This mid-century modern home was designed by renowned architect Charles Goodman. It was one of his earliest and most recognized custom homes.

Finding it neglected and needing work, Cook Architecture dramatically renovated over 80% of the home while carefully preserving Goodman’s original intent. Approximately one third of the renovation was architectural restoration, while the remaining work consisted of a substantial reconfiguration of existing space and a massive addition.

The home is a true example of indoor/outdoor living with new and rebuilt expansive windows and ample outdoor space. A reconfiguration of the existing spaces on the garden level, an added outdoor kitchen, a new pool, and improved circulation pathways add further to its connection to and enjoyment of nature.

The exterior entry was originally hidden below grade. The new design lowered the grade by approximately three feet. The home’s entry now welcomes visitors with a more usable and beautiful courtyard. Additionally, large retaining walls on both the uphill and downhill sides of the home were built.

An addition of approximately 2,000 square feet was added to the home. That’s about a third of the home’s original size! The original, dilapidated one-level garage was demolished. In its place, a new addition with two dramatic cantilevers connects to the home where the old kitchen was originally located. The new design includes an enlarged kitchen with sustainable Poggenpohl cabinetry and Heath tiles. It also includes a bathroom, dining room, an owner’s entry with stairs, a cozy reading nook with views to the entry sequence, a new mud-room hallway, areas for mechanical systems and storage, and, of course, a new garage.

The basement renovation was very extensive. Here, a total gut and redo was necessary. The foundation walls were removed and rebuilt. A new layout for the interior space and new concrete slab with hydronic radiant heat create a warm and comfortable space for the owner to enjoy. In keeping with Cook Architecture’s focus on seamlessly blending the old with the new, the original Goodman fireplace remained.

The home was improved mechanically as well, with new plumbing, electrical, and a new HVAC system. All new lighting, including both the basic and the beautiful such as Louis Poulsen and Arne Jacobsen, was installed.

After one year of planning and over two years of construction, the home is in what current owner Janet Lewis calls, “better than original” condition.

In addition to its restoration and improvements, the Lewis-Sevareid house has a special history. Goodman originally designed it for the pre-eminent economist Emile Despres and his wife, internationally recognized artist, Joanna Despres. But the most well-known owner of the home was undoubtedly CBS newsman Eric Sevareid, who lived there with his wife and twin sons.

Today, Lewis regularly opens her home to her community, hosting donation-based concerts. Under-the-radar musicians from as far away as the U.K. and Australia, as well as Nashville and Los Angeles, give local music lovers the opportunity to enjoy original live music in a historic and awe-inspiring setting.

Architecture: Cook Architecture
Builder: David A. Lewis at Perpetual Home Improvement
Landscaping: Jennifer Horne Landscaping
Photography: John Cole

Front exterior
Rear exterior
Front exterior

See more on The Lewis-Sevareid House – Seminary Hill, Alexandria, Virginia

Homes near Seminary Hill, Alexandria, Virginia