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Oct 3, 2019

My House: An Architect Renovates a 1950s Home With Glass, Steel, and Exposed Elements

Architect Janet Bloomberg, AIA, has developed a reputation for modern architecture that explores a wide variety of materials and products. Her recently renovated home in suburban Washington is no exception.

Bloomberg and her business partner Richard Loosle-Ortega run KUBE Architecture, a modern architecture studio that is known for light-filled and colorful modern homes, renovated row houses, and restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area.

Kube “emphasizes the primary components of architectural space: light, color, texture, and materiality,” the firm writes on its site. “Working with new materials and methods of construction, research is an on-going process.”

So when Bloomberg and her husband bought a 1950s mid-century modern house designed by local modernist hero Charles Goodman, she knew at some point she would eventually alter and update the home to the way her family lives.

“The existing Goodman structure was renovated five years ago, with new kitchen, bathroom, finishes, windows, mechanical, and electrical,” the architect says. “The floor plan was preserved, kitchen opened up to living space, and bedrooms/bathrooms renovated. The rear addition, recently completed and featured in this presentation, includes a new den, office, and kids’ hangout space, with two new full bathrooms and a laundry room.”

Bloomberg says the addition utilizes the same basic tenets of Goodman’s architecture—including large expanses of glass, exposed structural elements, and an indoor-outdoor relationship—but she also explored other materials, such as concrete, cement board, standing seam metal, cement panels, and modern European lighting.

The addition is comprised of two shed-roofed volumes that flank a central walkway. This walkway, connecting the new to the old, serves as a gallery for art display on the lower level, and widens out to a seating area on the upper level. A “landscape wall” defines this space from the outside, as a contrast to the glass-paneled wall of the existing living room.

Each room in the addition has a wall of full-height glass on the end, and both ends of the central walkway are glass, so the landscape serves as the main focal point. “Sliding doors that pocket into the walls join the central walkway to the surrounding spaces,” the firm writes. “A green roof on the connecting walkway serves as a focal point from the new addition, while collecting water runoff from the existing house roof.”

Metal roofing wraps down the side walls of the new structure, draining water to linear gravel troughs along the perimeter—so no downspouts or gutters are needed.

Architecture: KUBE Architecture 

Contractor: Think Make Build 

Millwork: Mersoa Woodwork

Steel: Metal Specialties


Nigel Maynard

Nigel F. Maynard is the Editor of PRODUCTS. 

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