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A Modern Renovation in Northern Virginia

March 25th, 2021

By Francisca Alonso

2 min read

Modern Custom Home in Great Falls Virginia Northern Virginia by AV Architects and Builders

At AV Architects + Builders, our vision for building homes that make you feel like you are on vacation year-round literally start from the ground up by selecting lots, situating the planned structure, and designing homes that are custom in every respect. Sometimes, our clients come across a property that meets their needs for location – geographical as well as the existing structure on the property. When that happens, if the structure has good bones, we will do a rebuild that completely transforms the home to meet the clients’ vision of a forever home. We recently had the opportunity to do this for some clients.

Location, location, location

Our clients had been considering a custom home and conferring with us about the possibilities when they came across a property in Great Falls, Virginia, that had tons of potential. A 5-acre lot, located on a cul-de-sac in a private community, the existing home was located on the top of a hill overlooking protected land. The orientation of the home was well suited to capture good sunlight, and the property had the “horse country” feel of the community. With so many plusses, the clients wanted to buy.

Nothing but good bones

A very large structure, the home was brick –solid, sound, and the basic exterior appealed to the clients. The interior had high ceilings – 12 feet on the ground floor and 9 on the upper level. That’s where the pros ended. Built in the 70s, the home had numerous changes and additions, many of which were DIY by the prior owner, poorly done, piecemeal and often not to code. The hodgepodge of updates needed to be replaced with a single vision – a master plan to meet the clients’ desire to age in place. AV Architects + Builders conceived of a plan that gutted the house, removing everything from drywall to sub-floors and all the electrical, plumbing and mechanical. Walls, windows and doors were put on the chopping block, and we proposed an utterly transformed layout and concept, including, unique, high-end customizations. In the process, we planned to reinforce the structure and bring the entire home to code.

Customized for the Client

All of our clients have their own needs and desires for a perfect home, and these clients were no different. Designing a home in which to age in place, we transformed the first floor in a number of ways to be useable and accessible for the long term. This included getting rid of dropped and raised floors that inserted steps throughout the level, installing a master suite, and opening the common areas into a great room adjacent to a kitchen designed for use and congregation. We added a study and a game room with room for a pool table. To accommodate the clients’ dogs, we installed tile throughout the first floor, which involved shoring up the subfloor to support the additional weight.

We also took on the second floor, which had been a tightly packed with twelve separate rooms. We removed all the walls and started over, installing four bedroom suites with bath and walk-in closet as well as a gym and a sauna. The end result was a far more spacious, comfortable space for the clients’ family.

Light, Space and Simplicity

At AV Architects + Builders, we believe in clean, simple lines, integration with the outdoors and maximizing light and space. Removing walls was the start. We also replaced all the windows, enlarging them and adding headers. For the remaining walls, we took out all the busy moldings as well as the doors, enlarging them and sometimes leaving a simple wall opening to create greater flow. To capture our work, we partnered with photographer Tina Krohn, who took stunning images of our work. According to Tina, the minimalism and contrasting angles were a dream to shoot, and she loved textures, contrasts and details that highlighted the openness and light. Tina wasn’t the only one who loved the outcome. Our client summed it up by telling us, “Pinch me, I can’t believe this is my house.”

Do you want a home that makes you feel like you are on vacation year round, whether it’s built from the ground up, or leveraging the existing structure in a complete rebuild, contact us today to talk about the design and build of your forever home.


9903 Georgetown Pike Suite 201
Great Falls, VA 22066
(703) 865-5065