Modern Oasis

Architect Gregory Uekman and his wife Ann Dorough were living in a tiny cottage in Kensington when they began looking for a larger home. “I wanted a house with a view, without seeing our neighbors’ backyards,” recalls Uekman. The architect didn’t find that unencumbered vista, but instead convinced his wife to buy a modest 1950 rambler in Bethesda that he could transform into what he calls “an island” amid a sea of larger homes. In expanding the one-story, 1,100-square-foot structure, Uekman added a master suite to one side of the house and replaced the garage with a freestanding studio on the other. The resulting U-shaped complex encloses a stone-paved rear courtyard that creates a feeling of seclusion. “What drove the design was a sense of privacy, even when we’re outside,” says the architect, who nicknamed the residence “Maison Defensive” in honor of his strategy to shield it from its neighbors. “And having the courtyard gave us the opportunity to open the house to it and make the interior feel larger than it is.”

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