Palisades Modern Addition

Project Description

In the serene neighborhood of Palisades, Washington, DC, a mother-daughter duo embarked on a unique project. They acquired a property on a spacious corner lot with the vision of creating an in-law suite that would not only provide comfort and privacy to the mother but also blend seamlessly with the existing home and its surroundings.

The Challenge:

The challenge was to design and construct an addition that met the needs of multigenerational living while maintaining the aesthetic and structural integrity of the original house. The project needed to take full advantage of the lot’s orientation and space, providing ample natural light, privacy, and access to outdoor areas. The addition also had to integrate with the main house in a way that felt both connected and distinct.

Project Details

Architect Checa Architects
Photo Credits Kenneth M. Wyner Photography Inc.
Date of Completion 2012
Type Addition

The Transformation:

  • Strategic Design and Orientation: CHECA Architects crafted a sunny living space with a home office niche, capitalizing on the east and south exposure. The design ensured that the mother’s suite would receive plenty of natural light, enhancing the comfort and ambiance of the space.
  • Open Floor Plan with Private Spaces: The suite featured an open floor plan for the main living areas, providing a spacious feel. A cozy bedroom with its own private terrace offered personal space for the mother, linking her directly to the family yard and pool area.
  • Seamless Integration: Access to the mother’s suite was thoughtfully created to connect conveniently to the main home’s foyer. This allowed for easy movement between the spaces while maintaining a sense of privacy. The relocation of the powder room to under the main staircase was a clever adaptation to accommodate this new layout.
  • Enhanced Outdoor Living: Two screened-in porches were added to the front of the existing home, flanking a new entryway. These porches not only improved the facade of the house but also provided a comfortable, shaded outdoor area for the mother and the family to enjoy together.
  • Natural Ventilation and Daylighting: One of the early goals was to ensure the suite and added structures benefited from natural ventilation and daylight. The porches, in particular, were designed to be enjoyed year-round, contributing to the home’s overall sustainability and livability.


The completion of the in-law suite in Palisades represents a triumph in design and functionality. It stands as a testament to how thoughtful architecture can cater to the evolving needs of a family, providing them with a versatile living space that respects both privacy and togetherness. The project successfully balanced the desire for a connected family environment with the need for independent living quarters.

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