A leafy and sought-after neighborhood in Northwest Washington, D.C. hides a luxurious gem of a home with a net-zero energy footprint. The local architecture office of Robert M. Gurney designed the contemporary residence, named the Brandywine House, with light-filled interiors and a natural palette that includes high-end materials like zebra wood, granite, and Santos mahogany. Despite its large size, the carefully constructed home is respectful of the scale of its neighboring homes and is incredibly energy efficient.
Located just a stone’s throw away from the Smithsonian National Zoo and the high-end shops of Connecticut Avenue, the three-story Brandywine House enjoys the conveniences and benefits of city living, while still preserving privacy and a tranquil environment. The architects retained the majority of mature trees on site and installed a lush planting plan that separates the home from the street. The building’s boxy exterior is composed of traditional and natural materials, like stone, wood, and stucco, to help the building recede into its green surroundings. Carefully placed windows on the street-facing facade ensure privacy.
While the street-facing facade is mostly closed off, floor-to-ceiling glazing wraps around the other sides of the home to bring in ample amounts of natural light and views of the wooded landscape beyond. Arranged in an “L” shape, the house wraps around outdoor living spaces, a swimming pool, and the large, south-facing rear yard. The light-filled interior is modern and cozy, featuring a diverse palette of different timbers—all forest-certified or reconstituted—and stones like limestone and granites, that complement the white-painted walls. To achieve net-zero energy over a calendar year, the daylit house is equipped with computer-programmed shading devices to mitigate solar gain, a geothermal HVAC system with hydronic heating, solar hot water tubes, and photovoltaic panels.
Images © Anice Hoachlander