeowner's wish list.

The clients, a South American couple, commissioned FORMA to totally re-design this row house in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Washington, DC. They hired us when they were still living and working in Guatemala, and we developed the design and shared the process with them online and via phone calls. The house was dark and dated, and the owners wanted to bring more light in, modernize the house, and provide the right lighting and walls to display the photography of one of the owners and their extensive art and sculpture collection.

A Cookie-Cutter Row House Goes Modern

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Brick Row House With Red Front Door

This brick row house features a red front door and stone walkway, surrounded by shrubs and a few flowering plants, which create a welcoming, homey feel.

Photo By: Geoffrey Hodgdon

Contemporary Bathroom With Bidet

In this contemporary gray bathroom, the wall of the walk-in shower is covered by a river rock lining, which gives the space a warm, natural look.

Bathroom With Walk-in Closet

White wall and cabinets and a skylight overhead give this narrow bathroom and walk-in closet plenty of light.

Modern Bedroom in White

For a modern look and to highlight the owners' art collection, designer Andreas Charalambous opted for minimal accessories, white walls and white bed linens in this stylish bedroom.

White Bedroom With Lighted Drop Ceiling

A drop ceiling with a backlight adds depth to this modern bedroom. The white walls and bedding highlight the red mid-century modern chair and stunning abstract art.

Hall and Bathroom With Shared Color Palette

To create unity within the home’s hallway, bathroom and bedroom, a color palette of red, white and dark brown was used throughout.

Home Office With Colorful Rug

A modern home office is given an eclectic spin with a grouping of abstract art and a traditional-style rug with a vibrant color pattern.

Small Library With Undershelf Lighting

A charming library was incorporated into this upstairs landing with the use of a built-in bookshelf with undershelf lighting. A skylight above the stairway floods the room in natural light.

Powder Room With Cylindrical Sink

This small powder room boasts plenty of style with a blue mosaic-tile backsplash and modern cylindrical sink.

Hallway for Art Display

Since the homeowners desired a place to display their art, a hallway with alcoves and recessed lighting seemed like the perfect solution.

Dining Room With Black and White Art

A large piece of black and white artwork takes center stage in this modern dining room. A mid-century modern style sideboard and interesting table base also contribute to the room's overall artsy aesthetic.

Modern Dining Room With Glass Table

White walls and an interesting chandelier light up this modern dining room, which features walnut furniture and a large glass dining table.

Living Room With Peach Accents

Peach accents add a warm touch to this modern living room, which features a gorgeous cream sectional, providing plenty of room for family and friends to gather.

Stylish and Functional Furniture

Interesting furniture not only provides a place for guests to sit, but it also contributes to the owners' desire to incorporate artistic pieces throughout the home.

Modern Fireplace and TV

A modern fireplace adds a cozy factor to the space and houses a large TV for casual viewing and movie nights.

Well-lit Artwork

Designer Andreas Charalambous used creative lighting to accentuate the owners’ favorite art pieces in this warm, modern living room.

What was the biggest issue the design addressed?

The space was uninspiring and dark. It needed to be chic and well lit with modern furniture. And it needed to be functionally relevant to accommodate their lifestyle. They needed a large closet area for themselves, a chic master bath, and lots of natural light throughout.

Describe an obstacle in the space.

There was not enough daylight in the house. We raised the height of the patio doors to the deck to allow more light in, painted the walls white to reflect the light, and added several skylights on the upper floor that allow for abundant daylight in the stair hall, the master bathroom and the interior room that was turned into their closet and dressing area.

How did the end result match your original vision?

The client added a couple of items at the end of the constructions documents, which were a laundry closet in the master bathroom and a bookshelf at the landing area on the second level. In the end, the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf became a centerpiece for the entire house, allowing for not just books but also the display of artifacts from their trips around the world.

What lessons did you learn from this project?

A good lesson from this job was working long distance with the client. With the client working out of the USA for most of the project, we had to communicate via email and phone. The end result was as good as any that we have done when we are face to face with the client.

What are the hidden gems that make a big difference?

A hidden gem would be the use of LED lights on the dropped ceilings in the master bedroom and dining area. It gives the rooms a different mood and a more subtle light source/nightlight at night. There are also LEDs behind the sides and top of the mirror in the master bathroom, which created the perfect nightlight.

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Andreas Charalambous

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FORMA Design AIA 1524 U Street, Suite 200 Washington DC 20009 202-265-2625