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Flemish Revival Townhouse Restored

After years of neglect, a historic Flemish Revival townhouse gets restored to its former glory by Barnes Vanze Architects.

This early 20th-century townhouse, the former Libyan embassy, remained closed up and abandoned for 17 years. The roof collapsed in the center of the house allowing weather to destroy finishes, collapse floors, and weaken the brick exterior walls.

The client wanted to restore the house and return it to single-family use. Barnes Vanze undertook a full restoration of the exterior structure and the remaining salvageable finishes in the front rooms of the house. Exterior work on the front included disassembling the brick gables, repairing the underlying structure, and rebuilding the dormers using original materials.

Additional work included cleaning the front facade by exposing the original Flemish bond brick and limestone sills and bands. The firm stabilized and repointed the front and the side facade. Besides the weather damage and neglect, the interior suffered from unfortunate alterations. The architects opened up and returned the spaces to their original design and rescued fine finishes and details that remained on the entry door assembly, lobby, living room, and library.

The restoration brought back a cohesion to the house and fell within the Secretary of the Interior Department’s guidelines and qualified for restoration tax credits. The restoration of the old house together with a small rear addition now provides an updated house suitable for today’s living. The project received a well-deserved John Russell Pope Award 2015 honorable mention from the Institute of Classical Art & Architecture Mid-Atlantic Chapter.


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