An attic apartment, up all those steps, might seem a poor choice for an elderly resident. But with the addition of a clever elevator, Jonas Carnemark, owner of Carnemark Design & Build in Bethesda, created what his clients dubbed the “Peninsula Suite” in their 1920s Tudor in Forest Hills.
“The homeowners asked me if they could do something with their attic, but the steep staircase was an issue,” says Carnemark. The solution: a three-foot-diameter pneumatic elevator installed in a corner by the foyer, with a stop on the second-floor landing and another in the attic suite. “The pneumatic system works just like a bank-deposit tube, riding on a cushion of air,” Carnemark says. Though the style isn’t big enough for a wheelchair, it can fit up to two people at a time.
The configuration works well for the family, not only because the elevator will come in handy if the in-laws develop mobility issues down the road but also because it gives them a direct route from the front door up to their suite. In other words, it allows them to avoid intruding on the rest of the house.
Their suite includes a living area with a coffee bar, a bedroom, and a spa-like bathroom whose shower doesn’t have a threshold—“for any future accessibility needs,” explains Carnemark.
This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Washingtonian.