As so often happens with remodels, this project started as a simple request for bookshelves and then got bigger. But not bigger than it needed to be—thanks to an ingenious “kit of parts,” designed by McInturff Architects, which completely transformed the living spaces inside this classic bungalow with nary a structural change, other than moving a couple of windows.

The custom-designed system uses steel, aluminum, hardwood, and glass (clear, sandblasted, and louvered) to create built-ins that are functional without cannibalizing wall space and blocking natural light. Configurations of that mix include bookshelves, CD storage, a desk, a front entry bench, a stair railing, and a credenza—not to mention a solution to the age-old problem of competing focal points in the living room. Suspended above the floor, a flat screen TV and vent-free gas fireplace float, side-by-side, behind a sleek aluminum frame.

“We wanted a fairly rich material palette that would let the basic shell of the room recede into the background,” explains principal Mark McInturff, “but the parts were also chosen based on structural strength or lightness. Rather than a wholesale renovation of the space, this was much more surgical.”

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