Once overlooked and overgrown, this 1962 home now features sunlit rooms and thoughtful outdoor spaces.
Scott Satin and Marilyn Kitzes were frustrated: While they dreamed of renovating a midcentury-modern house, their beloved neighborhood in Washington, DC—which they were loath to abandon—was dominated by colonial and Arts-and-Crafts-style homes.
Talking about the quandary with a friend one day, Marilyn learned about a potential hidden gem. “She asked me if I had seen the house across the alley,” Marilyn, a freelance copywriter, recalls. “I had no idea what she was talking about.”
So, they took a walk to view the property. “She showed me this incredibly overgrown house that was vacant,” she says. “And I just had this real feeling of ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this house is standing here.’”
The house was “a little strange looking” and not on the market, so Marilyn knocked on a few neighbors’ doors to find out more about the property. It was part of an estate, and the owner had died four years prior.
“It was a simple structure,” says Scott, a trained but non-practicing architect (he now works as the president of a digital health research company). “It had a single gable roof and one load-bearing wall down the middle of the house. It was essentially a square box. It was obvious just by looking at it that we could blow it wide open and create the kinds of spaces we were hoping for.”
They bought the home from the estate’s executor in 2015, and their first call was to architect David Thompson of the Los Angeles–based studio Assembledge+. Scott had gone to architecture school with him, and the two had previously worked together when Scott was practicing.
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