Commercial to Residential in Washington, DC

From the Washington Post: "This townhouse didn’t start out as a townhouse.  On a block in D.C.’s Chinatown, the three-story commercial building has a sober limestone facade interrupted at street level by a glass storefront that looks in on Chinatown Coffee Co.  A discreet door on one side leads to the family home upstairs.  When the Browns bought the building in 2005, moving from a traditional rowhouse in Georgetown, it was in part to get their sons, now 9 and 10, downtown to a 'more diverse, urban' setting, Max Brown says.  Once home to a nonprofit group, the structure is 18 feet wide and almost 100 feet deep, basically taking up its entire lot: three full floors of dark, empty space.  To turn the building from a commercial space to one that would incorporate light and air, the Browns’ architect Robert Gurney had to practically reinvent the skylight.  First he removed a 12-by-18-foot section of the floor above the main living level, allowing for a broad staircase and creating front and back living spaces on the bedroom level, linked by a catwalk.  Then he peeled back a similar-size chunk of the roof directly above the staircase, replacing it with a glass ceiling, or mega-skylight.  The retrofitting of the building for the Brown family won Gurney an American Housing Award for 2011 from the American Institute of Architects."  Full article here, and more coverage on Urban Turf.  (Photo credit: Urban Turf.)