A HOUSE NEED NOT EXUDE A contemporary aesthetic to be modern. Architect Charles Moore knows this all too well. As principal of his own Alexandria, Va., firm, Moore has renovated many down-at-the-heels houses in the Northern Virginia area and brought them into the 21st century. This time, it was his family's two-bedroom bungalow receiving the treatment.

Moore approached this project from a position of strength. His 1,100-square-foot, 1922 cottage was located in a neighborhood where he had already renovated 10 houses within a three-block radius, so he knew the territory. He also was steadfast in his intended goals: “We wanted to keep the front porch and the front rooms,” he says. “We wanted [the house] to look the same, just bigger.”

BD051001148h1.jpgClick for larger image.
BD051001148h1.jpgClick for larger image.
BD051001148h1.jpgClick for larger image.
BD051001148h1.jpgClick for larger image.

To that end, Moore touched every inch of the house. Tripling the original size, he largely left the original floor spaces intact, but extended the rear of the house, bumped out the right side with an expanded yet streamlined kitchen, and added a second level with four bedrooms and two full baths. “We used [painted] wood cedar siding, added new windows, and replaced the mechanical system,” Moore explains.

The interiors now feel bright and airy, thanks to 65 windows and a simple palette of light-colored millwork and cheerful paint colors. “It really is a modern house in terms of its organization, simple forms, and abundance of natural light,” Moore says. Though the house is much bigger than its former self, it is pretty much in line with the other larger historic homes in the neighborhood. “We used to have the smallest house on the block,” Moore jokes. Now it's just one of the nicest.

Category: Whole-house makeover; Entrant/Architect: Moore Architects, Alexandria, Va.; Builder: GN Contracting, Arlington, Va.; Interior designer: Michael Roberson Interior Design, Arlington

HIDE AWAY The attic is frequently a dead space that goes ignored, but architect Charles Moore found a clever use for it in his family's renovated bungalow. Instead of a typical storage area, Moore turned the attic into a three-sided pop-up room that straddles the roof ridge and serves as a private studio. It is accessed via open metal stairs in the second-floor main hall, which helps to filter light down throughout the house. “It's a nice way to capture a third-floor space, and it brings light into the main stairwell,” Moore says. Though it has windows on three sides, the structure cannot be seen from the curb and is only slightly visible from the rear of the house, creating a private retreat.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Washington, DC.