This is how a local Vienna couple renovated their home for aging in place

Instead of a retirement community, a NoVA couple connected with architect Sarah Armstrong to create an accessible home where they could age in place.

Photo by Robert Merhaut

The client: A retired couple who wanted to downsize to a home that would work for them as they age.

The project: Armstrong worked with the couple—who had been living in a large, custom home in McLean—to find a house they could expand and renovate to fit their lifestyle. She spent a year transforming the Vienna home into a modern Craftsman farmhouse (inspired by everyone’s favorite HGTV show, Fixer Upper), featuring subtle design elements that allow for aging in place.

The requirements: Must-haves included plenty of space to entertain their adult children and grandchildren; indoor-outdoor living space with a screen porch; a first-floor master bedroom; a walk-in shower; and widened hallways to accommodate aging in place.

Before (Photo by Robert Merhaut)

Highlights: “They were concerned about aging in place,” says Armstrong. But “they also wanted a high level of design that didn’t look like an old couple lives there.” An open floor plan included a kitchen and great room featuring 14-foot cathedral ceilings and a stone fireplace that extends to the ceiling.

Photo by Robert Merhaut


Photo by Robert Merhaut

Challenges: Raising the roof. To accommodate the great room, Armstrong raised the entire pitch of the roof at the existing house—and then added a front gable, front porch and a fresh coat of paint to complete the requested modern farmhouse vibe.

Photo by Robert Merhaut


Photo by Robert Merhaut

The final reveal: Armstrong, along with general contractor Denny + Gardner, doubled the footprint of the house, taking it from 1,680 square feet to 3,230 square feet (including a 400-square-foot screen porch), adding or reimagining the kitchen, great room, master bedroom and screened porch. “The addition is where they’re going to be 90 percent of the time.”

Photo courtesy of Sarah Armstrong

Designer Bio
Top Architect Sarah Armstrong, AIA, founder/owner Studio 360
Sarah Armstrong has been an architect for 22 years, working for numerous high-end architectural firms in the DC region. She started her own firm, Studio 360, seven years ago, where she provides comprehensive, custom residential design services to her clients.
// 703-350-5562; info@studio360architect.com

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