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This DC Rowhouse Renovation Includes Dramatic Built-In Shelving and a Blue Kitchen

The homeowners pulled it all off in the middle of the pandemic.

This DC Rowhouse Renovation Includes Dramatic Built-In Shelving and a Blue Kitchen
The main bedroom looks out over the living room. Ourston devised the glass-backed shelving to add privacy without sacrificing natural light.

Year built: 1927 (last updated in the ’90s)

Team: Liz Marchant Ourston, interior designer; Paragon Construction, builder; Limonata Creative, styling

Timeline: Nine months (including Covid-related delays)

Mike Heenan and Charlie Kindermann originally planned to downsize. Instead, they fell for a Mount Pleasant rowhouse nearly twice as big as their old home and in need of remodeling. “The backyard is spectacular,” says Heenan, who’s in media. “We could recognize the potential.”

They vetted a half dozen contractors but found Paragon in the simplest of ways: They saw the firm’s sign at another job in their neighborhood. A colleague of Heenan’s introduced them to Liz Mar­chant Ourston, who designed the layout. An architect was minimally involved to handle structural drawings and permits. The couple say assembling their own team, rather than using a design/build firm, saved tens of thousands. “The difference [meant] we were able to add furniture,” says Kindermann, who works for a software company.

The homeowners chose to splurge on beige quartzite countertops and appliances paneled in the same blue as the perimeter cabinets.

Last February, Heenan proposed to Kindermann in the middle of the construction site. They and their new dog moved in the next month. “It’s incredible,” says Heenan. “We pinch ourselves daily.”

The double-height living room came from a prior 1990s renovation. Ourston added the floor-to-ceiling built-in, which showcases an original stained-glass window.
By incorporating a former linen closet into the bathroom layout, Ourston was able to add a wider vanity.
The formal dining room took the place of a living room. “As we were working through the layout, it made a lot of sense because they love to entertain,” says Liz Marchant Ourston. The fireplace mantle was refinished.

This article appears in the October 2021 issue of Washingtonian.

Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.