Good bones in a Modernist enclave
Alistair McLean
Category: Real Estate

Alistair: Posted on Sunday, 13 November 2011 12:19 AM



When an architect talks about a house with “good bones” then this home is an example of what they are talking about.  Unfortunately Secret Design Studio does not have any “before” photos.  It is interesting to note that while the kitchen and bathroom are clearly contemporary they have been designed with such restraint that they do not detract from the presentation of the home.

These beautiful photos were part of Washington DC’s king of mid century modern real estate, Michael Shapiro’s ( ) campaign to sell this property.  Michael shares Secret Design Studio’s passion for mid century modern houses, and has a fascinating website,  Secret Design Studio wishes that there was a real estate agent like Michael Shapiro in Melbourne who was prepared to champion the importance of mid century modern architecture, instead of promoting these style of houses as development sites.

Secret Design Studio has always associated mid century modern architecture with places like Palm Springs and LA, and traditional colonial revival and Georgian styles with Washington DC, so it is interesting to see through Modern Capital DC that our preconceptions of houses in Washington are wrong.



One of the characteristics of many mid-century modern homes is the close relationship the internal rooms have with the garden and outdoor areas with the use of expansive glazing.  With this home a lot of the appeal is in the beautiful and established garden which would have taken decades to mature and is not easy to achieve with a newly built home.















This home was sold in July and Michael Shapiro of Modern Capital DC described it like this:

“This is a one-of-a-kind expanded and updated Charles Goodman mid-century modern home in the award-winning community of Hollin Hills. The original 1953 Unit 5B home was expanded twice by the previous owners (1966 and 1973). The current (and only second) owners have transformed the nearly 3,000 square foot home into a modern oasis: incorporating a blue stone patio with pool on the lush and private .41 acre lot and renovating the interior with high-end modern appliances and other finishes.

The 4-bedroom/3 bathroom home includes a master suite with extensive closets with Elfa shelving. The master bath was renovated with a TOTO toilet and JADO fixtures and German tile floors with radiant heating. The master suite features a wall of glass with direct access to the serene patio and pool area. In addition to the master suite, the upper level features three additional bedrooms and one bathroom, which has soaring ceilings and similar top of the line finishes, including an Arne Jacobsen-designed VOLA faucet.

A bottom level room with a full bathroom has a separate entrance and can serve as an excellent nanny/in-law suite. The home’s expansive public spaces include an open dining-living room, family room with fireplace and library/sitting area with walls of insulated glass, which have been updated throughout the entire house. The kitchen features ultra-modern cabinets with Silestone countertop and Bosch oven and ceramic cooktop, ASKO dishwasher and Jenn-Air refrigerator/freezer.

The flat-roof home features a rare carport in the neighborhood and long driveway for plenty of guests, extensive storage and washer/dryer on the main living level. Hollin Hills, comprised of 450 modernist homes with 30 acres of parkland and a pool and tennis club, is just 5 miles south of Old Town Alexandria, less than 10 to National Airport and 13 to Capitol Hill. The Fairfax County neighborhood has been recognized as one of the groundbreaking modernist suburban communities to be developed post-World War II.”

Other homes in the neighborhood follow similar mid-century modern lines: