Chevy Chase Charmer

A homeowner renovates a historic home, adding intimate yet functional spaces.

living room

When Cara Medeiros, her husband and two children moved into a 1907 Foursquare-style home in Chevy Chase, Washington, DC, she chose not to rush into a renovation, despite the fact that the house had a small kitchen and no family room. “I wanted us to live there for a while to see what our needs would be,” Cara says. “A lot of Chevy Chase homeowners add a great room (combined den/kitchen) in the back, like a big box. But I wanted to experience the interesting architecture and not do anything right away.”

dining room

The home’s renovation happened slowly, in thoughtfully planned stages. Initially, Cara had to figure out how to create an ideal kitchen for the historic house and her growing family. (The old kitchen was only 12-by-12 feet.) “We definitely needed a bigger kitchen with an eat-in area,” she says. “I wanted a six-burner stovetop, a Sub Zero fridge and an island, but I also wanted to be true to the style of the house.”

Before work could begin, however, Cara had to get her expansion plans approved by the Historic Preservation Office in Montgomery County. She eventually ended up with a beautiful kitchen with an eating area and a built-in butler’s pantry, all accessible from the new family room. Also added were the sunroom, dining room, foyer and rooms upstairs.

master bedroom

Above the kitchen and family room, Cara configured a master bedroom suite. As the final part of the renovation, the sunroom was fully enclosed in order to create a mudroom with extra seating and a much-needed coat closet.

bed tea

“I love the idea of destinations,” Cara says regarding how and why she created several smaller-scale practical rooms. “They fit the house better. I also like that from the kitchen I can see everywhere, yet each space has a sense of destination and a degree of privacy.”

All the rooms are tied together by Cara’s sense of design; she seamlessly blends the old and the new. “I love old and vintage things that work with the historic age of the house, but I try to incorporate contemporary things too, what I call modern classics,” Cara says. “I love our home. It’s simple, clean and elegant, with a great flow to it.”

bath tub

Written and styled by Charlotte Safavi
Photography by Robert Radifera


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