| A wall of shelving by Resource Furniture folds down into a queen-sized bed for guests. Photo by Paul Burk.|
By Marisa M. Kashino
WASHINGTON, DC. - 1. Minimalist Multipurpose
Years before it was trendy for restaurants and coffee shops to open in the alleys of Shaw, architect Mark Lawrence made his home in one. He and his wife, Cary, bought an old stable on Naylor Court in early 2011. They transformed it into a minimalist first-floor office for Lawrence’s firm, EL Studio, with a modern apartment for them to live in above. The setup was perfect for a young couple—not so much for a family of four, which they’ve since become.
So Lawrence and his partner, Elizabeth Emerson, designed a back-yard addition. The two-story space is extremely efficient. On 800 square feet—with a footprint of just 350 square feet—it packs in a playroom/guest room, a kid’s bedroom, two full baths, and a loft area that will be converted into a bedroom for the Lawrences’ five-month-old son when he’s older. One trick to fitting so much in was installing an elevator instead of a staircase. “It’s much more compact, like a little closet,” says Lawrence. (They can also use the stairs in the main house and access the addition through a glass sky bridge that connects the two buildings.)