“Serial renovators,” the label Marcia Silcox puts on her and her husband, Clark, couldn’t be more precise. The couple has lived in their Capitol Hill row house in Washington, D.C., for 3 decades and during this time have updated several times: a basement reno from the late ’80s, a kitchen remodel at the mid-’90s and a living room makeover in 2007 that comprised their assortment of Japanese art (18th- and 19th-century prints) and antique Japanese chests.
Most recently, when the couple’s two kids moved out they completed perhaps their most crowning achievement: a vibrant and contemporary rooftop deck addition over their garage, with a trendy elevated walkway that connects to an overhauled kitchen inclusion. The latter inclusion was previously a DIY breakfast room which was withdrawing in the support wall and leaking water.
in a Glance
Who lives here: Marcia Silcox, a public health consultant, and her husband, Clark, a lawyer
Location: Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C.
Size: 2,200 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, house office
That is intriguing: In this area lots of the row homes have basement apartments, as the Silcox house did before they incorporated it into a single-family house.
The clean lines and the willingness of the couple’s rear addition contrast the standard facades seen up and down the street.
Living is narrow in a row house. “We have 18 feet across in the house,” says Marcia. So that the couple strives to maintain the chambers feeling open and airy, with a few key furniture pieces and a feeling of flow from 1 room to another.
Designer Barbara Franceski worked with Marcia and Clark to create their vision of blank lines with an Asian influence. The soft furniture contrasts to the line and color of the prints and the decorative accents of the tansu.
The two armchairs, Madison Occasional Chairs from Donghia (no longer in production) are upholstered in Priamo woven-texture fabric (color: Ice Blue) by Brunschwig & Fils. Each chair is entirely upholstered, including the legs.
Large bay windows bring light to the living room, where a shopkeeper’s tansu in the late 19th century with paper on glass sliding panels sits beneath modern Japanese calligraphy. their tansu bits were found by the couple .
Sofa: Baker couch reupholstered in Wicker Basket (color: 04) by Fabricut; pendants: Shiitake, designed by Douglas Varey to get Resolute
Inspirational books on Japanese art are throughout the house. When Marcia was working with Franceski to incorporate their collection with fresh, simple lines, she nicknamed their style “federal Zen.”
Marcia’s interest in Western art began with a school history course if she was 19. Clark, meanwhile, climbed up on the West Coast with powerful Asian design influences. Together they found “a patient dealer,” as they put it, to nurture their interest. “We browsed for hours at a Georgetown store, starting our collection,” says Marcia.
Naples ottomans by Mark Newman offer flexibility when the couple entertains guests.
Throughout the mid-1980s throughout the mid-1990s, artist Masami Teraoka worked on modern interpretations of standard ukiyo-e print content and technique. Two of his large scale wood and screen prints from his “Hawaii Snorkel Series” flank the fireplace. The Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco represents the performer.
To provide more flexibility into the area and create privacy in the dining room area, the couple installed shoji screens in 1993.
Shoji screens: installed by Oriental Living, Bethesda, Maryland; dining table, chairs: Henredon (circa 1990s); light fixtures: Chapeau 29, Resolute Lighting
Architect Richard Loosle suggested a sensible solution to get a row of prints which used to hang unevenly on the exposed brick wall: a little floating shelf. The framed artwork bits are Japanese woodblock prints by Hiroshige in the “Hundred Famous Views of Edo.”
White bowls: Verona, CB2
As windows are scare on row homes — located on just the front and back facades — the couple added larger windows in the breakfast area to make much-needed light.
Table (Pratt), chairs: Room & Board
Marcia’s favorite room in the house is the kitchen. “We both love to cook and bake and entertain,” she says. “Next are the dining area, where publication bands, men’s gourmet classes, fiber-art groups and buddies frequently collect.”
Throughout the renovation the contractors had to block off the whole area past the brick wall to keep the elements out while completing their job. When the job was finished, they eliminated the temporary wall.
New maple floors in the inclusion contrasts with the present walnut cabinets. Complementary dark ash stained cabinets were added.
Millwork: Potomac Millwork
Marcia requested for the turquoise Le Creuset pot on the stove for her birthday, because she knew it would go well with the blue accent wall.
Blue color: Open Seas, Sherwin Williams
A set of shunga (erotic) prints in the early 19th century hang over the couple’s bed.
Marcia admits she and Clark have not spent as much effort on the sleeping areas, because they have focused most of their design efforts on the lower level. However, Marcia’s love of organic fibers and fabrics comes through at the yarns draped on the chair and a few pure hemp linen, from Hemptraders, on the mattress.
Loosle utilized a piece of steel for a frame to specify the new rear facade. The plan element also enables Marcia to hang a canopy to offer shade on the balcony away from her house office.
Painting the frame glowing blue described the component as separate from the steel railings. The color lets the steel blend with the skies on clear days. For those railings and stairs, Marcia specifically requested a “Frank Lloyd Wright red,” she says.
Prior to the renovation, if the couple wanted to carry food in the kitchen to their old wooden roof deck, they would need to walk stairs, across the courtyard and up a little spiral staircase. With the newest elevated walkway, their deck is significantly more user friendly.
The new roof deck sits over the garage. The couple utilized premium and durable materials on this renovation, such as ipe wood decking and fencing.
Marcia requested an irrigation system be installed to simplify watering plants. Additionally to help simplify the watering, the planters have been created with false-bottom inserts, so that they require less soil than it appears from the outside.
Lighting from Artemide and Flos (the blue lights are Flos) improve the ambiance of the deck, as do different icy blue acrylic and resin panels.
Empty nesters Marcia and Clark Silcox enjoy the tranquility of their new outdoor haven from the sound of town street. With the smart bridge design, the area is currently an extension of their kitchen.
The long-time homeowners are here in order to stay, appreciating both the neighborhood and convenience of their Capitol Hill area. “We know someone on virtually every block and understand all the shopkeepers. We seldom want our automobiles, taking Metro, biking and walking,” Marcia says.
Aside from the nearby restaurants and civic associations, Marcia can also be pleased to live close to what she calls “the crown jewel of town,” that the Eastern Market, with its farmer’s market, flea market and frequent live music.
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