Cole Residence

Whole House Renovation & Addition
McLean, VA

A House Amidst the Trees
A dark, dated 70s era home is transformed into a natural beauty in McLean, VA

Winner, 2003 Presidential Citation for Sustainable Design, AIA-DC

The clients dreamed of a house closer to nature.  Although situated on a lovely wooded site, the existing structure afforded few views of the serene setting. CHECA Architects worked closely with the clients to co-create a master plan to transform the dark and dated 1970s home into an elegant, modern, eco-conscious retreat.

To create a more intimate connection with nature, CHECA Architects introduced natural materials and organic rounded shapes to the decks, walkways and entrance.  Multi-level decks rest intimately amongst tree branches.  A giant oak grows through a deck, providing a dramatic visual anchor echoed elsewhere in the design.  The thoughtfully selected material palette of cedar, redwood and copper complements the textures and colors of the woods.

Inside, expansive spaces, light, and natural breezes unite to create the sensation of living amidst the trees.  Dramatic lighting and sculpted spaces provide alcoves to showcase an extensive collection of art.  From the master suite, a hot tub deck cantilevers out and encircles a giant oak.  At the opposite end of the house, a bridge leads from the kitchen to an elevated screened porch – an enchanting spot for dining and relaxing.

The result: an elegant, modern retreat – inspired by nature and nourishing to the human spirit.

Everyone who walks into this house says, “Wow, what a great house!” But what is even better is that it has been nearly two years since the renovations, and my own reaction to this house is, “WOW”.

The design process of our renovation was fun and exciting. We had our own needs and ideas to start with, but it felt like a really collaborative effort. Mostly we liked what she offered. She easily and graciously listened, including all of what we wanted, or instead, convinced us that what we thought we wanted, we wouldn’t like when we saw it. She could really see what wasn’t yet there better than we. She listened to our lifestyle and how we would use the house. In the finished house there is not a single corner that is not attractive and well used.

Lorena was sensitive to our budget concerns. She would show us the focal points where we should install the “top of the line” fixture or hardware but then show us other locations that could do with less pricey fixtures.”

Ronda Cole
McLean, VA

  • Principal Architect
    Lorena Checa, AIA, LEED AP
  • Project Architectural Designer
    Carlos Sanchez
  • Structural Engineer
    JGK Structural Engineers
  • General Contractor
    RCB Contractors
  • Custom Millwork
    From the Woods
  • Energy Consultant
    Jim Schulman
  • Landscape Design-Build
  • Photography
    Kenneth M. Wyner Photography Inc.
    Omar Salinas, HiTech Photo, Inc.