Silver Spring Remodel

Project Description

Kristen and Fergus Donaldson’s home in a quiet, tight-knit neighborhood of Silver Spring was cherished for its location and potential. While they loved the area’s convenience and the natural light in parts of their home, they were challenged by poorly insulated windows and dark, damp spaces that didn’t meet their needs or aesthetic desires. In 2005, they embarked on a journey to transform their living space into a brighter, more energy-efficient, and welcoming home.

The Challenge:

The primary challenge was to strike the perfect balance between too little and too much natural light, ensuring the home was comfortable, warm, and inviting without being overwhelmingly bright or thermally inefficient. The Donaldsons aimed to enhance the livability and sustainability of their home while retaining its character and connection to the outdoors.

This project was featured in Bethesda Magazine.

Project Details

Architect Treacy & Eagleburger
Date of Completion 2008
Skills Kitchen, Remodel

The Transformation:

  • Window Replacement for Insulation and Light: Initially, the couple replaced the single-pane casement windows, which were so poorly insulated that ice formed on the inside. The new double-glazed windows significantly improved thermal efficiency and comfort while allowing more natural light to enter.
  • Architectural Vision: Phillip Eagleburger and David Fenchel of Treacy & Eagleburger Architects were consulted to reimagine the home. They recognized the need to overcome the existing structure’s limitations by incorporating more windows and open spaces to take advantage of natural light.
  • Creating a Front Porch Community: Inspired by Kristen’s childhood in Nova Scotia, a new front porch was added, not just for aesthetic appeal but to foster a sense of community and neighborliness.
  • Redefining Living Spaces: The kitchen, previously dark with little natural light, was moved to the side of the house. The new design included three small skylights, white cabinets, and reflective Caesarstone and bamboo countertops to maximize the light. What once was a damp family room and a prefabricated greenhouse was transformed into a bright, inviting space.
  • Expanding and Opening Up: The renovation expanded the house on one side, aligning it with the new porch’s front. This expansion allowed for a fluid combination of dining room, kitchen, family room, and mudroom, enhancing the sense of space and light.
  • Integration with the Outdoors: Five backdoors, nearly all glass, were added to lead onto the terrace, further blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. Large, new casement windows complemented this openness, adding to the home’s airy and light-filled ambiance.
  • Thoughtful Interiors: The mudroom features an original exterior brick wall on one side and curved bamboo on the other, housing closets and a pantry. These elements provided not only functionality but also a unique aesthetic that echoed the home’s blend of modernity and tradition.


By 2009, the Donaldsons’ renovation was complete, revealing a home transformed by light and thoughtful design. The house now boasted a perfect balance of illumination and warmth, with energy-efficient features and spaces that flowed seamlessly together. The renovation not only brought the house out of the shadows but also created a versatile, vibrant space for the family to enjoy for years to come.

Like What You See?

Innovative projects that stand the test of time.