Anice Hoachlander

Bonstra | Haresign Architects and Hedden Residential Property Trust partnered to restore a poorly maintained and awkwardly renovated apartment building in Washington, D.C.’s historic Georgetown neighborhood. The resulting four-story property, The Kanawha, provides 14 one-, two-, and three-bedroom units in the walkable, urban area close to jobs, restaurants, and retail.

As the first step of improving the street-facing façade, the brick building was stripped of two steel fire escapes from the 1950s in favor of sprinkler systems. A skylight central stair was transformed into a focal point of the building. By preserving and maintaining the long-lasting materials used on the original structure, the project preserves embedded energy, reducing landfill contribution and conserving energy.

The decorative herringbone brick pattern set within the masonry arches were restored, as well as a wall composed of header and stretcher brick faces. The original windows were refurbished and improved with weather-stripping techniques, and the original entry lobby and interior main stair were refurbished with new flooring, treads, and lighting.

Anice Hoachlander

The developer and architect added a rear black steel-framed cedar exterior addition to enlarge living spaces while preserving the project’s existing wrought-iron balconies.

The addition created a private outdoor space overlooking the historic former home of Jackie Kennedy.

Additional floor area made one-bedroom units possible where studios had previously existed. One three-bedroom unit and one two-bedroom unit were added to the ground-floor level after the existing basement was excavated. Excavating the ground floor allowed for raised ceiling heights and access to fresh air and light for the building’s garden-level units. Basement units feature unique kitchen picture windows looking out onto terraces filled with remnants of granite boulders discovered during the renovation.

Units on the north side of the building have a view of a tree-lined street with nearby parks, including Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway, Sarah Rittenhouse Armillary Sphere, and Montrose Park. Public transportation, commercial corridors on Wisconsin Avenue and M Street, and the Georgetown Waterfront are all walking distance from The Kanawha.

The newly installed split HVAC systems, which replaced radiators and outdated AC units, provide up to 20% outside air to each unit while exhausting bathroom and kitchen air directly to the exterior through façade louvers. All interior materials used in the project are low-VOC, locally sourced, and made with recycled products.