Before and After: Inside a 1925 Craftsman Remodel


Sometimes, the best way of honoring an old house is to simply highlight its good bones. This principle was the driving force behind the renovation of this 1925 house. The original, valuable features were kept intact. Scott Moren, who purchased the house in Washington, D.C., says that it felt like an old soul house with lots potential.

After living in the house for eighteen months, Scott hired an architect to prepare the initial plans and permit, and Evelyn Pierce Smith was brought on board as the designer. Her overall approach was to preserve the period charm and chestnut woodenwork, but brighten it up with new windows and rework any rear additions. This will allow the house to be more efficient. Scott’s dream kitchen was expanded to accommodate the high-quality appliances he wanted and a bright breakfast area.

Grayson and his yellow Labrador, Grayson, love to hang out on their screened porch. The living room is the best place to host company.

Scott says that the fireplace and woodwork were what attracted him to the house. It’s great to invite friends over and have a good time around the fire. It’s now a place where people can gather.

  • The taller, more spacious doorway now has French doors and allows light to flow into the dining area. Two chandeliers are now hanging from the living room. To highlight the chestnut casings, all new windows have been painted black.
  • The powder room’s paneled walls were inspired by originals from other countries and cover an area that was once occupied with a radiator and a window. Vintage cred is added by a salvaged sink and a third bronze chandelier that was found in parts in the basement.
  • Warm-white walls and simple furnishings set off the original oak floors and chestnut woodwork. Original features include the stair balustrade (above) and chestnut paneling. The landing’s paneled door is now in place. It had been leading down several steps to the kitchen.
  • In the renovated family room, the breakfast nook features a window bay that used to house the fireplace. The vaulted ceiling was also lowered to make it more in line with the kitchen’s. The decorative accent is wire-brushed, reclaimed oak beams.
  • The kitchen’s old staircase entry was replaced by the range wall. Light and bright colors are achieved by white cabinets and soft-gray tilework.

Floor Plans

The front door was moved, the radiators were replaced with forced-air heat and the kitchen was made larger. Rebuilding the rear additions also updated the layout.

  1. To enlarge the living area, moved the front door towards the stairs; moved two windows.
  2. To make the range wall usable, we removed steps and a doorway that led into the kitchen.
  3. Two small closets were swapped for a shallow pantry and side-by-side coat closets.
  4. To annex the former family area, we removed the sink wall and created a breakfast nook with a new bay window.
  5. The powder room was closed up and the toilet moved.
  6. The doorway from the sunroom to the dining room was made wider at 8 feet. French doors were added to allow more natural light in.
  7. Rebuilt the screened porch to be used as a sunroom. Cantilevering the back wall above the foundation gained 2 feet. Added patio doors that lead to new back stairs.