WORKING WITHIN tight limitations can yield spirited design, as this well-executed architectural maneuver proves. The program was simple: Renovate a bath on the top floor of a small row house and make its attic stair and attic space usable. The goal, says architect Todd Ray, was “to interweave all of the spaces to seem like pieces of a whole and extend the vertical spaces and connect them with light.”

Ray opened up the attic space to create an office and inserted a skylight in the cone-shaped ceiling. Instead of replacing everything wholesale, he sought “to contrast the rusticated materials with refined finishes.” Old pine beams and oak floors peacefully coexist with vertical grain roasted bamboo wall panels, frosted glass, stainless steel, and a single sheet of aluminum that was bent to form stairs.

The result is airy spaces that weave the old and the new in a creative way, demonstrating that good things do indeed come in small packages.

Category: Interior architecture; Entrant/Architect/Interior designer: Studio27 Architecture, Washington; Builder: Mechelis Constructions, Kensington, Md.