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November Renovations

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Renovating a historic home is a delicate business. The stately brick Italianate-style house that Amy and Alden Philbrick bought in 1989 had scarcely been touched since it was built a century ago.

The Philbricks appreciated the structure’s history but knew it would have to grow with their three kids. The kitchen had little counter space for Amy, a gourmet cook. And though the house—perched on a hill overlooking Old Town Alexandria—was beautifully designed for cooling with a wraparound porch, central air was on the wish list.

When the time to renovate came, the Philbricks hired GTM Architects of Bethesda and Spectrum Contractors in Gaithersburg on the recommendation of friends who had previously worked with both firms. “We’ve never heard anybody rave about both the architect and the builder after the project was done,” says Alden.

The three-story addition that architect George Myers designed and builder Bob Klecker executed looks simply like a new wing, with “enclosed porches” adding space on the first floor for a mudroom, a large kitchen and walk-in pantry, and a half bath. A new staircase from the kitchen leads to the second floor, which now has space for a new laundry room and full bathroom. A new bedroom and bathroom complete the third floor.

Moldings and wood trim for the addition were custom-milled to match the original woodwork, and new floors of reclaimed heart pine match the restored floors of the original house. “No one can tell where the old house ends and the addition begins,” says Amy.

“The new parts make the old parts feel grander,” Alden says. “It was a great house before, but I feel that it’s finally reached its heyday.”

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