Architect Donald Lococo uses a minimalist aesthetic to tie a new gabled wing to a classic Tudor home.

Architect Donald Lococo Architects 

Project Tudor Addition

When tasked with designing a kitchen addition to this Tudor-style home in Arlington, Virginia, Donald Lococo first studied its essence—that which made the original house sing. What he found was clean-lined and straightforward, but fussy trim work added in the 1980s belied the 1940s natural simplicity. Taking cues from the steel-framed windows and the white plaster throughout, the architect stripped the walls of all ornament to reveal a black and white canvas on which to begin anew.

Tudor addition, Donald Lococo Architects

“This house was not a matter of what I wanted but rather of what I didn’t want.” —Donald Lococo, architect

The stark color palette was carried into the new space, where one element in particular became a hyper-focused aspect of the project—namely, the custom-engineered structure above the island. The 14-foot tall tower with integral lighting and glass shelves weighs roughly 2,000 pounds; building it was a mathematical feat. Secured to the rafters, its weight is transferred through the island and down to the floor joists below. Penetrating the island meant it encroached on usable space below. As a result, the structure was a significant concession on the clients’ part. Its inclusion meant other lost storage opportunities, such as the omission of upper cabinets. “Adding that tower created less than perfect efficiencies,” Lococo concedes, noting that its fabrication also took much longer and cost a great deal more than anticipated.

They milked as much space as possible to make it functional, but the bigger solution was to centralize service spaces. A second kitchen, a butler’s pantry, and generous cabinetry—as well as a laundry room—were grouped together at the center of the house to support the main kitchen. That move was fueled by the idea that the middle of the house receives the least amount of natural light, which they wanted to save for optimal effect in the main living areas.

Tudor kitchen addition

The exterior massing of the Tudor home can be clearly imagined from the interior while cooking and dining. Trim-less chiseled plaster forms create a simple backdrop for the metal tower and windows.

Plans for the wine collection were changed upon discovering a former bomb shelter. Lococo made use of a concrete cavity by the stairway leading to the underground bunker. As a nod to its original function, the ceiling and walls were left exposed as were indications of where a jackhammer was used to create the opening.

To warm all of the black and white, Lococo designed kerfed panels for detailing. The asymmetrically scored and painted plywood sheets also add texture and scale to the austere walls. “That one detail was carried through the entire house to be a continuum of one piece of architecture,” Lococo explains. “It’s the common thread.”

Tudor kitchen addition

The clients, he explains, wanted a statement. And that is just what they got—in black and white.

On the exterior, the addition falls in step with the idea of the house as a series of simple gable forms. Matching its roof pitch and subsequent ceiling angles to that of the existing building was key to blending the expanded mass. Inspired by those that dot the main house roof line, a pair of dormers on the new portion provides leafy views from the reconfigured master suite overlooking the new two-story cathedral volume.

In the end, the team and clients agree that the steel tower was the project’s crowning achievement. “After all of the tension and the final birth of the thing, they love it,” Lococo says. “The real beauty is that it seems so effortless—so light and lacy—even though it required serious navigation and compromise.”

Lococo describes the whole addition as having a “Tudor form with an origami-chiseled interior.” He believes the trimless treatment is “a perfect hinge between the existing and the new.” The clients, he explains, wanted a statement. And that is just what they got—in black and white.

Tudor addition

With an addition that exacts the massing of the Tudors gables and dormers in both pitch and scale allows the addition to feel sympathetic. Once achieved, more modern liberties could be taken with its detailing and materials.

Key Suppliers

Designer Donald Lococo, David Moore, Riley Engelberger

General Contractor Clemens Builders LLC

Structural Engineer Linton Engineering

Landscape Architect Jennifer Horn Landscape Architecture

Tower Metal Work Iron DC Inc.

Interior Designer Ella Scott Design

Window Supplier Sanders Company

Exterior Metal Door Randall Boardman LLC

Interior Glass Door River Glass Designs

Cabinetry Benedict Cabinetry

Countertops Marblex

Faux Finisher Lenore Winters Studio

Stair Railing American Woodcraft

Decorative Lighting Illuminations

Custom HVAC Registers Maryland CNC

Exterior Stone Mason Direct Construction LLC

Stucco Seasons Services Inc.

Plumbing Fixture Supplier Ferguson Enterprises

Appliances Dad’s Discount Appliance

Photographer Hoachlander Davis Photography

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