Music Gallery

Location: Alexandria, VA

When an artist/musician and former gallery owner decided to renovate and expand their 1940s brick bungalow they turned to Kohlmark Group for a masterful makeover.
The owners wanted a gallery space to showcase their art and serve as a music hall to play their grand piano and host receptions. They also wanted a new kitchen, home studio and a comprehensive makeover.

The addition and renovation presented many design challenges. Despite the lovely wooded lot and desirable neighborhood, the existing house was cramped, with low ceilings, an outdated kitchen and a dirt crawlspace prone to flooding whenever there was a heavy rain. The small size and traditional interior did not reflect the owners passion for art and music and the existing layout could not accommodate their art collection or provide suitable studio space.

We needed to create considerable wall space with tall ceilings and introduce abundant natural light to meet the owner’s gallery needs. To provide studio space, we took advantage of the existing grade and created a walkout basement. However, the fact that the current house was on a dirt crawlspace presented a challenge in creating a basement next to a crawlspace.

As the design took shape, the corners became the ideal locations for windows. This allowed for great views and natural light, while preserving valuable wall space for artwork. High ceilings with a very low-pitched roof created a balanced rear elevation that does not overwhelm the simple materials and forms of the existing structure.
The existing foundation was underpinned, and a new waterproof foundation wall was poured next to the old crumbling wall. By creating a new walkout basement studio space, we were able to place a new mechanical system to serve the entire house. This creative solution resolved several of the major water problems in the crawlspace and provided a connection to the rear yard.

The design of the new addition allows for a new rear hall that creates a perfect circular traffic flow during parties. The new modern kitchen is bright and open and complements the artistic flair of the rest of the house. Special attention to recessed lighting in the gallery space highlights the artwork and glass railings help distribute light throughout the modern space.