As an Architect who remodels older homes, I constantly adjust my design approach; to serve the differing circumstances created by the wide range of styles found in the Washington DC area. Here are two very different architectural solutions for dining room storage and display, in two very different homes – both in Bethesda, MD.

The first home received a formal, classically-inspired treatment, with storage cabinets and display shelves recessed into the wall. Notice that the third bay of the built-in is actually the door to the kitchen! The door panels are recessed into the vertical dividers of the cabinetry, creating a “paneled portal” effect. Additional storage and serving surface are provided by a lovely breakfront.

The second home is a mid-century rambler, in which we replaced a single window with a group of 4 windows and a pair of skylights, framed by built-ins. This is how we resolved the conflicting need for more light with the need to furnish along that same wall. Notice the floating shelf separating the upper and lower windows; it provides serving and display surfaces, but it also allows us to treat the windows in entirely different ways. The upper windows are trimmed-out and subdivided into 4 panes, reinforcing the traditional notion of what a window should be, while the lower windows seem to disappear into the adjacent woodwork and serve as a place to display sculpture. The lighted display cases in the surrounding built-ins serve to anchor the entire composition.

Every home and every client are different. So my simple formula for pleasing architectural designs is this: Unique Homes + Unique Clients = Unique Solutions.